What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Friday, July 31, 2015

Japan Social Media Drives Fresh Promotion

USHBC implemented social media activity such as Twitter during the July promotion period.  This included activity related to retail promotions in play as well as foodservice promotions conducted at Johnathan's

Example of Tracking Social Media Performance

Tracking of our foodservice promotion.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Coville's Work

With the Centennial of Highbush Blueberries coming up in 2016 it is interesting to see some of the many steps that led to this great achievement.

Check out the above book by Frederick V. Coville (1910) on Google Books.


Japan, Korea Promotions Show Early Results

USHBC promotions are in full-swing in Japan and South Korea.  The first statistics in from both countries indicate some promising results.  It is especially exciting to see a rebound in the Japan market which has been a challenge the past few years.   We will monitor closely and post the score here on the blog.

Japan: Fresh USA Blueberry Imports
May 2014 = $567,000     - 136,000 kg
May 2015 = $623,000     - 216,000 kg

South Korea:  Fresh USA Blueberry Imports
May 2014 =  $0 Value     - 0 kg
May 2015 =  $731,000     - 201,000 kg

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics and USDA-ERS calculations using Census trade statistics.

Monday, July 27, 2015

IFT Meeting - Part 3

Now here is the other end of the ingredient spectrum.   Some of these very specialized companies engineer products for functional characteristics.  In other words, the ingredients make the end product  better.  If you can make a product better and also have the desirable image of real blueberries -- this is a winner!

Functional foods are international!   Check out these Korean products that are flavored by Samjung a major Korean flavor company.  At their booth at IFT.

The Key to Blueberry Soju!  The beverage industry is one of the most secret areas of the food industry.   After all, what differentiates Coca Cola from Pepsi and Dr. Pepper.   Flavor companies such as Samjung and American companies crack the code to create real beverage flavors that are consistent time and again.   This is the blueberry flavor from Samjung is responsible for the Blueberry Soju craze in Korea!   고맙습니다
(thank you!)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More Food Food Technology Show!

Here are some more observations from the big IFT show in Chicago!

The show is full of all sorts of food additives, and chemicals.

It was refreshing to see the US Blueberry booth and something real.   We took the "real" theme and offered real fresh blueberries  -- "picked yesterday up the road in Michigan!"  They were a hit!

Better bakery with blueberries!  Here is a Gum company which is a food ingredient that holds products together.  Check out the ingredient statement and you will find gums like gum Arabic.   What impresses me is this huge gum supplier called TIC uses blueberry images to portray better baked goods!

Form matters.   This exhibit from German based Paradise Fruit explains it all. Most food products that are manufactured in the world are "low moisture."   That means if a blueberry is 80 percent moisture, then a low moisture blueberry will be 28 percent or lower -- even down to 4% for freeze dried.   This company takes blueberries and other fruits and engineers them into ingredients that match the desired moisture and water activity (migratable moisture) in a product.   Paradise buys blueberries from all over the world.  Remember the mantra:  Each lb of low-moisture fruit utilizes 3.5 lbs/of fruit.  We love that!

Real Fruit Candy!    We are excited to see our per capita consumption of blueberries soar to more than 2 lbs per person.   But when it comes to consumption -- look to the candy business and you will find 10 to 15 lbs per person!   Now it is exciting to see candy companies, big and small formulating natural candies from fruit.  We are onto something here!  

Here is the reason for all of the excitement:  Antioxidants and health benefits!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A "Food Tech" View of the Blueberry!

About half of all blueberries produced go to the food industry.   How do blueberries make their way into the 2,500 or so new products that hit the supermarket shelves each month?
The are research and developed.   R & D!
The folks who do the R & D are called food technologists or food scientists.  They receive marching orders from marketing and management and spend years and millions of dollars developing new products.  Ask anyone in the food industry and they will tell you that companies need to continually re-invent with new products to keep up with trends and the demands of the ever changing consumer base!

Here are some observations from the recent Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting in Chicago.   (July 12-15, 2015)

Blueberries were everywhere!

I was greeted with the Milne banner over the entry.   Great blueberry powder.

This one immediately got my attention.   A flavor company.

At a closer glance, I am still not sure what this was all all about?

A highlight was running into my old friend Gord Cheema, a blueberry grower from the Pacific Northwest and now in the Freeze Dry Business.  He attracted a lot of attention with his powders and freeze dried blueberries!  Highlight 2 was our visit to the Chicago Curry House for a Nepalese dinner!

More action shots from the IFT later!!!

Korean Fresh Blueberry Economics

Fresh blueberries from Oregon are available all over Korea.   USHBC promotions are in full swing!   Korea has it's own local production and recent reports show about 2,500 acres.

The Korean season begins in Jeju Island in the south, which is like the "Hawaii" of Korea.   I have seen Jeju blueberries in early May.

US shipped product arrives in June and July.

Here are some photos of fresh blueberries in three markets: We say can safely that the imports have not depressed prices of local production.   In fact, Koreans always value locally fresh blueberries produced fruits and vegetables.   At same time the imports are giving more and more Koreans an opportunity to enjoy fresh blueberries!


Friday, July 24, 2015

USA Frozen Blueberries to Korea -- Duty structure clarified

Ok, no cute mascot photos in this post.   But, some very important information for exporters of frozen blueberries from North America to South Korea.

