The rising national health consciousness, the rise of new consumer groups and the new consumption wave are driving Chinese blueberry consumption upward. According to the data of Wisdom Research Consulting, between 2014 and 2019, China’s blueberry consumption has grown from 30,700 tons fluctuating to 230,700 tons, an increase of 6.51 times. Among them, fresh consumption fluctuates from 26,300 tons to 192,900 tons, an increase of 6.34 times; deep processing consumption fluctuates from 0.45 million tons to 37,800 tons, an increase of 7.5 times. According to domestic and foreign blueberry industry forecast, China’s annual demand for blueberries is about 1 million tons, the future market has an extremely broad space for development.
In view of the huge development potential of China’s blueberry market, U.S. blueberries and international fruit and vegetable report recently held a U.S. processed blueberry product line promotion, to the domestic blueberry importers and food and beverage industry representatives introduced the basic situation of the U.S. blueberry industry, and invited Lucinda Salinas, senior director of business development of the top U.S. food development consulting company CuliNex explained the characteristics and applications of various processed blueberry products in the United States.
The U.S. is one of the world’s leading blueberry producers, with production areas mainly in the Pacific Northwest and the southeastern U.S. The season lasts from March through October. Half of the annual U.S. blueberry production is fresh blueberries, and the other half is used to process a variety of blueberry products.
The U.S. processed blueberries are mechanized for harvesting, which greatly reduces labor costs. Mature dehydration, freeze-drying, microwave drying, tumble drying and other processing technologies maximize the retention of the nutrition and flavor of blueberry fruit, while also achieving a stable supply throughout the year. Processed blueberry products are widely used in bakery, dairy drinks, frozen foods, snacks, emulsified meat products, etc. The export volume of U.S. processed blueberry products to China has increased threefold since 2020.
According to Lucinda Salinas, U.S. processed blueberry products include frozen blueberries, dried blueberries, freeze-dried blueberries, blueberry juice, blueberry puree, blueberry jam, fruit powder, blueberry flavoring. Different processing technologies have different effects on the fruit flavor, dietary fiber content and sweetness of blueberries, so different processed blueberry products are suitable for the development of different types of products.
Lucinda Salinas compared different processed blueberry products with oat milk for solubility, color, fruit flavor, sweetness, and taste, and suggested product development accordingly. For example, dried blueberries are suitable as an ingredient ingredient to add sweetness and chewiness in baked products, sauces, snacks and emulsified meat products (meatballs and meat sausages). However, freeze-dried and microwave-dried dried blueberries are lower in sugar, crunchier, more fruity, and chewier when rehydrated than syrup/juice macerated dried blueberries, and work better with cereal. Blueberry juice and puree can be added to sauces, marinades, liquids or beverages as a thickening agent and to add color and flavor to beverages. However, blueberry puree retains more fiber, has a thicker texture, and has a lighter fruit flavor, and is less likely to dissolve than fruit juice, which is a better choice when paired with dairy products.
The current “Generation Z” has become the new main force of high-quality fruit consumption, blueberries, strawberries, cherries and other high value fruit with the help of social media has become the new Netflix. The competitive “new tea and beverage” industry is also trying to improve the value and sense of value with the help of fruit to capture the young consumer groups. The popular berries have been sought after by the head of the new tea beverage brands, and the blueberry drinks with both value and taste are the best-selling models of brands such as Xi Cha, Nai Xue’s Tea and Honey Snow Ice City. Blueberry value, nutritional value and taste are excellent, blueberry fresh fruit and its processed products with other fruits, will collide with more inspiration spark. The stable year-round supply of processed blueberry products from the United States may provide more possibilities for product innovation and development of new tea brands.
Source: International Fruit & Vegetable Report
Post time: Jan-31-2023