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!


USHBC targets the Taiwan foodservice industry with fresh and frozen blueberry promotions.  This September Master Chef John Hui, Executive Pastry Chef at the Lodge at Pebble Beach worked with the Victoria Hotel Chain in Taipei to create signature desserts with blueberries.   The baked Alaska a flambe dessert was prepared with blueberry cake, blueberry sorbet and topped with blueberries.   As Chef John says — blueberry domination!

The training was  a huge success and the Taipei Television Network covered in a wonderful spot shown on national television throughout the country.  The Result: Victoria is promoting blueberry desserts all month in their hotels throughout Taiwan.   The concept of using fresh and frozen blueberries in desserts is catching on.   Foodservice suppliers are linking up with fresh and frozen suppliers to promote blueberries in this promising new sector!


Here is how to make a blueberry baked Alaska as seen on Taiwan Television!

Poster at Victoria Hotel
Here is the team at the Hotel Victoria! Chefs from all over Taiwan came to the Taipei hotel for training.
Now that is a lot of blueberry!

Australia Advances

Australia is rapidly becoming a major destination for frozen US blueberries.   Last year, USHBC launched activities with participation at the Fine Foods Australia Exposition.  The timing was right — just weeks before a major food safety scare concerning frozen blueberries.   None were from the USA, and all of a sudden, companies from throughout Australia took a look at North American origin.


Caption: (above) More than 3 million USD shipments to Australia and most to new products.  A great return on our small promotional investment in Australia!  We expect the 2016 shipments to exceed 2015 as the above figures are for  June only (below) here is the unfortunate news that rocked the frozen fruit trade in 2015.

Here is the spirit of Australia shown by our neighbor booth at the Fine Food Australia.  By the end of the show attendees and exhibitors sported our ever-popular mascot fans.  Our new friends from Revel showed the friendly spirit of Australia and directed customers to the Blueberry Booth!
Here is the unfortunate news that rocked the frozen fruit trade in 2015.
More than 3 million USD shipments to Australia and most to new products. A great return on our small promotional investment in Australia! We expect the 2016 shipments to exceed 2015 as the above figures are for June only.
The Ultimate Pastry. Have you ever wondered where your frozen blueberries are used in Australia -- here is a great example at a retail bakery in St. Kilda, Melbourne!
Looking for dried blueberries?
Local Blueberries in the marketplace.
Trade Visitors. USHBC booth was a hit!

Australian Blueberry Products 2016

Here are just a few new products with blueberries launched in the last year.  It is heartening to see products which were discussed with companies at Fine Foods Australia 2015 — now hitting the marketplace.

The most valuable asset USHBC provides is new product ideas and food tech power!

Let’s get some more!

Dried blueberries are gaining popularity fast in Australia. We love the use of blueberry graphics on the pack.
Chocolate and blueberry an Australian "tag team" for health!
This baby food thing is big. Mom's and dads feel good about feeding blueberries!
Cold Pressed juices are huge in Australia and why not mix with beet juice!
Note the tagline: "only good stuff!"
A drinkable yogurt that will certainly hit the US market (if not yet). Blueberries are the star! Note the front package: NO PRESERVATIVES, NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS OR PRESERVATIVES!
Love the label: "NATURAL BLUEBERRIES."
Australians love their pets -- and here is one for the Aussie Shep in the family! Note the blueberry identification on the pack.
Now this is a great new concept from Dole Australia. Love the term: "Whole Blueberries" in the flavoured custard.
Blueberry candies. Australians love their sweets and this is a great new concept for healthy confectionery which is a huge per capita consumption item.
Another Cold Pressed juice. We will see more and more of this in the USA.
Australia was an early adapter for development of blueberry-containing bars. More and more each month!
Blueberry beauty mask! This trend has moved fast from Korea to Australia.
Note the made in Australia label. This is a big deal for Australian consumers.
This product contains all of the trendy ingredients including: chia, coconut and of course blueberry. The product name "Wholesome" says it all!
Australia is one of the leading per-capita chocolate-consuming countries and the addition of blueberries seems to remove some of the "consumption guilt."

