What's happening in the blueberry FoodTech World

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ingredient Evolution - India!

Oops!  Wrong Raj Kapoor
Here is the presentation which Raj Kapoor will give to 100 food manufacturers in Chennai this weekend.  We will also have a super chef giving a demonstration on the perfect blueberry muffin!

Good morning, and welcome to the US Highbush Blueberry Council presentation  The USHBC represents 3,500 blueberry growers in 33 states.  Our mission: to build demand for highbush blueberries.   This includes; research – health, production and marketing; conducting market development activities for consumer, foodservice and food industry.   We also have worked for two decades on building the market for fresh, frozen and further processed blueberries.
Elizabeth White’s dream resulted in the global business .  Today highbush blueberries are produced in more than 38 blueberry states in the USA and two provinces of Canada.  They are also produced in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia.  All of the highbush blueberry varieties produced now in China are a result of Elizabeth White’s work a century ago. 

It all began in 1916 when the first highbush blueberries were brought to market after extensive research and development by USDA Scientist Frederick Coville and Farmer Elizabeth White.   Before this time, highbush blueberries were found only in the forest and took great efforts to obtain and hand pick.   Coville and White experimented and learned how to cultivate the forest blueberries.  Elizabeth gave a bounty to hunters in the area who could bring back big beautiful blueberries for cultivation.   In 1916 Elizabeth’s dream came true and highbush blueberries were shipped to markets.   

Here is a modern blueberry field today in New Jersey.  The berries on the left are from the Pacific Northwest at a farm of the Berry King, who I have personally visited.  Note the high yields of big beautiful blueberries that are on the bushes.  They grow well because of the forest like acidic soils, perfect spacing which allows for mechanical harvesting.  China lacks acidic soils and organic matter necessary to produce large scale blueberry plantations in much of the country.

Here is the general overview of the health benefits: they are low in fat, a good source of fiber, packed with vitamin C  which helps collagen formation and are an excellent source of Manganese which play an important role in bone development and in converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.

Here are the major research areas being pursued at this time including cardiovascular health, brain health, insulin response and cancer research.   Keep tuned to the USHBC web site for more information.

Now to formats.  This is my area of expertise as a food scientist.   Here is a view of the main formats used in the world food industry.   Frozen is a mainstay in the production of jams, jellies and bakery products, fillings and sauces.  Frozen blueberries come in individually quick frozen form where individual berries are required.  They are sized as well to meet product specifications.   Another form is case frozen which is – as the name implies – frozen in the case.  This product is used often in making jams jellies and sauces for yogurts and ice creams.  Next we have purees and puree concentrates.  This is the form that is used most often in dairy applications.  Juice Concentrate is a 65 Brix normally and now there are 70 brix which are shelf stable.  This is the main product used in fruit juices.   Dehydrated blueberries are a major market segment in Asia.   The main product is a sugar-infused dried blueberry which is about 15-18 percent moisture.   Apple juice infused are also available.  It takes about 3.5 kg of frozen or fresh blueberries to make one kg of dried.   Natural, non-infused dried blueberries are also available as well as freeze dried and microwave dried blueberries.   A new area includes diced, sized and “Crumbled” blueberries which work well where smaller size is important.  Finally, we have a booming new category that is certainly of interest to India– powders, fibers and pomace.   Powder is made from milled freeze dried blueberries and contains the whole berry.   Blueberry pomace which is the by product of juice pressing and puree making – is used to further dry to make fiber and also for extraction of pigments.    This is a huge business in Asia and more and more product is available in the future.

Now what is next.  You saw from my bio that I am working on combat rations for the armed forces and also space foods for NASA.   Check out the photo on the right – ae there already blueberries on Mars.  Just a joke.

Blueberry product development is rising all over Asia.  We have technical resources all in place in several countries including India.

We believe that India and other countries in the region will continue to appreciate blueberries and the new product statistics are impressive.

We have seen impressive growth of US blueberry imports to India -- especially with dried and frozen product.

Video of new products - Below

Here is the first nationwide frozen polybag -- note the Real Seal!

You know your product is a success when you get Mr. Bollywood to endorse!

Throughout Asia, a major demand determinant is a consumer perceived attachment to beauty and skin care.

One problem we have with success is that others will imitate.  This is why the Real Seal is so important.  If you have a blueberry containing product -- tell the world that it is real.

Here is our advertisement back in the USA!

Here is where to reach me!  

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