USHBC hosted an all-day seminar for importers, distributors and end users of highbush blueberries in Mumbai, India November 20, 2018. We anticipated 40 and 86 professionals took time from their busy schedules to attend! It was a special honor for USHBC to salute some of the pioneering companies who Nutraj, Tajir, Orchard, Delta, IG and Anusaya among others who have worked side by side with USHBC for the past decade.
The event, coordinated by Raj Kapoor, our India FoodTech, consisted of five parts.
Blueberry Education. Tom Payne gave an overview of blueberries and blueberry ingredient solutions.
A Panel discussion by importers, distributors on the market situation and strategies for moving forward. (including a strategy for India stakeholders to work on duty reduction with their government).
A chef demo that showed the use of frozen blueberries and the economics of adding this value added ingredient.
A salute to India by Tom Payne for rising from $0 to $1 million I imports in 2018, and marketing strategies for moving forward!
A panel discussion by some of India’s top celebrity chefs with impressions and advice on increasing blueberry use in the food industry and food service categories.
At the end of the day, we announced that this will become a yearly event and will include a New product award. Companies pledged to give full support to our marketing efforts — with special emphasis on use of the Real Seal in qualified products.
We have seen interest in blueberries in Colombia for the past few years.
Whenever we exhibit at Miami, we always meet Colombian importers and food processors with interest. This country of 49 million is on the rise. With an end of a civil war which has hindered the economy since the mid-1960s — Colombia is on the move.
Colombians love blueberries. They have a native species in the wild and have been developing a small domestic crop to feed demand.
Colombian food processors are on the leading edge of new product development with blueberries. Since USHBC started work in-country two years ago, we have seen developments of new blueberry products including, baking, snacks and confectionery.
Dried blueberries and ingredient solutions such as flakes and powders are used in the food industry and poly-bag frozen blueberries can be found in supermarkets nationwide!
On September 7, 2018 USHBC held it’s first annual Dynamo New Product Award for innovation.
2018 Dynamo New Product Award Winners!
Check out this video. You can sense the excitement! Watch this market grow!
Have you noticed the number of new products on the supermarket shelf with “ancient grains” on the package and ingredients such as: chia, flaxseed and quinoa in the ingredient statement? According to Mintel Global New Product Database (GNPD), the number is around 1,000 worldwide. Since 2015 we have seen about 50 blueberry-ancient grain products introduced.
What is an ancient grain? There really is not an official definition for this but my personal guess is: grains and cereals that have been historically consumed since ancient times. These ancient grains are differentiated from the “modern grains” which are in high volume mass production.
Flaxseed, chia, quinoa, kamut, amaranth teff and others.
What is the connection to blueberries? Blueberries and blueberry ingredients share the same type of “health halo” as ancient grains such as flaxseed, chia and quinoa. Blueberries are a great addition to foods which utilize the addition of ancient grains as functional and on-pack consumer attraction. That is my guess!
Anyway, here is a collection of the interesting blueberry and ancient grain products around the world.
Companies using ancient grains are natural targets for blueberry usage. You will see more blueberry ancient grain products in the future.
This is good blueberry identification on a baby food product. Look at the green section on the upper right hand side and you will see the other enhancing statements including "ancient grains."
Here is an example of a pet food product with ancient grains.
Here is a super cool video produced in cooperation with the USDA-Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Agriculture Trade Office (ATO) at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). It is just a bootleg copy I made from my I phone at the Food Taipei. But, you will get the idea. It is COOL!
Thanks to Katherine Lee at the AIT for this wonderful initiative. Mandy in Taiwan helped with the blueberries part.
We will post the official version when officially published on the AIT website!
The time: July 18 2018 (2:00 pm) ; The place: Tokyo Big Site. Blueberry Baking Seminar 2018. In conjunction with the Pastry and Baking (P & B) exhibition, USHBC will present an update on blueberries in Japanese baking. Japanese bakers are at the vanguard of new product development.
Check out the presentation video and you will see products such as baguettes and croissants with blueberries which are now marketed in the convenience store sector. Drop by the big site and check it out! Hall 7, just take a left turn at the giant blue egg!
This was a big year for highbush blueberries in the USDA Foods Commodity Processing arena.
In commodity processing USDA foods, purchased for schools and humanitarian feeding, are made by manufacturers into school-ready products. Schools love it. USDA loves it, and USHBC loves seeing our products utilized!
Check out this video from USHBC FoodTech showing the recent School Nutrition Association (SNA) conference held in Las Vegas, July 9-12.
