Blueberry Food Tech Megatrends

Throughout history, certain natural plant substances have been associated with beauty (smooth skin, shiny hair, strong nails). Asian food and beverage manufacturers blend ingredients such as collagen, lutein, antioxidants and other ingredients into foods to associate products with beauty. These include topicals and edible foods with beauty ingredient associations. Beauty yogurt from Vietnam (above) combines...

Throughout history, certain natural plant substances have been associated with beauty (smooth skin, shiny hair, strong nails). Asian food and beverage manufacturers blend ingredients such as collagen, lutein, antioxidants and other ingredients into foods to associate products with beauty. These include topicals and edible foods with beauty ingredient associations.

Beauty yogurt from Vietnam (above) combines collagen and blueberry.  The blueberry flavor masks the collagen flavor and the beautiful blueberries on the package attract. The latest beauty-food trend out of Asia is called “beauty in advance.”

Nothing Artificial

Two years ago, major multinational food processors pledged to remove artificial colors and flavors from product lines.  Blueberry puree or concentrate is used as a colorant; flakes and powders deliver a blueberry flavor punch!

“Superfruit”   

Food manufacturers such as Welch’s are using the term “superfruit” to describe foods with extraordinary nutrient density.  They also show “Real Fruit” on their packaging.

Ayurveda Medicine

Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. Ayurveda is also influencing food consumption and processing in India with ingredients such as berries fitting ayurvedic diets.  

Natural Cosmetics

Blueberry ingredients such as extracts, seed oils and powders have been used in Asian natural cosmetics for decades. The latest megatrend is the use of natural plant-based ingredients for topical use. Blueberry ingredient solutions used in natural cosmetics include: extracts, powders, purees and essences.  Manufacturers are looking for American origin of ingredients as an assurance of quality and food safety.

This blueberry facial mask (above) contains real blueberry extract!

Global Use of Blueberries

MINTEL Global New Products Database (GNPD) – Worldwide New Blueberry-Containing Products by Region are shown in the chart below.

>Jan-Jun 2019 new blueberry-containing product counts are on track to match Jan-Jun 2018. 

> 2012 growth peaked due to new Greek yogurt with blueberries entering the market. 

Worldwide Usage

North America has always been the home of blueberry product innovation. Increasingly, more products are launching in Europe and Asia.  Latin America is also on the rise!  In 2018 , MINTEL-GNPD listed new blueberry products developed in 60 countries worldwide (out of the 80 countries monitored).

Top Ten Blueberry New Product Countries 2018 

1. United States (602)

2. China (314)

3. Germany (290)

4. South Korea (246)

5. Japan (200)

6. United Kingdom (197)

7. Canada (195)

8. France (181)

9. Australia (164)

10. Italy (136)

International Developments

New blueberry product development is on the rise in developing countries.  Anusaya Fresh in Mumbai, India was the first to import frozen blueberries to India and the Gulf region.  They have expanded to dried and liquid formats. Anusaya includes the Real Blueberry Seal™ on their foodservice and consumer packs, which encourages their industrial customers to be aware of artificial blueberries which are now found on the market in the region.

Blueberries in the Food Industry  

When the highbush blueberry industry initially approached the food industry in 1988, we saw usage in only a few product categories. Now, blueberries in all forms are used in dozens of product categories and in countries around the world!

Ancient Grains

This megatrend refers to a group of grains and cereals that are considered to have been minimally changed over recent millennia. Plum Organics (above) mixes blueberries, chia and flaxseed in a breakfast bar. They also include ancient grain information and history on the pack.