What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Blueberries" on Mars!

Check out this photo released by NASA on March 18, 2014 from the landing site near the Mars Rover.  It is titled "Berry Bowl!"
By the way blueberries are formulated into the feeding program researched by NASA for manned Mars missions in the future!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

USHBC Continues Processed Blueberry Efforts in India

The fresh season is complete and and all are talking about the Master Chef Brar and his wonderful blend of blueberries in East-West!   Now USHBC is back to work on the food industry and we have just completed two industry activities in Chandigarh and Pune.  We are meeting with food industry research and development at some of the leading companies in the regions and offering frozen samples and technical assistance and advice.    The pattern: one 30 lb case for familiarization, then some lab work and scale up to six or more cases for processing.    Some of the companies we have worked with in the early stages of our sampling have scaled up to commercial purchases from the USA.  This is what it is all about!  USHBC thanks the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for funding our sampling program.  We also thank USDA-FAS in New Delhi for arranging events and opportunities for us to interact with the food industry in Punjab and Pune!  More to come!

New to the Blueberry Family!  USHBC even suggested the name!  Check out the Unilever Hindustan Website.  They are one of the largest food processing conglomerates in India and many more blueberry developments to come!

Promising import statistics.   Note, a lot of product is transshipped from Dubai and Singapore and does not show up in US export statistics.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Supply Side West

This year the NABC/USHBC meetings are held October 7-9 in Las Vegas.  This is about the same time as the Supply Side West October 5-9 at the Mandalay Bay.  Supply Side West is a show and exposition for the nutraceutical business. You will see suppliers from around the world especially far off lands in Africa, Asia with new plant substances with ethnobotanical value.  Tried and true blueberries will also be there!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

See you in Vegas!

Vegas Baby!!!   The excitement is building for the North American Blueberry Council and US Highbush Blueberry Council meetings in fabulous Las Vegas October 7-9 at the Monte Carlo.
Knowing I have a bit of experience in Vegas -- I am getting a lot of of requests for tips on where to eat!  Here is my short list.

# 1 Metro Pizza.  This is my all time favorite pizza place in the world including Italy.  John Arena original from New York, is a serious pizza person.   John is an authority on all things pizza and conducts workshops and seminars.   He knows how to make pizza the right way.   I like the shop on Tropicana across from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.  It has a mural on the wall with tributes to some of the best pizza parlors in the USA.   The Pizza Hall of Fame is at the shop at the New York Casino not far from the Monte Carlo.  All of the pizzas are different, simple and excellent. It's all about the crust...and the sauce and the toppings follow.

# 2 Original Tommy's Hamburgers.  This is the original burger joint from LA that has been copied all over.  You will find: Tommys, "Tom-e's," "Tomys" "Tommis,"  and all sorts of other fakes.   But Tommy's with the 60's looking shack, you cannot miss the real thing.   Their motto -- If you don't see the shack -- take it back!  Tommy's locations are located all over the LA area and they have barely moved outside of the basin, so when the new Vegas location was opened, it was quite an event!   What makes Tommy's special -- hamburgers topped with chili, french fries with chili, chili with chili!   7079 W. Craig Road, Las Vegas   702-207-6361

# 3 Peace Ethiopian Market & Cafe.  4850, Tropicana, Las Vegas 702-906-1438.
It may surprise you that there are several great  "East African" restaurants in Vegas.   Ask any taxi driver and you will find one fast!   We have Ethiopian, Eritrean, Tigrian, Somali.   (Somalis have the best goat!)   My favorite for a late night (After 2:00 am) Ethiopian snack is the Peace.   Try the Fir Fir which is like an Ethiopian Burrito with Injira and a meat or veggie stew inside.   If you want elegant Ethiopian dining head over to the Abyssinia which is in the same strip mall. 4780 W Tropicana, Las Vegas, 702-220-5305.

# 4  Indian.   Now this will take a bit of research.  There are dozens of Indian restaurants in Vegas and all are ok.  For a safe bet:  The Gandhi.  4080 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89109.  

# 5. Snacks.   Try Hooters Casino -- Actually this is one of the most "wholesome" places in Vegas!  Go to the cafe next to the "chicken wing" place and order the Volcano of Nachos.  Yes -- about two feet high pile of tortilla chips with a a "lava stream" of nacho cheese.   One of the wonders of the world.  Bring about ten guests to consumer the Volcano!'

# 6. The Bacon Breakfast Buffet at Sunset Station Casino in Henderson.  (No explanation needed)

# 7. Seafood City.   This is a Filipino Supermarket near UNLV and at the deli they serve huge plates of Chinese and Vietnamese Food!    One plate will feed a family of 4.    The noodles are superb!

#8.  Vegas Chinatown.   You got Pho, Thai, Malaysian. and Chinese of all sorts.   My favorite is the Kung Fu Plaza.  

#9. Hot Dog Stand at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. (Pawn Stars!)    Good place to just watch the crowd!

