What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

USHBC Launches Korea Fresh Campaign

This is year three of the USHBC Fresh Blueberry Campaign in South Korea.    (June 17, 2015)
A key component: the kickoff seminar.  Here, we bring together importers, distributors and retailers as well as our marketing partners Korea Business Services Inc. who are conducting fresh promotions and public relations.    This year we featured a Skype presentation by Dr. Wei Yang of Oregon State University and attendees appreciated the high level of knowledge gained at the half day conference.  Attendees were amazed at the amount of investment that it takes to grow blueberries and especially the focus on quality and food safety.

Introducing "Blue-Me" Korean Mascot

At last -- we have mascot!!!   The cute mascot, which was selected in the Mascot Mania competition last year (70 entries) was unveiled at the USHBC Fresh Blueberry Seminar in Seoul June 17.
The mascot will appear at in-store events (fresh blueberry promotions)  throughout Korea in July and August and will also be the focal point of a mascot photo contest!   (photo: L. Kristie Park (Korea Business Services Inc., Blue-Me (USHBC-Korea), Hyewon Shin (Korea Business Services Inc.)   Note the Blue-Me smart phone ap on Hyewon's phone!

My Blueberry Days!

One of the most popular movies in Asia in the last decade was a film by director Kar Wai Wong called "My Blueberry Nights."   The plot: a young woman (Nora Jones) takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way.  A visit to a diner for late night blueberry pie somehow made it to the movie title.  
Here we have My Blueberry Days.   This is the USHBC advertisement in the popular woman's magazine Frau.   The advertorial features our spokes model and beauty adviser Jiro Yamada in her own home in real life.   Jiro gives beauty from within advice with fresh blueberries!  Frau is one of the most highly-read women's magazines in Japan and this endorsement will positions blueberries right where we want it!

Crafting the Health and Beauty Message

Japan is the # 1 export market for US blueberries.   It all started back in the 80s with the blueberry eyesight craze.   Next was antioxidants and anti-aging.   To keep the blueberry momentum going, USHBC is carefully crafting a new health and beauty positioning for Japan.   Our research indicated that our prime target audience was women aged 20-40.   Healthy lifestyle and beauty regimen are important part of the target audience's lifestyle.

Fresh Blueberry Campaign in Japan in Full Swing!

Beautiful Blueberries!   This is the theme at hundreds of fresh retail promotions in store this summer all over Japan.    The campaign builds upon the Japanese understanding of blueberry health benefits and appeals to our young-female target audience!  See our spokes-model!
The campaign recently launched at Seitoishii (high end food stores) in the Tokyo area and will continue in the Kansai (Osaka area) with hundreds of promotion days in Seiyu-Walmart and Maretsu stores.   All activities include social media activities and work with blogs to involve customers in the beautiful blueberry campaign!   Since we have launched, other stores are now approaching USHBC for promotions as well!

Pet Food Mania Continues

The blueberry pet food trend continues in 2015 and a recent visit to the US Global Pet Expo (GPE) in Orlando, indicates that blueberry use will continue to grow.   As of the end of May 2015, more than 60 new pet food products have been launched this year.   This includes, dogs, cats and all sorts of critter food ranging from rabbits to reptiles!  
Why?  Marketers attribute the ultra-premium pet food phenomena as a result of the "humanization" of pets.   They are part of the family and we will do anything for the health and well being of our pet.   Research indicates that pet owners do seek out healthy and nutrition ingredients in pet foods and also tend to look for ingredients such as blueberry, kale and pumpkin -- which have the all important health halo.  Major pet food companies conduct research on pet health.
Observations from GPE:
International Pet Foods.   The USA is the trendsetter, but we are seeing new blueberry-containing products in Europe, Latin America and Asia.   China is an emerging mega-market for pet foods and pet owners look for the safety assurance of US produced pet foods and blueberries.
Specialty Pet Foods.   Seems that everyone has an old dog at home and manufactures developing new products specifically for seniors.   Many include blueberry ingredients.   We also see pet food obese pets young and old.

Products for dog and master!  Here is the latest trend -- bars, cookies muffin to share with the pet!