Health Seminar – Beijing

The Blueberry Council joined with the Cranberry and Pecan promotional organizations for a one day “Health Benefits” seminar held in Beijing September 9, 2016.

More than 100 seminar participants included importers, distributors, food processors and media. Attendees learned of the functional benefits of blueberries as well formats and uses in new and current products.  A master chef demonstrated new-to-China uses such as smoothies, energy bars and the hit of the day: real blueberry muffins!  The audience was amazed to see how frozen blueberries can be used in so many applications!

Embassy Chef Team and our Julia Zhu who promotes highbush blueberries in China.
Embassy Chef Team and our Julia Zhu who promotes highbush blueberries in China.

Here in the USA frozen blueberries are a staple ingredient in the bakery and restaurant trade. USHBC is working to introduce this versatile ingredient to the food industry. Here are some details on the recent seminar by Chef Michael Rosenblum, former Executive Chef and F&B Manager of the Embassy of the United States in Beijing. He is a big advocate of blueberries and we will be seeing more of his work in China in the future!

Products Demonstrated:

  • Blueberry smoothies
  • Blueberry bars
  • Blueberry Muffins

Caption: Embassy Chef Team and our Julia Zhu who promotes highbush blueberries in China.

Key messages presented by Chef Rosenblum:

  • US highbush blueberries have a skin that allows juice to sweeten the whole muffin.
  • Smoothies can be made economically with frozen blueberries.

Check out some of the demo action at the recent seminar held in Beijing September 9, 2016.

Ultimate Cheesecake! This is a very popular item in China.
Smoothies demonstrated. Becoming very popular with image conscious youth in China.
Panna cotta with blueberries inside and on top!
Ultimate blueberry muffins. Chef encouraged audience to use a lot of blueberry to provide identity. Too often bakers are timid as they do not want to have blue color in the batter. Well -- this blue color is exactly what the consumer wants! Great job chef!
Satisfied customers!

American Food Fiesta – Hyderabad India

American Food Fiesta – Hyderabad India

USHBC picked up the maracas and headed south to Hydrabad India for the USDA-FAS sponsored American Food Fiesta.  This event is part of a two city tour to some of the booming mega city markets in South India.   Hyderabad is one of the main cities involved in India’s IT Sector.   Companies like Oracle and Microsoft have huge campuses.   This region was the fastest to develop the brick and mortar grocery trade and is headquarters to some of the leading food processors in India.

The event drew hundreds of local manufacturers and importers and the interest was high for dried and frozen blueberries.   Three different importers of US highbush blueberries as well as local filling companies who are now using frozen blueberries from the USA.   Smaller companies were linked up with local suppliers and we also found some new companies who are ready to do business directly with the USA!   A good night outing.  Next stop Pune!


Here are some action shots from the event!

Local distributors discuss blueberries. We help local importers and distributors to link with food processors in the area.
Let's make a deal!
Local Press Coverage.
Packed tent.
30 minute presentations were given on blueberries.
Note the local fillings made with US blueberries!.
ATO Office organizes.

Let’s hear it for A-S-E-A-N!

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an organization of ten Southeast Asian countries.  It was formed in 1967 — originally with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as the founding countries.   The nations of: (alphabetically) Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam have joined.  ASEAN aims to accelerate economic growth of its members, promote social progress, and provide a body to help with political stability.

Last year Singapore imported more than $2 million USD of US Blueberries.  Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines are all ramping processed blueberry imports for the food industry.USHBC is continuing to promote in the region.

Economic Indicators: (2016 The World Bank)

  • Indonesia – 261.5 million population. $10,385 (PPP – purchasing power parity)  per capita income per family.
  • Thailand – 68.27 million population, $15,345 PPP
  • Malaysia – 30.88 million population, $25,308 PPP
  • Philippines – 102.57 million population, $6,925 PPP
  • Singapore – 5.73 million population, $80,191 PPP
  • Vietnam – 94.68 million, $5,668 PPP
  • Myanmar – 54.40 million, $1,324 PPP
  • Laos – 6.93 million, $5,341 PPP
  • Cambodia – 15.87 million, $3,278 PPP
  • Brunei – 7.45 million, $66,647 PPP

USHBC is targeting this fast growing region for market development activities.   Note than currently most action has been in Singapore, but note that quite a bit of product landed in Singapore ends up in places like Malaysia and Thailand.

