What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yuka Presents Blueberry Basics

We love blueberries -- but how do we use them!  So say Japanese consumers...
Now our Youtube spokesperson Yuko shows the basics in her zany style which garners thousands of visitors each day!  You do not understand Japanese -- no worry it is self-explanatory!

Yuka Does Blueberries!

Yuko is super popular and has a huge following!

What makes her special!   First of all she is super cute and bubbly.  But, she really enjoys relishing everything she makes!!!


Look at the beautiful muffin she made. Worthy of the Real Seal!!!

Now to smoothies!

Go get em Yuko....To be continued!


Blogger Event Brings Opinion Influencers to the Table

New media is evolving daily into groups of bloggers and followers who share specific interests.  In Japan, USHBC is capitalizing on interactions with influential bloggers to spread the word of the health and beauty benefits of high bush blueberries.  Check out this recent event in the trendy Harajuku district of Tokyo where our blueberry blogger invited key followers to a cooking event!   Attendees in turn will post messages and perpetuate the message on and on and on!'
Interacting with the target audience!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Trendy Japan Fashion Magazine Features Blueberries

Frozen blueberries used in the kitchen of Japanese Celebrity Chef Mario Higucchi was the topic of a full page advertorial and web/blog activity in trendy Marie Claire Style!   This is a magazine read by our target audience.  (Women 30's, active, stylish...)

Chef Higucchi is a well known chef with a huge following in his regular blog and column in Marie Claire.   Notice the items featured are on the hearty side -- like bacon, stews etc!    This is the trend for the trendy and already we have had a great reaction.

Mmmmmm Bacon!   Mmmmmm Blueberries!  Home and professional chefs all over Japan are trying out the combination!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oregon Growers Honor Judy Macias of USDA APHIS

Judy Macias, Assistant Trade Director for USDA-APHIS has done a tremendous job over the past decade working on behalf of the US blueberry growers for market access.    She did the work that got market access for fresh Oregon blueberries into South Korea and is working on at least nine market access requests for blueberries.  

The Oregon Blueberry Commission honored Judy with a special award at their meeting in Portland January 25.   It is well deserved and thank you Judy for all you do!

Monday, January 25, 2016

South Korea Frozen Blueberry Frenzy!

It's official -- South Korea is the # 1 destination for frozen blueberries.   2014 and now 2015!
Thank you South Korea!  

Value!  $13.73 million dollars

Volume!  4.2 million KG =  9.25 million lbs!

Food Processing Use Soars!
Much of the frozen blueberries supplied to South Korea is utilized in the food processing sector.   This includes, dairy, baking, snacks and beverages among others.   We have seen dramatic increases in innovative blueberry products that are influencing the rest of the region.  

Just a few examples from December 2015.  

USA highbush dominates the food industry sector because of specific characteristics which make our blueberries desirable for use in this sector.   This includes sweetness, flavor, texture and size.  

Polybag Market.   
Until recently, fresh imported blueberries have been restricted into the Korean market.    Today, Oregon/USA, Chile and now Canada are allowed.  While Korean local production is found in the produce sections of the markets during summer months -- frozen polybag blueberries are available year round in special freezers inside of the produce section.  Frozen polybag is also
available in home shopping and internet sales.

Initially, USA product dominated these sectors, but due to a zero duty on frozen blueberries from Chile as a result of a previous Free Trade Agreement -- some retailers switched origins due to price.

 While frozen shipments continue, USHBC has initiated activities to solidify and grow our position in poly bag sales.  The results have been promising.

(To be continued!)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Japanese Cosmetic Action!

USHBC has ventured into the multi-billion dollar cosmetic market.    For the past years, we have seen Asian cosmetics produced with all sorts of blueberry co-products.   (skins, fiber, seed oil, extracts and even frozen and freeze dried blueberries).  

Blueberry Guy recently visited the center of Natural Cosmetic innovation with a visit to the Cosme-Tech Exhibition in Tokyo Japan.

Several companies featured further processed blueberry ingredients such as powders and extracts for face creams, soaps, and topical applications.

Face Masks:  Blueberry Face Masks were the hot item for the exhibition.   This included designer masks and dozens of styles, colors and infusions.

Fusion of Food and Cosmetics.    Check out this "gelato counter."   It is actually an ice cream looking cart that dispenses face creams made with blueberries and other botanicals.

