What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Highbush Blueberries at Cereal Chemists Meeting

USHBC exhibited at the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) meeting in Savannah, Georgia October 25-26, 2016.  Mission -- meet and interact with product developers from companies such as Kellogg's, Bimbo, General Mills -- who produce cereal and grain based products.  Encourage continued and more use of highbush blueberries.

Cereals-- defined:  "any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain."   Cereal grains are grown in huge quantities throughout the world and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop. Note: Some plants often referred to as cereals, like buckwheat and quinoa, are considered instead pseudocereals, since they are not grasses; however they are still considered grains.   Cereal-based foods include staples such as breads and breakfast cereals, and also include brewing, distillation, pet foods, cosmetics and just about every category imaginable.  Caption: Selfie Time at AACC!  

Since 2010 -- more than 1500 new-cereal based products have included blueberries in the product and on the package.  250+ since 2015. Source: Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD)  


>Natural Flavors and Colors.   In 2016 -- some of the leading cereal companies such as General Mills and Kellogg's have initiated product development and reformulation to replace artificial colors and additives in breakfast cereals.   With the low moisture of a cereal product -- this requires a low moisture alternative such as a blueberry powder or fiber.  Dozens of new products have been launched already with blueberry powder as a flavor and colorant.   More are on the way.   Remember -- it takes around 12 lbs of blueberry to create one lb of blueberry powder.  So -- even a little blueberry powder uses a lot of blueberry!
>Super-Grains and Blueberries!  Food processors are utilizing cereals which are associated with health -- such as flaxseed, quinoa, spelt and others.   Companies at the AACC conference were touting blue corn, blue wheat and other ancient foods of the past.   Major bakeries are researching and developing new products to include these grains and highbush blueberries fit right into the mix.   This can include frozen, dried and purees.   
>Ingredients tell a story.  Manufacturers are devoting more and more space on a product package and connected social media to present detailed health and nutrition messages.  At the AACC, company researchers and brand managers were seeking all sorts of health and nutrition information on blueberries and want to be connected to developments in the future about USHBC research.
>Artificial Blueberries?   Ten years ago when I attended the Cereal Chemists meeting, I encountered several companies promoting artificial blueberries.  These included blue colored grain bits, blue tinted fat bits, blue colored dehydrated apples and others.   This year -- none!   One of the major baking companies cane by the booth and told me they had converted their line to real due to consumer demand for real.   Also it did not hurt that the president of the company demanded this!

Results:  USHBC made new contacts and friends in some of the leading food processing companies in the world.   Some are interested to evaluate the USHBC Real Seal, and some already have "Real Blueberry" identification on their packs.   We connected with the right researchers in the right product lines and will followup continually with new product suggestions, technical information and advice.  Keep an eye on the cereal business in the next years!

Here are just a few new blueberry-containing cereal products introduced in North America in 2016:

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