Master Chef Promotes Fresh Blueberries in India

Millions of Indians tune in regularly to the wildly popular television program Master Chef India which includes judge and handsome super-star chef Ranveer Brar.  Now -- he has joined the USHBC effort to convert the billion population nation to fresh blueberries.
Chef Brar is now taken on the title of "Blueberry Ambassador" and will be conducting activities all over India during the upcoming fresh season.   Chef Brar recently completed a photo shoot with blueberries, will be making celebrity appearances at grocery stores during the fresh season as well as encouraging blueberry use on his show!   USHBC has more than 500 in-store fresh blueberry promotions in motion at the top store chains all over India..  By the way -- he just loves blueberries and is passionate about spreading the word to his "foodie followers!"  Stay tuned for photos of Master Chef Brar in action.   Look for those India import statistics to soar!
 (Caption: Chef Ranveer Brar is one of the most popular television celebrities in India -- Now USHBC Fresh Blueberry Ambassador!)  

BIO:  Ranveer Brar is an Indian chef, TV show host and food stylist. His television shows include Breakfast Xpress, Snack Attack, Homemade, The Great Indian Rasoi, Thank God It's Fryday and Health Bhi Taste Bhi. He is also one of the judges for season four of MasterChef India, which is based on the British competitive cooking game show, MasterChef, alongside fellow chefs Sanjeev Kapoor and Vikas Khanna.

USHBC Co-ponsors Run-Girl Event in Tokyo

Beautiful blueberries are part of a healthy lifestyle.   USHBC will co sponsor one of the most popular running events with Frau Magazine in September.   Runners will sample blueberry smoothies at the end of the line and will also receive blueberry workout towels to remind of the big event!

Beautiful Blueberries for Japan

Heath and beauty are the themes of the 2015 Japan fresh promotion campaign.    Check out the "Beautiful Blueberry" campaign.   The website is designed to connect our target audience (young women 20-40 years old with the fresh campaign in progress.   Note the directions to grocery chains where USHBC is conducting in-store promotions.

Japan Foodservice Promotion

Japan is an eat-away-from home society!   The largest chain is Skylark which includes family restaurants such as Johnathan's.  The chain has restaurants from Sapporo in the north to Okinawa in the south -- 300 outlets!   This month Johnathan's featuring fresh blueberries throughout the month in a variety of unique offerings.   The promotion includes blueberry point of sale materials at tables, in store advertising and features in the company's nationwide television advertising campaign.
Here is a bulletin from the Skylark web.  http://www.skylark.co.jp/jonathan/menu/special2.html

Monday, June 29, 2015

Former OSU Beaver to the Rescue in Taiwan!

I was told by my buddies in Oregon that you can always count on a Beaver!   Now we have a true Orange and Black treasure working for USHBC in Taiwan.   Sus-Sun (Susan) Wong is a retired government official from the Taiwan Plant Protection Center (PPC) which is the organization that works on all things MRL.   She is now working to raise the near zero MRL for malathion and serve as an industry resource.    She is the one to call! You can always count on a Beaver!    She is looking to connect with fellow "blueberry beavers ."
PS: According to Sue Sun, there are more than 300 OSU Beavers on this island of 20 million.   That is one of the largest beaver per capital populations West of Corvallis!   Stay tuned for results!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Say "Eh!" BC Blueberries to China.

They shoot...they score!   Break out the "Bloody Ceasers" as this is a big big deal!    After eight years of work, the British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC) has achieved market access for fresh BC blueberries to the People's Republic of China.   It was a great "tag-team" effort with tremendous political and technical support by the government of Canada.   This is a win-win proposition for China and will supply empty market windows for fresh blueberries.   Team Blueberry-USA continues to hammer out "shots on goal" with an all out effort to join our North American partners in the 1.3 billion population market.   It's "aboot" time!
(Photo caption: Jason -- This ones for you!)

Incredible India!

Check out USHBC fresh blueberry promotions in India - 2015!

Blueberry soju

Anyone who has visited Korea will remember their first sip of Korean Soju .   This is a fermented beverage made with rice or sweet potato.   It is extremely popular all over Asia.  My first try was on a visit to a local blueberry farm a decade ago and the growers were fermenting their soju in pots in the ground.   Soju  (소주) is a sake like beverage but made with a fermented sweet potato.  Here is the latest development - a commercial soju brewed with blueberry juice.     The yellow is a Korean called Yuza (citron) citrus and red a pomegranate.
Enjoy your blueberry soju!   (Update: The Blueberry Soju immediately sold out in blueberry-crazed Korea).  Note most customers are young ladies aged 20-30. (note national TV ad above)