Each month, i get messages from consumers asking about “artificial blueberries.” As you can imagine, they are not happy that the product they just purchased with big-beautiful blueberry photos on the package — do not contain blueberries in the product.
This is an old problem, and thankfully it becomes less and less of a problem each year.
In the beginning, there were fresh blueberries, then frozen — and most blueberries went in these two directions. With the development of processed foods,more and more products were developed as “Shelf stable” and with “intermediate moisture.” Ingredients for these products must match specific moisture and water activity requirements. Quite simply, if the available blueberry ingredients did not match, some manufacturers would choose blueberry “analogs.” These included blue dyed dehydrated apples, blue colored grain bits and formed gum and fat bits. These products must be labeled properly and will be described in the legal manner in line with US Food and Drug Administration rules.
USHBC takes a positive approach to the artificial blueberries. First, we work to “gently” inform the manufacturers of the overwhelming consumer preference for real blueberries. Also, we learned that consumers react very badly when they learn that a blueberry-identified product does not contain real blueberries. Second, we explain the technical reasons why real blueberries do work in specific food product categories. For example manufacturers can source blueberries in different moisture content.
Blueberries are sized and cut to specifications.
They work just about everywhere.
One big reason that companies have claimed to use artificial blueberries in the past is price. In the past the further processed blueberries were on the pricey side, but with the dawn of the current supply and win-win sales proposition in the blueberry business — most of the products are in the same price range as the artificial. We think the real product is an advantage in itself!