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!
Here is an interesting way to explain ingredients in a baby food.
Heinz Australia launched recently Watties for Baby.
Check out the back of the pouch:
“Wattie’s for Baby Berry Nice Pear Smoothie comprises four tablespoons of pear puree, one tablespoon of blueberries, one tablespoon of Greek style Yoghurt, half a tablespoon of rolled oats and half a teaspoon of strawberry puree.”
Note the big jump in blueberry baby foods in Asia.
Breakfast Cereals with blueberries are on the rise in Asia.
With the boom in the hotel and restaurant business in Southeast Asia, skilled chefs, baristas and bartenders are in demand. This month USHBC worked with a local culinary school in Ho Chi Minh City to sponsor and provide ingredients for a weekend bartender camp and competition.
Belly up to the bar and check out this exciting event. Some ultra-creative blueberry uses. These new blueberry converts will be in the workplace soon!
Frozen polbag blueberries are promoted all over Taiwan this month at many of the 86 Carrefour stores, The frozen sales had some unexpected challenges this year and our FoodTech Mandy and her team stepped in to re-charge the store and customer interest!
Many are amazed to see how easy it is to make a smoothie at home!
Promoters lead the shoppers to the frozen case where they can buy all of the ingredients to make smoothies.
Cheese & Coffee is a trendsetting coffee chain located in the major cities of Vietnam. Vietnamese are passionate about good coffee, cheese and now — blueberries! (Note the construction crane on the upper left corner of this photo taken in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) They are everywhere!
Chilled coffee drinks with frozen blueberry is the draw! Our super-charged Food Tech Hana provided 1 kg bags of frozen IQF blueberries as part of a USDA funded Quality Samples Program (QSP). Cheese and Coffee research chefs developed a whole line of blueberry products including blueberry cheesecake, smoothies and Hana’s favorite: “Chocoberry”. Trials led to production and that led to a new product category in Vietnam that is on the rise.
The excitement is building! Note the Winter Cocoberry promotion poster! The new line is especially popular with the young Vietnamese Café culture. Winter time is still warm weather in Southern part of Vietnam and rainy too. A refreshing chilled beverage is a must! Hana is getting calls from other chains, hotels and restaurants who want to try frozen blueberries!
Congratulations to Team Blueberry Vietnam! Also, thanks to the USDA-Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) for funding the initial frozen container of blueberries. This has primed the pump and importers are following up with commercial orders to chase the demand!
Here is the Kaiser Permanente billboard from 2014!
December 15, 2018- Shanghai Disney kicks off American Christmas Tradition with USDA-ATO sponsored event at Disney-Town!
The staff at the USDA-FAS Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) is always looking for ways to promote US products such as blueberries. Shanghai Disney collaborated with ATO to create a Christmas event to spotlight the American home baking tradition. Above Ryan Scott with special guest and Chef Moma a local celebrity chef start things off at the Disney Resort! The event was attended by invited families from the Shanghai area as well as visitors to the Magic Kingdom East!
First, visitors walked the USDA display area and tasted bakery ingredients such as almonds, raisins and of course dried blueberries which are available online from T-Mall!
Bakery suppliers from the region attended and we were able to increase our network of local suppliers. Julia Zhu from Beijing and Mandy Chen tag-teamed this event and made some excellent contacts!
Ryan Scott, the ATO as you can see had a great time at the event and all were pleased that USHBC participated in this event. The value of participating in a Disney-Sponsored event is huge!
Julia reported that blueberries were the most popular item at the event.
After a seminar by Chef Moma the kids got a chance to decorate with USA ingredients!
This young princess told her mom that they must enjoy the magic of blueberries at home! Just scan the QR code and We Chat will make your wish come true!
Japan produces some of the most interesting new food products.
Here Calbee introduces blueberry and cheese.
The product is described by the company as “a product for women.” Ultra-low-moisture ingredients such as blueberry flakes and powders work well in chips, crackers and all sorts of snacks. Plus the blueberry on the pack appeals.
Here is the Berry Latest for Latin American Food Industry!
This is the special issue on blueberry powders which are becoming more and more popular in this region of 700 million.
Here is an interesting pet food concept from American Manufacturer Member’s Mark, marketed in Mexico.
It’s gift-giving season in the Philippines!
This year more and more USA blueberries are on the list of must haves.
Stores bundle collections of imported goods. These baskets contain bags of dried blueberries.
The Philippines hosts a whole slew of local favorites including snacks and sweets.