Expocomer Panama


Bienvenidos to Panama!   USHBC conducted the first trade mission and expositon to the Republic of Panama March 27-30, 2019 in Panama City.  For the past five years, we have met dozens of Panamanian companies at expositions in Miami.  Food companies in the region including baking, confectionery and snacks are seeking Real Blueberries and this year Blueberry FoodTech hopped the short flight to Panama for a look!

Commercial bakeries in the region look to use frozen blueberries in muffins and other items.

Dried blueberries work in the snacking culture.

Purees and puree concentrate is desired for ice creams and sorbets.  Panamanians are crazy for ice cream, especially in the heat of the April Summer where the temperatures soar to 90s and high humidity!

The USHBC Strategic directs  marketing and promotional activities to seek out new high value markets!   While most activities continue in the Asian markets, it is time to look close to home in the Central American market.

Stay tuned.

Adios from Panama!


Global Pet Expo

Orlando, Florida – USHBC FoodTech is just back from the GPE!

Ten years ago, you had to look very hard for blueberry-containing products.  In fact many were in the bird feed area.  Today, we see blueberry use in all areas of the multi-billion dollar pet food industry.  The big trend: we are seeing more and more use of pure, powder and higher value ingredients.

Stay tuned for some more GPE excitement!

Saigon Chefs Association

USHBC FoodTech Hana presents concepts at Saigon Chef Association meeting

Ho Chi Minh City – Hana continues to work the booming foodservice channel in Vietnam with cooperation with the local chef association.   Chefs are excited to see frozen blueberries available at last in Vietnam as well as dried and soon fresh!

Food Ingredients China

Food Manufacturers from throughout China attend FIC

China is a huge country of more than 1.3 billion.  How do you reach the food processing companies spread throughout 23 provinces.   Just like back home in the USA food processors attend major trade expositions similar to the Institute of Food Technologists.  Attendees include Research and Development staff from food companies from all over China.  They include local companies as well as multinationals.  What are they looking for?  The answer is — attractive value added ingredients that are formula ready.   Besides frozen, they are looking for dried, liquid and high tech ingredients such as powders, flakes and others.

Korea New Product Developments

USHB  asked our FoodTech Sunyong Lee to seek out new usage areas for blueberries!  He has been busy and here are some developments to date.  Check out these new products introduced in South Korea.  Companies are using items such as blueberry puree concentrate, powder and flakes to launch blueberries into new and exciting categories and products.  Go get ’em Sunyong!


Postcard from Sri Lanka

FoodTech Raj Kapoor visits Sri Laka looking for food industry opportunities for processed blueberries.

Here are some of Raj’s friends in the baking business. Lots of interest in frozen blueberries for muffins and other items.

Next question, next answer. Yes, they do have access to frozen blueberries in consumer and industrial packs.  The one kg bag is just right for Sri Lanka.

Yes, they have grocery stores all over the island as well as cash and carry for foodservice.Conclusion:  Sri Lanka is on the radar screen! Detailed report to follow!





Gulfoods 2019

USDA-FAS Administrator visits USHBC booth

Dubai-UAE – Interest in USA blueberries grows year-to-year in the Middle East.   First it was fresh and now dried and frozen for food processing.   Dozens of Indian firms showed off packaged USA dried blueberries at the event.  We saw strong interest for frozen and puree from dairy companies from throughout the region.

What about fresh:  The wall of blueberries still stands at local markets in Dubai!


Bollywood Meets Blueberries

USA Blueberry India Brain Trust Don Vanderwerken (Blueberry Grower Mississippi) , Raj Kapoor (USHBC FoodTech)  and Dinesh Shinde (Fruit importer and distributor).

February 4, 2019 – Mumbai.  USA Blueberries have gone big time in India.  USHBC participated in  Salute to Bollywood promotion a trendy club in the center of the Indian movie industry “Bollywood.”  New drink concepts were created for the event which drew the A list of Bollywood stars.  The event was hosted by Anusaya, a pioneer fresh and processed blueberry importer in India.  The event was also hosted by one of the most prominent Bollywood choreographers — Raajeiv Khinchi.  As a result, attending food, beverage and entertainment bloggers posted positive reports on the event and celebrity comments of the love of blueberries!

Delicious drinks made with frozen blueberries!

Salute to the Vietnamese Spartan!

Diep orders rice noodles at our team-blueberry reunion in HCM City, January 2019

January 2019, Blueberry Guy met up with our Super Spartan in Ho Chi Minh City — Diep Tran.  Last summer when USHBC prepared for a site visits by the  Vietnam Ministry for Rural Development(MRD)  — we were in a bind.  Mission impossible: find a Vietnamese speaking translator with a horticultural or entomology background!   Not that easy — there are thousands of Vietnamese exchange students in the USA and most in engineering and business.  Blueberry Guy called Bob Carini in Michigan and he replied that he had a lead on a Vietnamese student in Michigan.  Bob called Dr. Rufus Issacs the blueberry entomology guru at Michigan State University who called his colleague Randy Beaudry in the Horticulture Department who just happened to be the advisor for Diep Tran, who was working on apple post harvest.  The Vietnamese were arriving in a week!  Diep was in the middle of submitting and defending her dissertation and packing up for home.  She dropped everything and added blueberry market access to the list of to do’s.  Task 1.  Plan travel for a group of three Vietnamese scientists.  Diep spent nights on the phone with the Vietnamese side making arrangements.  Vietnamese names are incredibly complicated and contain all sorts of Vietnam-only characters.  One wrong character was a problem.

Diep made it work!

Next, Diep took a crash course from Rufus on blueberries and entomology.   The visitors were the top entomologists and scientists in Vietnam and had a long list of questions to be answered on their journey to assess market access for fresh blueberries.

Diep made it work!

Next, Diep finished her dissertation and hopped a flight to Seattle to meet up with Blueberry Guy who  was meeting up with the Vietnamese delegation.   Blueberry Guy had a great Saturday with the group but they were very relieved when she arrived!

For one week, we toured the Vietnamese delegation from field to packing plants in Washington State and Michigan.   The days were long and Diep accompanied the group for 16 hr. days and continual technical translation.  It was exhausting.

Diep made it work.

At each stop we made progress with systems-approach demonstrations by an all-star team of industry, government and extension expertise.   Diep’s precise translation and good nature made the journey work.  Mission accomplished.

January 2019, Diep is back in Vietnam and an executive at a major international university in Ho Chi Minh City.   She juggles a busy schedule with family,  school, students and extension work.   But in her style–she dropped everything to meet up with Blueberry Guy who visited Vietnam to assist with a the Vietnam-USA Plant protection bilateral meeting.

Diep made it work as always!