Kung Hay Fat Choy!

Kung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year or CNY as they say!  I wish all of our blueberry fans in China the best prosperity for the new year.  My #1 resolution is to see fresh blueberries from the USA allowed in China!  It is a win-win situation.  Chinese consumers love blueberries and hundreds of manufactured products contain blueberries including juices, jams, dairy and natural cosmetics.  Consumers, rarely have an opportunity to try fresh blueberries and when they do — they love them!

Yes, China does produce blueberries in regions as far north as Inner Mongolia to the South and Hainan Island.  Currently local production is limited and most blueberry is major cities close to the production.  I spent Thanksgiving day in Beijing at a fresh produce conference and jut about every major produce importer and distributor expressed showed immediate interest in importing fresh blueberries.  Discussions are underway between the USA and China and there does not seem to be any big objections or reasons.  It just takes time…  Think positive — promote blueberries — and the blueberries will come!


Welcome!

Welcome to the new and improved Blueberry Food Tech Blog.  Tom Payne here.  I have been working on blueberries for some time now and and loving it.  Here, I will post regular details on blueberries in the food industry.  Thanks for visiting and keep in touch!


The New Mascot

How about the new mascot!  It has taken 25 years — but the Blueberry Council finally has a mascot!!!  Meet “Dyna!”  Her friend  “Mo” in the works so stay tuned.  Mascots are a huge deal in Asia where we market a lot of our blueberries.  Consider “Hello Kitty” which is bigger than Santa Claus in Taiwan.  Last summer, we held a mascot contest in Korea.  We used social media to solicit designs from artists across the nation. We expected a few — but received 70 great designs.

Here is the winner:

Fresh – Healthy – Tasty!  That is the theme!


Blueberry Oil!

Blueberry Oil!

I never thought of a blueberry as an oil source until recently, when I visited with cosmetic chemists. Blueberries contain a very small or immature seed that can be pressed for oil. Some varieties have a more defined seed, but for the most part you will not even notice it. The seed is pressed into a very pleasant oil and marketed in the cosmetic industry worldwide. Here is what one of the suppliers in the USA say on the spec sheet.

Fruitsmart in Washington State says:

Blueberry seed oil is prepared by the mechanical cold press expeller processing of blueberry seeds. No solvents or chemicals are used during any step of production. The process yields unrefined blueberry seed oil which is then lightly filtered and purged with nitrogen and packed securely in appropriate containers. This product is processed, packaged and shipped in accordance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices and in compliance with the United States Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 as amended.

Specs:

  • Appearance: light green
  • Aroma: no off notes (I say it has a wonderful blueberry aroma!)
  • Solubility: lipid soluble
  • Extraneous matter: clear
  • Peroxide value: <15mg/kg
  • Specific gravity: 0.923

Now, the big question. What is it used for. I talked to cosmetic chemists who are currently using it in a whole variety of skin applications. Just for the aroma of real blueberries it is worth the pricy price tag! (Send me a note and I will fill you in). According to oil chemists, the blueberry oil has some very interesting functional characteristics for food and non food uses including special applications in mechanical engineering.
Now this is all interesting stuff, and I must get to work to update a new column on the Blueberry supplier list! I understand there are a few suppliers.

Here is a photo of a popular skin mask from Korea!