US Blueberries for Korean Foodservice

Korea is the largest export market for US Highbush frozen blueberries.   In 2015 around 10 million lbs were shipped to the “land of the morning calm.”   With food processing continuing utilizing most blueberries in past decade’s “blueberry fever” — we are now approaching the lucrative foodservice market.  This includes family foodservice, hotels and restaurants and institutions.  Koreans consumer a huge percentage of meals outside and we aim to reach consumers in this growing channel.

Foodservice Structure

Source: Soejung Heo, A Study on the Foodservice Industry in Korea, 2013.

Reaching the foodservice customers

We wish we could get blueberries into Kimchee and Bi Bim Bap, and who knows?  But, our first point of entry has been western and family foodservice chains — such as Skylark, CJ Foodville and Cocos.   Rather than reinvent Korean cuisine, we are adapting recipes and formulas to include blueberries.   We also mix in the health and beauty message.    Below is an example of a recent activity targeting foodservice distributors.

Korea Culinary Camp 2016

Here is an example of our foodservice work with the annual “Korea Culinary Camp.”  This event is hosted by the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service and the Korean Chef’s Association.  Three menu items with frozen blueberries were presented at the September 7 event.    Here are a few photos from the event.   Stay tuned for more information on the Culinary Camp!

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