Cosmaceuticals.  This is no longer a upstart trend -- it is a multi billion dollar category.   Although most companies in the exhibition were medium and small firms from all over Asia -- the big multi national companies were on the prowl for new cosmaeeutical ideas.   The category is now well over $15 billion annually and growing!

Beauty from Within.  This is the fast-rising cagegory of digested foods that are good for skin, hair and nails.    Smoothie mixes were everywhere and some were very specific with cosmaceutical claims.  (drug store offerings below)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

World's Best Blueberry Ice Cream Bar!

How often has the Blueberry Guy purchased a "blueberry" ice cream bar a foreign country and found little or no satisfaction.  Now here in Japan I have found the Sierra Madre of Blueberry Ice Cream bars at my neighborhood 7-11 store.  This bar has whole blueberries packed inside, blueberry ice cream surrounding that tastes like real blueberries.  (No artificial flavors).  On the outside is a blueberry yogurt jacket with bits of blueberry and blueberry powder for more flavor!   This is the best!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Blueberry Cafe - Seoul Korea

My friends from the USDA-Agricultural trade office in Seoul took me around the corner to this amazing Blueberry Cafe.  The photos speak for itself.   They serve blueberry teas and all sorts of innovative blueberry concoctions!

Friday, January 15, 2016

USHBC Reaches North China Foodservice Market

USHBC is an active participant and sponsor of the USDA-Agricultural Trade Office Asian Chef Challenge.   (Also known locally as the United Tastes of America).   This culinary competition is in progress all over Asia including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and China.    China is such a large country that regional competitions are being held,regionally.   Here is some updated action from the competition in Shenyang in Liaoning Province in the far north.  USHBC provided blueberries for the event and our Julia Zhu (Blueberry Julia) attended all activities and encouraged blueberry innovation!

Shenyang the major city of the Chinese north.  Population 8 million

Julia and Master Chef!  Now a good blueberry friend!

Above: blueberry booth at the event!    Distributors from throughout the region stopped in for a look at the competition and to have a chat with Blueberry Julia.

And the winner is:  A wonderful traditional Chinese Pork Pot with lots of blueberry!   Blueberries were used heartily in almost all of the dozens of entries for desserts, starters and main courses!   These chefs will return to their hotels and restaurants with new blueberry recipes and concepts.

USHBC Tests Frozen Polybag Market in China

We all know that China will eventually become our largest market for fresh and frozen blueberries.   We also know it is the toughest market to succeed with import difficulties, an ever changing trade structure and competition from countries with zero duties due to Free Trade Agreements.

USHBC took the a big leap forward and conducted market sampling and feedback with thousands of online consumers through the country's leading online retailer.

The promotion is described below in the USDA-China Newsletter.   Prime consumers of T-Mall who purchased frozen products received samples of frozen blueberries and were asked for feedback.   The feedback we have received has been positive and this has proven to T-mall that frozen blueberries are a viable addition to their billion dollar sales promotions!  In addition to working out the kinks of importing, wide spread sampling nationwide -- we also included a detailed online survey to gain consumer feedback on frozen polybag blueberries.    And -- "if this isn't enough" --as they say in the direct-sales business  (No Ginzu!) -- we also have a supply of frozen blueberries in-market to tap for sampling to food industry accounts.

As they say on the Ronco broadcasts -- "That's Amazing!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Snow in Vegas!

Our visiting chef team are from a tropical Island in Asia and this morning they woke to a wonderful treat that even long-time Vegas aficionados rarely see!   Bring in the frozen blueberries today!

Taiwan meets Vegas to Create Exciting Blueberry Concepts

Day two at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.   Chef John Hui, Executive Pastry Chef from the Lodge at Pebble Beach held an intensive one day training session with Culinary Team Taiwan.   Here are some of the results!

Besides being part of Team Taiwan the visiting chefs are all culinary educators in their home country and have great influence in the restaurant businesses.  Our goal: train the trainers!  

Chef John shows how to make a wonderful blueberry topping.

 Chef John Evaluates and gives tips on culinary competition

More blueberries is the mantra!

Team Taiwan

This dish is a winner!

Ingredient debriefing.

Now on to the American Culinary Federaton Vegas Chapter Poker Tournament!