Frozen Blueberry Duties

USA - South Korea
Frozen blueberries  FTA KORUS  HS 0811909000    
2015  12.8% - 2016   8.5% - 2017   4.2%  - 2018   0%
Adjusted every March 15 of each year.  Note the USA-Korea Free Trade Agreement went into effect on March 15, 2012

Canada - South Korea
Frozen blueberries FTA KOREA-CANADA HS 0811909000

2015:25.7%   2016:21.4%   2017:17.1%   2018:12.8%  2019:8.5%  2020:4.2%  2021:0%,
Adjusted every January 1st of the year.  T he Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement went into effect on January 1, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Taiwan Market Continues to Grow

USHBC made a grand debut at the 2000 Food Taipei Show.   Our samples were scrutinized for two hours by customs at the airport.  Nobody knew what a blueberry was!   Our taxi to the show  almost flattened a motor scooter.   (nobody was hurt -- just the pride of the "hello kitty" helmet wearing speedster.   Then when all looked good, the show was rocked by a major earthquake sending booths flying.   We survived and now Taiwan is one of our major export markets for fresh and processed blueberries.

Taiwan has seen a steady growth of fresh blueberry sales, but now we starting to see more and more blueberry-containing products including frozen and dried blueberries.

Check out just a few of the new offerings exhibited at the Food Taipei show in June 2015.  USHBC met with many of the leading food companies in the region and should see some more new products in the months to come!

Locally Packed Dried Blueberries.

Taiwan produced blueberry yogurt.

Blueb)erry Pop Balls (Freeze Dry

Taiwan Produced Jams and Jellies

More Dried Blueberries

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Pet Food Concept with Blueberry Puree

We already reported that there were more than 80 new blueberry-containing products introduced in North America in the first half of 2015!   (126 worldwide).   These include dog, cat hamster and even reptile food with blueberries!   While most blueberries are extruded into mixtures of grains and proteins -- here is a brand new concept.   Fruit toppings to be added to regular pet foods!
The Beyond ® Natural Puree line is a pouch concept.   Mixtures include mixtures of blueberry with chicken and beef and vegetables.   Note the blueberries on the pack to appeal to the pet owner!  What a great idea!

Blue Moment -- Back by Popular Demand!

Blue-Me, our lovable Korean mascot is a hit!    Blueberry guy is getting dozens of requests for more Blue-Me and here is the little critter's video debut from last season!   Blue me helps the "whimsy  family" with all sorts of daily challenges.  Bad hair day; mediocre grades at school...
Blue-Me can do it all!
 Biggest -- where to get fresh blueberries in Korea.

Music Credits to: Issa Bagayogo, "Nogo"

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Japan Bakery Chain Launches Blueberry Creme Cheese Bagels

Japanese take breakfast on the run and this offering introduced by famous baker Casanova blends a substantial amount of blueberry into a rich creme cheese filling!   Sales are going well!  The launch has included point of sale highlighting the blueberries!   Foodservice is a rapidly growing category for fresh and frozen blueberries!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Mascot Photo Event Creates In-store Excitement

Blue-Me is hard at work in produce departments across Korea!    This time it is photo time and hundreds of kids of all ages are posing with Blue-Me!    Mom and Dad get photos e mailed to them and we build a list of fresh customers for further promotions and interaction!
That Blue-Me is clever!

Blueberry Donuts - Japan!

The Japanese take their donuts seriously.    In fact -- Japan has the second leading per capita consumption of donuts in the world after Canada!  Most of the big doughnut franchises are located in Japan but Mr. Donut has more than 1,300 outlets.  
Check out the newly launched item from Krispy Kreme in Japan.   This is a doughnut, topped with blueberry ice cream and a blueberry topping!  Not to be outdone -- Mr Donut Japan  has recently launched a blueberry cupcake topped with dried blueberries!  Not time to bring on the Blueberry Donut Mascot!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kellogg's Construction

 The Kellogg's Rice Crispy ad in this month's Better Homes and Gardens featured a really creative blueberry usage concept.  Check out the ad and the side panel with instructions on showing you kid how to build a Rice Crispy and blueberry breakfast!

Blueberry Blossom Honey!

We all know how important honeybees are to agriculture.   They play an essential role in blueberry production as well.  Beekeepers bring their colonies into the blueberry fields when the white laneter-like blossoms are ready.   Bees pollinate and the result is a bountiful crop of blueberry!
Did you know that this process also results in blueberry honey?
These bees are collecting nectar from the blueberry plants and require thousands of stops to make a single teaspoon of blueberry honey.  A number of honey producers offer this product as a varietal honey.   (This means that the honey nectar is from a single floral source).   The honey is pure blueberry blossom honey made right here in the USA.  

Check out the website: http://www.geddesfarms.com/  

Blueberry Blossome

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kobe Blueberry "Hunt"

Check out this cool video in Japan  on NHK, the National News Network.   It is called Blueberry Hunt and describes the trend for u-pick blueberries.    Here in the USA, the u-pick farms, festivals and small time hobbyist are big boosters for blueberries.  This video certainly sent families on the "hunt" to their local grocery store for some fresh blueberries!


Friday, July 17, 2015

"Running Fraulines" Enjoy Fresh Blueberries after Training Session

USHBC is connected with the target audience for fresh blueberries in Japan.   Both social media and in person.    Here are some photos from the recent Frau Magazine Run Girl Event training session.   USHBC advertised in this woman's magazine emphasizing health and beauty.   Our ad emphasized fitness and healthy lifestyle and led to the upcoming Run Girl event in September which is one of the most popular running venues in Japan!   Our target audience is in training and blueberries are a part of this regimen!   This is a great way to meet our current and future customers first hand!