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.

 


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!


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.

 


“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!


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.


Korean Polybag Gets Real!

Check out the redesign of the Wooyang blueberry polybag in South Korea! Wooyang identified their USA product with the Real Seal! Welcome to the club!

Wooyang is a loyal USA blueberry customer and appreciates the high-brix, soft skinned product from the USA.  They are one of the largest volume customers of USA blueberries in South Korea and good friends of our industry!  We look forward to see the Wooyang crew at the American Frozen Foods Institute AFFI) in Las Vegas in the Spring!


Fresh, Frozen, Dried Blueberries in Taichung

Welcome to “Fresh” Supermarket in Taichung, Taiwan (Central Region). The California Agriculture Export Council (CAEC) and the USDA-ATO in Taiwan organized this great retail promotion during September. Our Taiwan FoodTech organized blueberry products for the event including fresh, frozen and dried blueberries.  Check out those cool USA vests!

 

The whole concept brings together USA blueberries and blueberry products. Here is our friend Fred Klose from CAEC kicking off the event.  Check out the flashy point-of-sales materials directing customers to the blueberries and other USA fruits.

 

Here is the poster at point-of-sale. USA Blueberries were also included in the store flyer.

 

The store has an in house bakery and they produced blueberry products for the promotion.

Lots of media and press coverage!

Thanks to the California Agricultural Export Council for the opportunity to participate!

 


USA Blueberries a hit at Mexico FoodTech Summit!

USA Blueberries were the talk of the Mexico Food Tech Summit. Food processors from all over Latin America lined up to connect to blueberry ingredients.

This is a trade-only exposition.  Ingredient companies from all over the world came to the Mexico City event.

 

What’s Hot? Natural colors and flavors. Ingredients like dried blueberries, powders, puree and concentrates were in demand.

 

The Blueberry Guy held office at the booth and more than 200 really great contacts were made including companies looking for frozen blueberries.

 

Now it is time to get to work and follow up.   See you next year in Mexico City!