Canada: BC blueberry industry eyes bigger share of Japanese market
Canada's British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC) has said it will once again be exhibiting at Japan's premier food and beverage trade show next month in recognition of the importance of the market.
The Foodex trade fair will be held from March 7-10 in the capital, Tokyo, and attracts influential buyers from across Japan and other Asian markets.
"Japan has long been a very important export market for BC blueberries," BC Blueberry Council executive director Debbie Etsell said.
"It's a very discerning market, and the high quality of our fruit is well respected in Japan, both fresh berries in the summer, and frozen and processed formats throughout the year."
In 2016, British Columbia's 800 blueberry growers produced 77,000 metric tons (MT).
Approximately half of each season's yield is exported to markets outside of Canada, making blueberries the country's most exported fruit.
To celebrate this and share Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations at Foodex, representatives of the BCBC will be serving up samples of Blueberry Ginger Pancakes with Maple Syrup - a quintessentially Canadian treat.
As in past years, the council will be exhibiting at Foodex as part of the AgriFood Canada pavilion. The show attracts 77,000 buyers from food service, distribution, and trading companies, with around 3,320 companies exhibiting at the event.
"This is the seventh year that the BC Blueberry Council has attended Foodex, and it's a very important opportunity for us to reconnect with some of the contacts we have made over the years," says Etsell.
"We're looking forward to seeing some of the familiar faces from past shows, as well as building some new relationships and connecting them with suppliers that can fulfil their requests, whether they're looking for blueberries in fresh, frozen, dried, powdered, juice or puréed formats."
The BCBC works closely with government trade offices at both a provincial and federal level, making the most of the opportunities to take part in trade missions, delegations and shows such as Foodex. Other international missions planned for 2017 include Gulfood in Dubai, and Seoul Food & Hotel in Korea.