Blueberry “Bubble” Beverages in Vietnam

Bubble Tea is one of the most popular beverages all over Southeast Asia. The concept: bubble shaped orbs made from tapioca starch are served in cold tea beverages. You suck up the bubbles with the big straw. Why not replace the tapioca balls with blueberry?  With inspiration from Hana our FoodTech in Vietnam and frozen blueberries from a local foodservice supplier (TMT) –we have it!   Cheese and Coffee, a local chain with outlets all over Vietnam launched its new blueberry bubble beverages with a splash! Word is: “take a number” as the crowds are lined up to try!

Congratulations to Team Blueberry in Vietnam including Hana and her friernds from Cheese and coffee and TMT! The company has already increased its imports of frozen blueberry containers this year to fill the demand of this beverage concept!!!  Next, we will take this concept to Myanmar, then Philippines where we believe this will also be a big hit!


Ghee meets Blueberry in India

The blueberry guy thought he had seen it all, until this innovative product from India was launched in October 2019. Ghee is a butter oil that is used in almost all Indian cooking. Every household maintains a supply. As the product name implies – a blueberry puree of about ten percent is mixed to give it color and flavor. The result is a ready-to-use blueberry ingredient in traditional Indian confectionery and sauces and yes — even curries. Now we have a new way to get the taste of blueberry into the diet of 1.3 billion population India!


Mumbai Bakery Workshop

If you happen to be shopping at the Food Hall in Mumbai, Friday December 6– stop by to see Chef Shorya Kapoor demonstrate baking concepts using dried and frozen blueberries. Thanks to the USDA-FAS office in Mumbai for organizing.  Bakers from throughout Maharastra will attend.  USA Blueberries are available at the cash-and-carry  foodservice section of Food  Hall which is a leading retailer in India.  They are a trendsetter in the food business and have been promoting blueberries alongside USHBC for the past five years!

Besides being a bakery master, with training at the American Institute of Baking (AIB) in Manhattan, Kansas and work in South Korea — Shorya teaches AITBM Bakery Institute in Greater Noida.   He is also son of the ever-popular Raj Kapoor!  Shorya includes blueberries dozens of workshops throughout the year.

Here are a few of the items he will demonstrate!

Bakers can make their own fresh fillings with frozen blueberries and get the bluebery content above 50%.

Shorya shows how to create a fancy birthday cake with blueberry drcoraton. Cakes for birthday are a new concept. With a population of 1.3 billion — everyone has a birthday once a year! Blueberries make it special.

 


Dried Blueberry Sales to the Middle East

Meet your new blueberry customers. Blueberries were unknown before we started participating in the yearly Gulfood Exposition in Dubai. Fresh blueberry sales to Dubai in 2015 then zoomed to  $1.7 million shipped in 2018. We have always thought that the dried blueberry would appeal to the Gulf States. In 2019, shipments of highbush dried blueberries to the region have soared to more than $2 million USD.  (Kuwait = $1.8 million; Qatar = $552,000 USD; Saudi Arabia = $445,000 USD). This is mainly going to regional grocery chains with ties to India where the dried blueberry trend has also risen.

 

Check out the data at: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/fruit-and-tree-nut-data/data-by-commodity/

 

 


Good Morning Myanmar!

It all started with a chance meeting with Myanmar visitors to a Food Expo in New Orelans. Twenty importers and bakers were in tow. We took them to Mississippi to see blueberries and experience real southern hospitality. The importers returned and started importing. Now the lead baker from Myanmar follows with the roll out of a new blueberry cream roll. Keep an eye on Myanmar!


November 2019 Blueberry Innovations

7-11, the convenience store giant repackaged the popular mini-muffin product with a statement: “made with real blueberries!”

Companies continue to re-formulate jams and preserves to include more bluenberry!

 

This ultra-premium jam product from Japan touted optimal blueberry content on the label.

Here is a launch of blueberry mini muffins in Spain. Although muffins are traditional and popular in the USA — it is a new concept in Europe.

 

Blueberry Guy has been talking about the “beauty-from-within” concept in foreign markets. Here is an innovative American product with a combination of ingredients associated with beauty such as collagen and blueberries.

 

Blueberry juice is an important ingredient in this Antioxidant beverage from France.

 

Here is a great new beauty-from-within bar with blueberries from Israel.

 

Greek yogurt beverages are on the rise. This product from Yi Li, a leading manufacturer contains “imported blueberry puree!” This means USA!

This is one of the strangest items I have ever seen. From Ireland we have a sock which is infused with black charcoal and blueberry essence.

 


In Search of Blueberry Beer

Where can you get a good blueberry beer? This is one of the most asked questions that the Blueberry Guy fields. Recently, I met a graduate student at Texas Women’s University who had all of the answers. This sensory study looked at a whole range of fruit flavored beers. The study investigated — what do beer drinkers have to say about fruit flavored beers. The chart is difficult to read — but from what I understand–berry flavors are appreciated as a refreshing brew. We havea ways to go to be on top of the berry brews, but at least we are on the charts. I will try to get some of the really great blueberry beers to the investigator. Go Blueberry Beer!


Gifting For Tet (Vietnamese New Year)

Now that the ultra-successful fresh blueberry campaign is complete–time to keep the blueberry momentum going. TMT Trading, which was a pioneer in bringing frozen blueberries to Vietnam, has now launched a new dried blueberry line!   Just in time for Tet — the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. This is the most important time for Vietnamese to return to their home town or village. Dried blueberries are the perfect gift!


Blueberry Flavors

Check out this beautiful blueberry booth at a recent FoodTech expo! This company produces real blueberry flavors extracted from blueberries and they are used in natural cosmetics and foods.


On the Road to Frisco Texas

It’s November — time to visit the food industry in Texas. Welcome to Frisco!

This is the annual meeting of the Longhorn Chapter of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).  Food Technologists are the behind-the-scenes heroes who work tirelessly to develop new products and improve old ones.

Who attends:

  1. Ingredient suppliers.  USHBC has been active in the organization for decades and this is where we present ingredient use.  Check out the products on display — all using new blueberry ingredients such as dried blueberries, powders and flakes.   These products are a show stopper!
  2. Local Sellers.   This is a great time to walk the show and meet one on one with companies who sell ingredients to the regional food industry.  These are the front-line troops and they are continually in contact with companies like Bimbo, PepsiCo and others.  They appreciate that we visit and usually walk off with stacks of technical brochures, new product examples and knowledge.
  3. Local food Processors. These food technologists get out of the lab to attend the conferences, meet resources like USHBC and see technical papers presented by local universities.
  4. Food Tech Students!  It is so wonderful to meet the future blueberry users!   They are so full of energy and inquiry.

 


Semper Fi in Saigon

November 10 is a special day for United States Marines all over the world. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is no exception. USHBC was a participant in this year’s big event to honor Marines, past and present– especially the local Security Guard Detachment.

Hana and colleagues from USDA and local trade.

Special gifts for attendees. You never know when these will come in handy.

 


Myanmar Food Tech

Welcome to FoodTech Myanmar. This was the first food processing exposition in Myanmar and blueberries were the talk of the show!

 

Food processors, importers and distributors had heard of the big success in Vietnam and were excited to see USA blueberries in Yangon.

 

The USHBC booth was the talk of the show and visitors came from far away to connect! Frozen blueberries are used for smothies and bakery items. Dried blueberries are also interesting for the snack sector. What a show!


“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.