Japan – Convenience Store Blueberry Packs

Last year we showed the small 125 gram (4.4 ounces)  frozen blueberry packs sold in convenience stores in Japan.  Now, here is the 77.5 gram (2.7 ounces)  I watched as office workers purchased the dried packs to snack on at the desk.   Blueberries are still associated with good eyesight and eyestrain relief.  Now it is interesting to see young lady office workers snapping up the dried blueberries which are more and more associated with beauty and skin care.


Japan has always been a fresh and frozen market for blueberries.  Now take a look at the rise in dried highbush blueberries from the USA!

Source: US Customs. – US Blueberries only.

Here is the deal:

  • 1,481,000 kg of dried blueberries exported from the USA to Japan in 2016.
  • This converts to 3.26 million lbs.
  • Multiply this by the 3.5 lbs needed to make one lb. of dried blueberries = 8.15 million lbs of blueberries utilized!

Demand determinants:

Beauty – Confectionery and Totally new products are leading the way in 2017!

Beauty.   Grocery and convenience stores market dried blueberries in health and beauty sections along side slimming and products with health and beauty association.  (Beauty from Within)

Blueberries for skin care and beauty.

Asahi is one of the leading food and beverage companies in Japan and now have designed products with blueberries as a ingredient along with other beauty-identified ingredients.

Confectionery.  On the food industry side, Japanese companies are integrating dried blueberries into confectionery (panned blueberries) ice creams and traditional Japanese confectionery (wagashi).

Dried blueberries are integrated into cheese cake bar called “mazuko.”

New Categories!

Take a walk in any park in Tokyo and you will understand why quality natural pet foods are the rage. Pampered little-white dogs are everywhere. Watch this category!

Hong Kong Loves Dried Blueberries

Hong Kong has always been a great market for fresh US blueberries.  Now, Hong-Kongers are turned on to dried blueberries.  Check out the recent dried blueberry promotion at Manning’s — a large variety store chain.   Now — that’s a lot of blueberries being sold in a drug store!

Loads of dried blueberries are promoted at hundreds of Mannings stores throughout South China and Hong Kong.

Mannings operates stores all over South China, Macau and Malaysia.

Stores operate as health and beauty advisors.

More and more stores are featuring dried blueberries including grocery stores, pharmacies and even traditional Chinese medicine stores.  USHBC HK rep Heidi Chui is always on the lookout for promotions and works with manufacturers and importers alike.

Hong Kong consumers are turning to dried blueberries as a snack and gifting item during festivals.   Some may end up in Mainland China but a lot is staying in the territory of 7.3 million.  In 2016 1,4 million kg were shipped to Hong Kong.  That’s 3.2 million lbs.  When you factor that it takes 3.5 lbs of frozen blueberries to create each lb of dried blueberries — this brings the HK total to: 8 million lbs of US blueberries flowing to HK in this channel!

Demand Determinants:

  • Hong Kongers love fresh-fresh blueberries and this is the next best thing.
  • Dried blueberries are associated with beauty and skin care and are often sold in pharmacies near imported cosmetics and skin care products.
  • Dried blueberries are becoming a “gifting” staple for the many Cantonese festivals where gift exchange is custom.  (Moon Festival, Spring Festival, Sweeping day etc.)

Japan Blueberry Associaton Booth at IFIA

We had a nice visit with the Japan Blueberry Association.  They do great work to raise awareness of the health benefits of blueberries.

The booth always includes live blueberry plants which are a big draw.
This map shows the chronology of blueberry production in Japan.
History and tradition are very important to the Japanese blueberry growers. This chart shows some of the important promotional activities in the early 1990s.
Japanese growers are proud to be part of the global blueberry family.
You do not need a translation to understand the Association's infographics on health benefits of blueberries.
No bar chart, but these stars indicate blueberry health benefits compared to other fruits.
This is my favorite chart which appears to indicate a link between blueberries and accurate free throw shooting by basketball players. I think!

Images of IFIA

Here is a collection of images from various booths at the IFIA exposition.   Beauty seems to be the next big thing!


IFIA Action

Japan has become a rising market for further processed blueberries such as dried, powder and juice.

Here are some action shots from the USHBC booth at the Food Tech Exposition in Tokyo.


Fresh Blueberries in Florida Schools

Check out the creative use of fresh blueberries in a Fort Myers, Florida school!


Japan Food Tech Exposition

USHBC returns to the premiere food tech exposition in Japan – International Food Ingredients and Additives — also known as IFIA.  (May 24-26, 2017 at Tokyo Big Site)  This is a show similar to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) back in the USA.   Exhibitors are “ingredient solution” suppliers such as powders, purees, liquids and concentrates.  The attendees are some of the leading food manufacturing companies from Japan and all over Asia.


