“Boots on the Ground” in Taiwan!

Mandy may not wear army boots, but she definitely is our “boots on the ground” in Taiwan. Being a local, she knows the trade well. When there is a opportunity for promotion with the local USDA office– she is ready.

 

The Republic of China (ROC). What makes it so special.
>Taiwan is an American friendly country.
>Taiwan was one of the first offshore markets to blossom. USHBC approached the island in in the 1990s and introduced fresh “Lan Mei!”
>Although small, Taiwan is an important trendsetter in “Greater China.”  This includes countries in Asia where “overseas Chinese” run the business. (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia).
>Taiwan has developed into one of our top markets — first for fresh blueberries and now processed.

 

Taiwan is a great market and has room to grow too! Ask any shipper– they will tell you that Taiwan is tricky due to some very restrictive Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

 

In the past four years, Mandy has received the panic call from blueberry partners who need help. All of us know you must keep the stores stocked. Mandy has worked with importers and stores to get fresh and frozen promotions running quickly. Above: See this winter promotion with smoothies for frozen blueberries!

 

Here is an example where Mandy arranged for a video by Doc Blueberry which was accessible on a QR code in supermarket chains. Consumers concerned about food safety got the straight scoop from Dr Wei Yang of Oregon State University.  Retailers loved it and started to stock up on blueberries!

 

Mandy keeps very busy. Each month she visits manufacturers and retailers.   She participates in events including trade shows, seminars and receptions. Mandy keeps close ties with the USDA-Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) at the American Institute in Taiwan and is the go-to person for any blueberry industry visitors who come to Taiwan.  Above: Mandy attends a USDA reception with the Vice President of the ROC attending.

 


“What’s Ap” with Raj Kapoor

This year I have spent a lot of time with our India/Middle East FoodTech Raj Kapoor. At trade shows, seminars, Indian dinners — he is continually on his mobile device typing away! The screen shot above is the “world of Raj Kapoor” where he is the center of the blueberry universe in India.   This is a continual stream of communications, contacts, questions and answers.

 

Here is the front line of Raj’s “blueberry legion.” They are all representatives of Indian companies who now regularly import, dried, frozen, liquid and other forms of blueberries to India. Raj hailed them to the Bakery Expo in Chennai where they worked the crowd and expanded their customer base. Each visitor to the USHBC booth was added to Raj’s What’s Ap list!

 

This year Raj had eleven partner companies at the Bakery Expo in Chennai. He is adding new blueberry companies daily and now moving into new regions.   Raj just keeps pecking away at his mobile device and USA blueberry usage continues to rise.

 

When we started work in India ten years ago, we had no contacts, no customers, no suppliers and little interest. We were told by prominent dried fruit and nut importers that dried blueberries were an impossible item in India. Raj’s contacts gave it a try, succeeded and disproved the skeptics. Look at the statistics taken from the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) Fruit and Treenut Statistics published on the web. Wow–over $1 million in US blueberries were shipped to India in 2018. Already in 2019 there have been almost $1 million in USA dried blueberry imports into India and this includes date up to August 2019!

The lesson learned — a combination of social media, food science and hard work makes the market move!  If you are on What’s Ap, send a message to Raj!  He is waiting!


Super Korean FoodTech In Action

You may ask — what is Sunyong Lee up to in Korea? Glad you asked: We challenged our Korean FoodTech  to find new uses for blueberries in the Korean market. He is off and running!  Above he meets with the director of a company called “Baby Yo.” The company produces home meal replacements (HMRs). Koreans rarely cook at home an rely on prepared items from stores and often convenience stores. They are always looking for new ideas and Sunyong has the answer: Blueberries!  BTW: That is Sunyong on the left!

 

Meat is King in Korea. Here Sunyong meets with the research director of Foodsmith a prepared meat producer. He loved the blueberry Bi-Bim Bap sauce conceopt developed by Sunyong.

Sunyong is an expert in dairy flavors and has worked all over Asia. In fact, he was the first to develop a blueberry novelty more than 30 years ago. Here he checks in at a leading dairy ingredient supplier who uses blueberry puree and puree concentrate.  We see lots of potential in this usage category!

Despite all consumer trends towards health and beauty — Koreans are still gobbling up donuts! Here Sunyong explains procedures for adding blueberry flakes and powders into this “American style” favorite!

 

What do young Koreans do after work! Chicken and beer is now the rage.  Sunyong tweaked his Bi Bim Bap sauce with some extra chili kick and it is a hit. Company name: ChiMcKing!

 

The nice thing about getting a food science degree from Seoul National University is that you always have fellow alumni to visit at the top companies. Here is a new friend from the top cosmetic company in Korea. (Arome Pacific)   Thanks to Sunyong’s connection –natural blueberry extract from the USA is now used in a variety of new and improved cosmetics for women and yes–men!  It takes around 35 kg of blueberry to make 1 kg of blueberry extract!

Above: As of October 15, 2019  we see new products developed in new categories such as sauces, meats and even natural cosmetics. Sunyong is making a difference!

 


USA Blueberries at ANUGA

ANUGA is the largest food exposition in the world. It runs every other year and held in Cologne, Germany. There are 13 halls all with two levels! USHBC has participated in ANUGA since 2000 and it is our opportunity connect with food professionals from throughout the world.

Wow! 170,000 visitors. According to the organizer, around 90 % are from outside of Germany!  USHBC made more than 250 great contacts and  we have been busy following up, answering questions and making connections.

 

Here is our booth! Kari, who is originally from Watsonville, California and lives in Cologne, has  helped us for the last ten ANUGAs. She is an expert at hunting down blueberry items at this huge exposition! Note the Vietnamese poster, which drew a lot of attention!

Here is a great example of blueberry product innovation from the United Kingdom Pavilion. The product includes a lot of blueberry in a sharp cheddar cheese!

 

Here is a new concept, dried fruit including blueberries with infused probiotics!  Attracted a lot of attention!

 

ANUGA is an excellent venue to tour the world food industry. I visited all of the six Russian pavilions!

 

What’s hot in Europe? Dried blueberries as snacks!  Love the mascots!

 

Despite a duty of more than 16%, sales of dried highbush blueberry exports to Europe continue to grow!  Note the statistics above are from the USDA ERS (Economic Research Service) Fruit and Treenuts Database which is available online.  ERS receives trade (import and export) data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.


Hana and Bell Excellent Adventure

Our route took us 690 miles, two states and six Vietnamese restaurants!  Hana, our Vietnam FoodTech helped tour Ms. Bell Dong from Dan On Foods (Vietnam) around the Pacific Northwest. They visited blueberry farms, a dried blueberry factory and attended the USHBC meeting in Richland, Washington! Dan On Foods is a customer of dried blueberries and produces snack foods in Vietnam which are distributed all over Southeast Asia and China!  Here they are in Seattle at Pho #6!

Pho Hung Restaurant in Portland was voted top Pho of all six restaurants sampled on the “Excellent Adventure.” Really authentic according to Hana and Bell

Just when you thought it was safe…
This rest stop photo in Central Washington  is sure to end up in Facebook posts all over Vietnam.

Welcome back Hana and Bell!