The year 2000 marked the beginning of the USHBC market approach to Taiwan! This country of 23.4 million has always been a major trading partner to the USA. Our first visit found almost no awareness and use of blueberries. USHBC decided change things and began a full court press to bring Taiwan into the “Blue” country list!
Our first — USHBC we attended the Food Taipei conference, and soon after arrival the Island was rocked by a major earthquake which toppled many of the booths at the exposition center.
Blueberry booth remained standing and inspired us to push ahead to develop our first export market outside of USHBC implemented activities to raise awareness, interest in blueberries. This included advertising in women’s magazines titles the “Blue Gem.” We worked on fresh promotions with major chains, food service and institutions such as schools and the Taiwan armed forces. Our in-country representative Millie Hsia known in the trade as. “Blueberry Millie” worked tirelessly to educate the trade and gained international attention with a special award of merit from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Most initial activities focused on fresh blueberries. In store promotions were launched in July of each year to coincide with National Blueberry Month. Each year, more and more retailers increased their blueberry deals and soon fresh blueberries were available Island-wide. With each passing year, USHBC promotions were adjusted to align with early season blueberries in May and June. Peak season promotions were held in June and in 2005 food service promotions were held with major hotel chains and family style restaurants. Fresh blueberries were also was featured in television programs beamed all over the nation. This really kicked up the volume!
Beam ahead to 2016 — Taiwan is now the 5th leading market for fresh blueberries from the USA.
- 760,000 kg fresh highbush (about 1.7 million lbs)
- $2.1 million USD
NOTE: All shipments stay in Taiwan and are not re-exported to China or other markets!
What next? The Taiwan market continues to be an important fresh market for USAshippers. This will continue. USHBC has now focused activities on frozen blueberries for food industries as well as dried blueberries. Some of the leading food processing companies are now launching new blueberry products and more are in the works.
Thank you Taiwan — our tried and true market!