The Philippines

Was once an economic powers in the 60s and since have fallen.  The country is on the rise again and Filipino food companies are operating all over the region.  We even have Filipino fast food outlets on the West Coast such as Jollybee, Chow King and Seafood city Much of the Philippine food business is controlled by old-time Chinese-Filipino families.   Filipinos love good food, and are familiar with blueberries from the past contact with US military bases and the huge diaspora of Filipinos in the USA.   Every Time I have flown to the Philippines I marvel at all of the “Balikbayan” boxes (repatriate box) with blueberries!  In September, USHBC will conduct a trade mission to Manila to assess market channels and size.  We will meet with importers and food processors.  In the next year we will also work with the Filipino Chinese Bakers Association on trade shows and bakery seminars.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Vietnam

Our former war enemy in the 60s and early 70s is still a Communist dictatorship, hard working and clever businessmen and women.   They love good food and have a blueberry tradition from the former US and French times.   Vietnam has a booming food industry in dairy, baking, snacks.   Already we are seeing real blueberry containing products made from frozen blueberries and local sugar.   Vietnamese consider blueberries to be a beauty ingredient and you will see cosmetics, “beauty beverages” and all sorts of innovative uses for blueberries.  Currently, USHBC and NABC are working with the Vietnamese government through USDA-APHIS to obtain market access for USA fresh blueberries.


Is the smallest (by territory) and most advanced economic power in the region.  PEr capita income is on par with western countries.   It is hub of high tech, banking and regional food industries.   Singapore has a huge expat community of Europeans, Americans and Japanese who rely on western style grocery chains such as Cold Storage to serve up their fresh blueberries.   Although a huge amount (amount) of fresh blueberries go into Singapore — a lot travel further into neighboring countries lke Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.


Is a former British Colony and attached to Singapore.   Malaysia is a Muslim country with a strong tradition for good food.   Many of Malaysia’s food businesses are operated by Malaysian Chinese families and they  also  operate regionally with plants all over the region.  Modern Malaysian grocery stores feature blueberries in the produce section year round.  Dried blueberries are also gaining popularity especially during the Ramadan (fasting months).   Shippers into Malaysia may need to be aware of Halal certification requirements.


Is one of the largest countries on earth with more than 200 million population spread out (end-to-end)  over an area larger than the USA (coast to coast).  It contains more than 18,000 Islands.   Fresh blueberries are available in most big cities such as Jakarta, Surubaya and Bali year round and with more demand we will see more.   Indonesia has a massive food industry with more than 15,000 companies stretched all over the country.  Indonesia food processing includes all of the local produced commodities such as palm oil, sugar and others.   But, the country has also developed a rising medium and small business food industry for candy, snacks, dairy and beverages.  Most food companies are owned by Chinese and East Indian families.   We are currently conducting research on the Indonesian market and will report soon on potential in this vast land!


Has been experiencing blueberries for the past decade as some of the most popular flavors of ice cream are blueberry.   Thai people love blueberry and now if we can only get real blueberries into some of the products identified as blueberry!    Fresh blueberries are available year round in the modern supermarkets of the major cities.   Thai food processing companies are quick to integrate processed blueberries into value added products such as baked goods, candy and even cosmetics and pet foods.

Other countries —  such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are quite undeveloped compared to the rest.  But, they also are considered some of the regional countries with the most potential.  They are huge commodity producing countries with vast natural resources.    Food industries from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are setting up operations in places like Cambodia where they can benefit from lower cost labor and ample energy and raw materials.  Brunei is a super rich oil producing country run by the Sultan of Brunei.  Some of the leading food companies in the region are owned by the country’s leader.


While the focus of our USHBC activities will remain on the mega markets of Brazil, China, India and China and core markets like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — we will also approach the emerging markets of the ASEAN.

Chinese Bakery Recipes at Ichido

Here is one of the nine bakery formulas developed by the Ichido Bakery in China.  These items are now on the shelves of the store’s 80 outlets throughout China.