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!



Blueberries by the Spoonful

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.


Asian Breakfast Cereals with Dried Blueberries

Breakfast Cereals with blueberries are on the rise in Asia.


Thai consumers love the color blue! First with Ice creams and now cereals!
Here is a newly launched cereal from Kellogg's in Japan which touts 1/2 weight of the total is dried fruit! Half of the dried fruit is blueberry!
Notice the amount of detailed health information listed on the pack including charts, graphs and other information on digestion and gut health.
The cereal health trend has spread to China as well. Imported products such as Quaker are transitioning to local production. Dried blueberries and almonds are recognized healthy ingredients.
The cereal box is interesting reading with lots of detail on specific ingredients and dietary benefits.
Here is a new one called Crunchy Monkey! Lots of dried blueberries!

Culinary Education in Vietnam

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.

Frozen blueberries from the USA are now available to hotels and restaurants all over Vietnam. Here a future professional bartender concocts a creative blueberry cocktail!

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!

Of course, a blueberry volcano!

Selfie time with a blueberry mojito!

A blueberry and basil treat

A gin fizz with blueberries and floral décor


Of course, our FoodTech Hana is busy working the crowd including this VIP from the press!

And the winner is..
Mr. Mohito!

Wintertime Frozen Promotion – Taiwan!


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.

Good Morning Vietnam! Say Cheese & Coffee

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.

Hana’s favorite!

Take a number! A Crowd lines up early to get a coffee & blueberry fix!

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!