New USDA Product: Berry Fruit Cup! This new concept was a highlight at the show and reports are positive on acceptance by schools and of course students.
You will also see a whole slew of blueberry containing products exhibited for consideration by school district buyers.
USDA sees the blueberry industry commitment to USDA foods and commodity processing.
Day 4! Get me out of here!!! Most exhibitions abroad run for three days maximum. Some of the large ones like ANUGA, SIAL and Gulfood run 5 days! Food Taipei was four. The final day gave me an opportunity to visit the Taiwan Pavilion. Total Chaos and incredibly loud. Took a short video above which shows some of the action and noise!
Taiwan is a nation of several large food companies and thousands of small. Note the sophistication of the booths, the bright packaging and focus on natural ingredients.
Last year, I made the rounds and just a few blueberry containing products here and there Now some really great developments.
The show is located at the Nanagang Exposition Center and is on two floors.
Take Aways: >Interest in frozen and dried blueberries for food processing is strong. Companies are in need of product that can met the strict Taiwan MRLs.
>Taiwan is a long-time loyal market for USA blueberries. Again and again companies who we have known for decades stopped in to visit. They are proud to be on the USA blueberry team and this year we rolled out the Real Seal and had some strong interest and commitments.
>We have gone from fresh, to frozen and now to ingredient solutions! Manufacturers are fascinated with the wide variety of ingredient solutions that are available.
>In meeting with Taiwan companies, it is impressive to see how many are now advanced into Mainland China with successful nationwide business operations.
>Taiwan is the “home base” for “Overseas Chinese” who operate businesses in Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some of the leading companies in the region come to the Food Taipei to visit suppliers and equipment manufacturers.
USHBC continually takes the highbush blueberry message to the widespread regions of India. This month we participated in a “Roadshow” event sponsored by the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) India. Over the past years, they have been extremely helpful with events such as this. Chennai is especially important as it is a trendsetting South-Indian region which is always on the leading edge of food product innovations.
Welcome to the Chennai Roadshow!
Local Connections. Raj talks dried blueberries with visitors from the local trade. The gentleman with the Real Seal on his shirt is a sales person from a company who is rolling out frozen blueberries in the region. We always link our activities with local suppliers, as most food companies are not able to export full loads directly. Currently we have a solid local list of around 50 supplier companies who actively participate with USHBC activities.
Blueberry Ice Cream Sampling. Ms. Jeanne F. Bailey, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs and Adam Branson, Senior Agricultural Attaché for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in India. FAS has been extremely helpful to USHBC for the past decade!
Blueberry Innovators! Mr. K. Thrinath Kumar of Ajantha KTK products in Chennai proudly featured his launched 50Gram pack of dried US blueberries at the event! It is very important to have local connections.
The Future. Food Science and Technology students from a local university attend and check out the blueberry booth. We welcome the students as they are the future customers!
New Product Introduction! We invited a local innovator firm called Berrylicious to share out booth. This company from the neighbour State of Karnataka is a leader in this region of innovation. The company is from Bengaluru which was formerly called Bangalore. This city is known as one of the “Silicon Valleys” of South India.
Meet the new “Super Chef.” Johnathan of the Hotel Taj, Chennai. USHBC participated in a chef seminar where a local celebrity chef demonstrated items containing blueberries. It’s all about entertainment to get the attention and awareness! This fellow did a great job! I especially admired the way he talked down a rude fellow in the audience who continually talked with his buddy.
Store Check Time – Manila: One of Hana’s tasks in her Philippine visit is to check out the stores, look for blueberry products and opportunities. Now here we are at the SM Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping malls in the world! If you are wondering what SM stands for — it is “Shoe Mart.” Started out as a shoe shop and now one of the largest retailers in the Philippines!
at least 500 mascots!
We have discovered Mascot Paradise. Never have we seen so many mascots on parade. Each of the shops and restaurants has a mascot including the Giant blue Elephant mascot of the SM.
Normally we can get some photos and video, but Hana learned immediately that this could be difficult. As she said — all of the guards were carrying machine guns (AK-47s to be exact). In the Philippines — wherever there is money, there are armed guards!
What we see:
Filipinos love sweets. You will find jams, jellies and blueberry sweets. In fact one buyer told us they wanted to see more sweetness in our dried blueberries. I have never heard this before!
Most stores have refrigerated produce sections and fresh blueberries can be found from time to time
Foodservice is massive. Filipinos like to eat outside of the home.
Hana is ready to shop!
One of the largest malls in the world and they are in many cities of the Philippines.
Mascot Parade and the Giant blue Elephant mascot of the SM.