#10.  Todai Seafood Buffet.   No visit to Vegas is complete without the pilgrimage to the king of Seafood Buffets!  You got sushi, sashimi and all other favorites but what draws the crowd -- the snow crab and king crab legs and fresh shrimp and shellfish.  It is absolutely amazing to see guests consuming their weight in crab legs.   The Vegas location is at the Plant Holywood.   Not easy to find so call and get directions.

Our Canadian friends may ask -- are there any Tim Hortons in Vegas?   Sorry none in Vegas!  But try O'Face Donuts downtown.  They are big fans of blueberries!  124 S 6th St, Las Vegas, NV 89101   Not far from the Gold and Silver so blow off the hot dog idea, get a dozen blueberry donuts and enjoy the show!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Electron Microscopy View of a Blueberry!

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the UK for this view of the blueberry under an electron microscope!  <(Daily Telegraph)>

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Poi Blueberry Granola from Hawai'i!

Polynesian Innovation!
Check out the new product from Taro Brand in Hawai'i.  
Poi as all of you who have visited the Islands will know is a pulverized root of the native taro plant.  It is a purplish mashed potato looking staple that is enjoyed with raw fish and all sorts of other Island delicacies.  Now the leading brand has developed this innovative combination:
Poi Granola Bowl.
It is described on the package as an "all natural probiotic snack with fresh blueberries!
Poi (pounded kalo) or taro plant) is believed to have the greatest life force of all food; a means of survival for the Hawai'i people.
Poi is a local superfood that is fat free, low in calories , contains complex carbs and natural probiotics.  The Hawaiian people have fed poi to their families (from infants to elderly) for over 1,600 years.  
Ingredients: Taro, Water.
And now -- Fresh Blueberries!

Monday, August 17, 2015

India Update --Chef Ranveer Mixes East and West and it Sizzles!

Master Chef Ranveer Brar is busy in India demonstrating innovative uses of fresh and frozen blueberries which blend east and west!

All of the 5 minute videos are on Youtube and on the USHBC India Website:   (make sure to drop a comment at the bottom of the page if you like the recipe).

Click the links below to watch the individual videos!

Friday, August 14, 2015

What's New?
Let me know what is going on in your part of the world!
Just type in the comments section!

Dateline:  Lakehurst NJ

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Turkey Loves Blueberries

Turkey is the home of many fruits and nuts and they are serious about dried fruit.  Now they have aken to dried blueberries
Take a look at this wonderful product in the market in Yalikavak.on the Agean Coast.
Thanks Jeannette for forwarding this photo!
Importers call dried blueberries: "blue gold!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trendsetting Store Chain Promotes Fresh Blueberries

USHBC kicked off retail promotions in Japan with activities at Seijoishi Stores throughout Japan.  Stores are located in upscale neighborhoods and other chains noticed the activity.

Point-of-Sales Material:

Photo Examples:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blueberry Bubbles from Poland!

Check out the latest new product from Poland!

You may ask:
1. Why the Statue of Liberty?  Have no idea.
2. What is a blueberry bubble?  See all of small type on the package!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

DPRK Blues

After Iran, and Cuba -- you knew this one was coming.   Yes, there is a connection between the DPRK -- Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- also known as North Korea and blueberries.
The tallest mountain in the region on the Chinese border is just covered with native wild blueberries.   for centuries Koreans have gone to the forest to pick and in recent times have started to make Paketu Insam a blueberry Whiskey!

Here is the famous Paeketu Insam!


If this does not work for y

Cuba Blueberry...Not Really

I was looking for any trace of blueberries in Cuba and look what popped up! I know someone up in Holland Michigan who will be very interested in this!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Iran Loves Blueberries!

Each year I attend the Gulfoods Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   Right across the straights lies the Islamic Republic of Iran.   We do not think much about this country of almost 80 million -- which is the 18th largest country on earth, with many thousands of years of civilization and culture and yes -- some of the food in the world like my favorite fesenjoon.(pomegranate and walnut chicken).   Now bring on blueberries.   Back to the Gulfoods.  We meet visitors from all over the Middle East and North Africa.   Each year we see more and more Iranians.   They flock to the blueberry booth and over and over again -- proclaim their love for blueberries.  
Besides great culinary specialties, Iran has a burgeoning food industry.   This includes food service

, confectionery and their famous Persian ice creams, sweets and bakery products.   They even have their own berry called the barberry, which is sour red berry which is dried and supposed to be good for all that ails you.  Confectioners seem to prize the blueberry and I have been communicating with artisan ice cream makers for years on making blueberry products when the time is right!

Here are a couple examples of locally made blueberry products!  Oh well, it is a good start!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Garden State Legacy

More History!
We just cannot get enough about the Elizabeth White story and development of blueberries.
Here is a story from the publication:  GardenStateLegacy.com: 

Above screenshot from:  http://www.Gardenstatelegacy.com

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cheesecake Factory Initiates Superfoods Menu!