Welcome to the largest ingredient exhibition in Japan!

Beauty Emphasis

Beauty is everywhere! Manufacturers of other beauty related ingredients surround USHBC.

All systems go! Ready for the show!

Beauty from Within – Japan

This product says it all —  Beauty & Healthy.

The product is sold in convenience stores throughout Japan and includes beauty-associated ingredients like collagen.

The blueberry beauty craze has spread all over Asia.  Note the number of new blueberry-containing beauty products in the Philippines.  The concept– blueberry extract on the ingredient statement and lots of blueberry identity on the package!


2017 Highlights

Here is a popular product from China that associates beauty and eye care.
This Nivea lip butter is sold throughout the region
Shower Gel from Marks & Spencer sold in the Philippines.

USHBC exhibits at SIAL China

What a difference a year makes.

USHBC exhibited at the SIAL China exposition in Shanghai and found a blueberry hungry food industry.

  • Dried blueberries are the market star with sugar infused product sold in stores and online malls as well as through the huge dried fruit trade.
  • Dairy customers lined up to talk purees, puree concentrates and juice.
  • China is a fruit juice consuming country and consumers love 100 percent blueberry juice made from concentrate.
  • Frozen blueberries are demand mainly for production of sauces and fillings.  These products are essential for further ingredient use in baking, snacks and confectionery.

Here are some action shots at the Sial China!

Blueberry Sauces Debut at Seoulfoods

Koreans love spicy foods.  Now, USHBC presents a whole line of savory blueberry sauces at the recent Seoulfoods Exhibition which was held May 16-19, 2017 in Ilsan.

Our in-country food technologist Sunyong Lee wowed the food industry visitors with a collection of barbeque sauces, chili sauces, blueberry ketchups and others.  The star of the show was pickled blueberries — a real hit!

Here is a photo of booth action with Sunyong meeting the attendees and talking blueberries.

Big Berries in Korea

A visitor to our booth at the recent Seoul Foods show in Korea flashed the following photo of her favorite blueberry.  They like ’em big in the land of the morning calm.

Taipei Bakery Show

Taiwan has been a wonderful fresh market for fresh US blueberries for the past two decades with lots of fresh and foodservice promotions.   Now, the processed blueberry side is on the rise.

Blueberry Mandy visited the recent Taipei International Bakery Show and met with suppliers and bakers.



Blueberries were everywhere!

Mega-Market Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Welcome to Mega-Market Ho Chi Minh City, a Thai owned company which was formerly Metro Cash and Carry.   This is the large western goods store where small markets, restaurants and foodservice come to for supply!


The former Saigon is a river city and Mega Market is located in a new suburban area near a big “dragon” bend in the river!  Very good luck!

Here Pham The Hoang Vy, (middle) Category Manager for MM Megamarket (Vietnam) Limited greets US visitors.   On the left is Gerald Smith, Senior Attaché at the US Consulate, Ho Chi Minh City.   (I cannot imagine how he could spend the entire week in suit and tie).

First a look at the dry goods.

This regional dried fruit brand is popular throughout Southeast Asia.

Vietnamese love fresh juices and these new products are imported including blueberry.

Vietnamese love milk and especially sweetened beverages such as Vietnamese coffee which is primarily sweetened and condensed milk.

In the extreme heat of Vietnam, ice creams and frozen yogurts are a relief.

This product says it all about Vietnamese perception of blueberries. This Vietnamese produced yogurt and accompanying beverage contains ingredients associated with beauty and skin care. (collagen, lutein and blueberries) This is: Beauty-from-within at its best!”

Frozen bulk foods are popular with foodservice. These mega-packs of frozen berries are from China and are used in hotels, coffee shops and restaurants for making smoothies.

Here is the modern Produce department. 
Pretty quiet compared to the hustle of the traditional Vietnamese wet market!

Modern produce sections are a new concept in Vietnam. Note — it has been a very good year for watermelons!

Here is the chilled produce section for berries! These fresh strawberries are from the highlands of Dalat which is the coolest place in Vietnam. (which is relative as the entire country is steamy this time of year!)

Imported strawberries from South Korea are a real luxury and sold at high prices. Note the special displays made from the shipping materials.

You knew this one was coming… Even in the off season you cannot escape the pungent aroma of durian fruit which is a big favorite with Vietnamese and long-time residents.

Check out the Australian fruit promotion. Australia has a sterling reputation with fruit buyers have been in the market for years.

Now for a quick exit from the  store and a dash back top the exposition center!  Check out the taxicab.

Pretty much a recipe for success in Vietnam:

1. Beauty
2. Imported — especially from South Korea where beauty is boundless.
3. Healthy – kim chee, ginsing and other recognized substances fit the food-as-medicine culture of Vietnam.
Now, bring on the blueberries!