Gunjan Jain, (the Nut Raj) from India is an innovator in dried fruit and nut production, sales and marketing.
Two decades ago the action was in the dark always of the dried fruit markets or bazaars. Gunjan is a fourth generation walnut grower and processor in the Jammu Kashmir state in the North of India. He was encouraged by his grandfather to come to America — as he did years ago to study dried fruit and nut marketing. I was impressed when he called me out of the blue and then after three hours of public transit — arrived at my office! Gunjan’s vision was to take the product to the consumer. He developed delivery systems for ordering product via phone and e mail — way before there was an internet. Online sales followed. He began servicing the newly developed grocery trade all over India. (Grocery stores were not common 20 years ago). He studied the health benefits of dried fruits and nuts and then began to use this valuable information on the pack and in advertising and media. He also began marketing dried fruits and nuts to food processors, for baking, confectionery and snacks. Foodservice and Ayurveda have followed.
Gunjan was one of the first — if not the first– company in India to import dried blueberries from the USA!
Now — Look at the latest development. The Nut Lounge. A great place to sample dried blueberries too!
Welcome to Blueberry Kitchen Vietnam!
Hana in Vietnam has initiated a You-Tube channel dedicated to sharing blueberry recipes! Here is a starter with the production of a blueberry cake which she learned from her mother who ran a small cake shop in her small village. Although Vietnamese have a rice based diet — they also love baked goods and a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee! After more than six decades of French rule after the 1880s — they developed a passion for superb cakes and breads.
Enjoy: Stay tuned for the video link.
Although fresh blueberries from the USA are restricted for entry to China — USHBC conducts activities to educate, engage and encourage blueberry consumption overall. This month, we are participating with the USDA-FAS office in Beijing on educational seminars on produce handling in Quindao (Shandong Province) and Xi’an (Shaanxi) Province.
When you visit a grocery store of fruit market in China, you will notice wide differences in blueberry display and handling. Typically, you will find a vast fresh product area and a small refrigerated area. blueberries are often stacked from the floor in room temperature.
Seminars will show practical information on how to protect your blueberry investment and also to get the freshest product for positive consumer experience.
The New World Hotel Saigon USA promotion is in full swing! Our “Blueberry Hana” has been scootering around Ho Chi Minh City for weeks to prepare and the event looks to be a big success. Blueberries in desserts are a hit as well as entrees. Although this is a 5-Star Hotel –it is a gathering place for locals looking for the latest dining trends.
Dried and frozen blueberries are the emphasis. Importers and distributors took notice and are urged to contact Vietnamese importers and suppliers of USA blueberries. Customers are also craving fresh blueberries!
Thanks to the USDA Office of Agricultural Affairs – Ho Chi Minh City for organizing this and other events. USHBC now is an active Cooperator in the Vietnam market and Blueberry Hana is on the move!
USHBC participated in the first ever USDA Dried Fruit which brought together participants from the Agriculture Marketing Service and other divisions. (November 16, 2017) This gave us an opportunity to explain dried blueberries to USDA Foods buyers for school lunches, emergency feeding and other channels.
Brazil is a huge country of more than 210 million population. USHBC market development efforts have been warmly received by this health conscious nation. New products with blueberries are on the rise and USA shippers are moving fresh blueberries during the Brazilian winter. The further south you go in Brazil — the cooler the temperatures. Katia Miura, our in-country blueberry ambassador learned of a blueberry festival in the small town of Itá, in the State of Santa Catarina. Itá, is in the middle of a German-Brazilian population region. Locals love everything blueberry. Santa Catarina is a small state but considered one of the richest in Brazil.
USHBC in-country FoodTech ambassador Katia Miura read about a blueberry festival being held at the start of the season in October. She dashed down to Itá and participated in the festivities.
The warm welcome and enthusiasm for blueberries was amazing according to Katia. Not only do they grow blueberries — but they produce all sorts of great products. We came away with a spirit of cooperation to help increase awareness for blueberries in Brazil!
USHBC exhibited at the Food Ingredients India – FI Show November 9-11 in Mumbai! USA Blueberries are on the move in India!
USHBC exhibited at the Taiwan Agriculture Week Exposition in South Taiwan city of Kaohsiung.
This opened the door to the food processing industries in the south. Thanks to the USDA-FAS Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) who organized the US Pavilion.
At the venue, Blueberry Mandy gave a presentation on US Blueberries with an emphasis on fresh and further processed blueberries.
USHBC participated in the annual China Fruit and Vegetable Exposition, sponsored by the Chinese Government AQSQ. (November 3-5, 2017, Beijing) Although the USA is not allowed access for fresh blueberries, this exhibition allowed us face time with the AQSIQ and future customers such as importers distributors and wholesalers. All are anxious about the upcoming China-USA (Plant Health) Technical Bilateral meetings which will be held December 4-7 in Sanya, Hainan Island, China.
Here is the “office” of the AQSIQ at the exposition. This is the government body which decides what products may or may not enter China. Throughout the exposition, we met AQSIQ representatives and they had an opportunity to see the popularity of blueberries firsthand.
The theme of the event and country at large is: “Belt and Road.” China is rapidly implementing plans to utilize the old Silk Road Routes through Central Asia to re-connect the ancient trade routes between China, India, Europe and Africa. Notice you do not see an arrow pointed to or from North America!
This was a professional-only exposition and visitors posed all sorts of questions about the blueberry industry, merchandising and especially wanted to know — when will US Blueberries be available in China!
Fresh blueberries are available year round in China with local production and imports from Chile, Peru, (now) Mexico and British Columbia. Even with all of these suppliers, importers and distributors seek US blueberries.
The China FV occurred about the same time as the National Congress of the Communist Party of China which is held every five years. This is a big big deal which decides the direction and leadership of the country for the future.
USHBC reaches food product developers through the different trade magazines such as Food Technology, Dairy, Candy, Food Processing and others. According to research (by publications) food processors do read magazines. At the same time, all of the major publications are moving into online publications as well. Here is a good example. Food Processing has published a e-book with the topic: Superfruits. When we learned of this publication, we immediately sponsored it. The publication has blueberries dominant on each page and our Real Blueberries™.
This is really a historic event for USA-Vietnam. For the first time in 40 years–a major hotel chain will celebrate American Thanksgiving Day in Ho Chi Minh City, Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The local USDA-FAS office organized an upcoming restaurant promotion with the New World Saigon Hotel in the bustling center of the town once referred to as Saigon.
Hana — our “blue dynamo” in Vietnam worked with the USDA and Hotel on menus, promotional banners and materials along with several other cooperator groups. Most importantly, we linked importers and suppliers with the Hotel buyers to ensure that blueberries were available.
Chefs are busy preparing unique American products for restaurants at the hotel and will include dried and frozen blueberries.
Here are some details on the promotion: Stay tuned for results.