Now a century later, the first ocean containers of US frozen blueberries have arrived in India and are used to help local companies with new product development.
Thanks to the USDA-FAS Quality Samples Program (QSP), the USHBC was able to fund the purchase of two 40-foot ocean containers of frozen blueberries. These berries made the round the world trip landing in the port o Shiva in Mumbai. From there a local importer worked with the USHBC rep to further ship cases of blueberries to pre-screened and motivated local companies. These included bakeries, dairy, filling and jam and jelly companies. Our research showed that there were more than 2,500 preserve companies in India and none using real blueberries. At the same time extremely expensive items were imported Europe.
USHBC has been promoting fresh and dried blueberries since 2008 and we have always had interest from frozen companies -- but then they ask for samples for testing and things get complicated.
Getting the blueberries to India was the hard part, now we are busy in the field saving the day with samples. Typically a company will use a case to familiarize with staff and do a few tests. Then they get further into the development and we provide larger samples and some need multi-cases for trial runs in factories!
The investment is paying off:
New Product development is on the rise in India and some of the companies who have succeeded in their product development are now importing frozen blueberries directly from the USA and wholesalers and distributors are carrying frozen blueberries. Our sampling job is almost done!
Here are just a few really great frozen items produced in India!
Prior to the sampling program almost no products in India utilized frozen blueberries. Here are just a few products that have been made in India since the start of the Quality Sampling Program!
The Early Enabler! Now they are looking to use the Blueberry Real Seal!
One small step! This consumer packed jam product uses around 50 percent frozen blueberry. Now other companies are following the lead!
We see a big re-packing trade developing.
Blueberry Sauce: Note the "Real Bleberry" label.
Beverage: Blueberry Crush