What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Monday, March 13, 2017

Foodex 2017- Makuhari (Tokyo) Japan

Remember back in 1990 -- NABC made it's appearance at the Foodex Exposition in Japan.   The blueberry team arrived in Tokyo after a major earthquake, made it to the trade show area hours late and almost lost our entire booth in the parking lot of the train station!  We made it and greeting us at the booth on the first day was a news crew from the national television network (NHK) who was doing a feature on blueberries and health.  This footage evolved into a 20 minute new program that helped launch blueberries in Japan. 

The message: Get into the field and make things happen!

Jump ahead to 2017.  A lot has changed.   Blueberries have survived dozens of  fad cycles.   Typically a new product sensation has a year or two before the public moves on to another.   Blueberries have experienced a few huge spikes in usage and normally a plateau and then growth.  Blueberries in Japan are now in a mature market.   In the next few blog posts we will look at the Japanese market.

Back to Foodex!  This has become a regional trade show for Asia.  During our four days at the show we met with hundreds of attendees from all over Asia.  The USDA brought in 95 companies from Taiwan.   Korean companies were everywhere.  Middle-Eastern and African companies showed interest.

The action was in the Japan Pavilion where some of the most sophisticated food processing companies in the world showed their new products.   Like the USA, blueberries have entered an "ingredient solution" phase of marketing.  Where fresh and frozen were the choice in 1990 -- now we are seeing companies utilizing dried blueberries, freeze dry, microwave dried, powders, juice and purees and puree concentrates.    Companies are looking for ways to immediately add blueberries to a product. 

Here are just a few shots from the Foodex 2017!

No Foodex is complete without our annual Indian dinner.  Here we bring together blueberry friends, buyers, sellers and associates.  

New fans were a hit! 

Gold standard-juice
At BC Blueberry Booth

Here is a booth in the Turkish Pavilion that caught my eye.  This is a producer of traditional Turkish Confectionery (Turkish Delight) which we met last year in Turkey while conducting a research project.   The initial contact has led to this wonderful blueberry Turkish delight.

Here is a close-up.  When it comes to Turkish delight -- only the finest ingredients such as pistachios and now dried blueberries!

The Japanese consumer has a different food-texture preference than North Americans.   They like foods which have a jellied or wet feel.  (some even say slimy.")  Introducing Blueberry Konyaku..  Amazing we made some prototypes of this three years ago and served at the Foodex and now -- here we are!

Here is evidence that "the world is flat"  This is the booth of an Egyptian jam and preserve manufacturer who purchases frozen blueberries, utilizes inexpensive Brazilian sugar to produce this widely popular product sold around the world and even in the USA.

The blueberry Jam is one of the leading items and is packed under a number of different labels.  

Stay tuned a lot of blueberry action in the field to report!

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