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Joy Wing Mau Brings Peach-Flavored US Blueberries to Chinese Consumers
On Aug. 26, the U.S. blueberry sector and Joy Wing Mau Fruit Technologies Group jointly hosted a ceremony celebrating the 2023 debut of U.S. blueberries at a Tianjin branch of Wanjia City, a high-end supermarket chain store owned by China Resources Vanguard. Guests present at the event included Chris Frederick and Victoria Dokken, director and deputy director, respectively, of the Agricultural Trade Office at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing; Liu Wen, regional manager of modern sales channels for northern China at Joy Wing Mau; and Huang Xin and Zhang Di, general manager and head of marketing, respectively, for the Beijing and Tianjin regions at China Resources Vanguard.
This year marks the first time that Joy Wing Mau has imported fresh U.S. blueberries, with the fruit from the initial shipment hitting upscale supermarkets in early August. So far, approximately 1,140 cartons or 14,000 clamshells of U.S. blueberries have been delivered to China. Fresh blueberries from the United States first arrived in China in 2021 and, despite their limited visibility in the Chinese market, they have left a lasting impression on many Chinese consumers on account of their new cultivars and unique flavors.
During the ceremony, the newly available blueberries enticed numerous consumers to try them. Zhang noted that the blueberries had successfully passed several stages of food safety and quality checks conducted by China Resources Vanguard. Additionally, a test for pesticide residues was also included in the assessment process.
In an interview, Liu highlighted the innovative variety known as Peachy Blue, which is a mid-season cultivar only recently authorized for commercial cultivation. This variety boasts a crisp texture and plump flesh. What makes it really stand out, however, is its exceptional flavor, with the fruit carrying not only rich blueberry notes but also a hint of peach.
Regarding the market performance of blueberries in China, Liu stated, “Numerous consumers are adopting a more professional approach to fruit assessment, emphasizing nutritional indicators. This trend has led to the emergence of novel fruit types, with blueberries taking the lead as the second-largest segment in the berry industry after strawberries. The exceptional taste and texture of U.S. Peachy Blue blueberries align with the preferences of Chinese consumers, prompting Joy Wing Mau to introduce this new variety.”
The recent blueberries brought in by Joy Wing Mau originated from orchards located in the state of Oregon. The blueberry harvesting season there lasts from late June to September. In 2020, Oregon harvested approximately 68,000 metric tons of blueberries, representing nearly one-quarter of total U.S. production. Oregon’s blueberries are renowned for their exceptional quality and are exported to numerous countries, including France, Italy and Japan.
U.S. blueberries have already been available at Olé stores in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Haikou and Nanning, as well as at Wanjia City supermarkets in Tianjin and Hualian Supermarkets stores in Beijing. At present, the production of Peachy Blue blueberries is relatively low. With only a six-week supply window each year, this scarcity enhances the value of each individual berry.
According to data from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, the United States is projected to produce approximately 318,000 metric tons of blueberries this year, which would mark a five-year high. This also holds the potential to set a new record for exports to the Chinese market.
Images: Joy Wing Mau Fruit Technologies Group
This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.
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