Check out this article in Nation's Restaurant Business!  Interesting they are including superfood ingredients in a "platform" to appeal to millennials!  We are seeing this happen all over the world!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Major Food Company Wellness Foods and Real Flavor and Color Initiative

Here is an interesting article in Prepared Foods magazine concerning developments at General Mills which is one of the leading food manufacturing companies in the world.   While much of the article discusses new initiatives into the "Wellness Foods" area -- an interesting tidbit at the end of the story. 
"And just last month, General Mills announced it would remove artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources in Big G cereals, replacing these ingredients with fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts. Seventy-five percent of the Big G portfolio will meet this claim by January with the remainder by the end of calendar year 2017."

Seems manufacturers are heading into the "Blueberry Zone!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

National Public Radio (NPR) Salutes Highbush Blueberries

Check out the radio feature which salutes the development of highbush blueberries a century ago!
The story details the 100+ years of cooperation between blueberry growers and the US Department of Agriculture.  Congratulations to our own Denny Doyle of New Jersey for a great job in his interview inside of the Atlantic Blueberry Packing plant where he is general manager!   His family  has been in the blueberry business from the start in an area close to Whitesbog which was the starting point of blueberry cultivation.
Great feature and tells the story how blueberries from the wild were cultivated and developed into a worldwide industry -- described by the commentator as having "rock star" status!

NPR Blueberry Story


Monday, August 3, 2015

More In-store Promotion Action in Korea!

Check out these photos of retail promotions in South Korea.   The activities are in full swing and retail chains are enthused and -- happy retailers = happy blueberry shippers ad importers!

USHBC Targets China Food Processing Sector

Everyone in the food industry is excited about the potential for the $1.3 billion Chinese series food industry.  USHBC was excited back in 2000 when we conducted a series of baking seminars in South China.  We have sent numerous trade missions to the production regions, and have participated in seminars and exhibitions.   New products with blueberries are continually developed, consumer media has touted the benefits of blueberries.  The stage is set.

Ask any packer and shipper who has approached China and you will learn that it is a challenge.

  • We get dozens of inquiries each day from "big potential customers."  They disappear after a few exchanges.   
  • Tens of importers are "sourcing" ingredients for the same end user.
  • Thousands of Chinese companies seek blueberries but most need smaller than full-container weight.  
  • Local producers are on the prowl for information on our production and waste time of our packers with requests for pricing which ends abrupt after the price is given. 
  • Shippers are facing all sorts of difficulties at the ports and receive request after request for more and more documentation.
  • Steep duties are piled on the prices of processed blueberries.
Lots of Blueberry Products -- Where and how are they getting the froze blueberries!
Still we believe there is a tremendous untapped market for frozen blueberries in China.    We just need to figure out the companies, channels and the process to approach this complex value-chain.

USHBC has received a grant from the USDA-FAS for a feasibility study of the Chinese food industry.   This grant program is in a category called the: Emerging Markets Program (EMP) which is designed to help US companies and industries approach markets with lower than $17,000 per capita income.  (We are also conducting EMP programs in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia.)

We are just getting started, but with our decades of work in the country we have a good running start!
  • We are identifying and contracting with food industry experts in the different regions of China. this is a huge country and we are focusing on the areas with food manufacturing including Guangdong, Fujien, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Beijing and others.  These experts know the inside scoop on the food business.
  • Companies and channel partners are being identified and contacted.   A chart of the value-chain is being crafted little by little.  This is extremely important to our industry as so many companies come and go.   We also want to know the background -- are they state, military, private, foreign joint ventures.   Most important --can they do business!
  • We are validating information from the USA side where in the process of contact we are learning of requirements and fielding technical questions and homing in on specifics.
  • A report will be crafted at the end, but in the mean time, we will be delivering real time, practical intelligence to the US blueberry packers and shippers of frozen.
Stay tuned for updates on the program, and we will also report at the next USHBC meeting in Vegas in October!

Frozen is an under-performing category!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

USHBC Promotes Fresh Blueberries in Kanto (Tokyo)

USHBS launched fresh promotions in the Seiuy-Walmart and Maruetsu chain in the Kanto area.(Tokyo)    The promotions will run throughout the month and are creating a lot of excitement in the marketplace!  

Ichigawa Sugano

Kasai Clean Town

Mushashi Kousugi


Fresh Blueberry Promotions at Japanese High-End Grocery

Seijoishii grocery chain is one of the finest chains in Japan.  They are located in the best areas of Tokyo, Yokahama and urban areas.   The chain normally does not do fresh a lot of promotions, but jumped at the opportunity to launch the health and beauty campaign for fresh blueberries!  A sign of the success:  The chain added more days!   Once Seijoishii bought off on promotions others fell into place!

New Retail Poster is a hit!

Demonstrators at work at SeijoStore.

Todoroki Store Display

Very professional demonstrators.

Yokohama Landmark Store