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USHBC Promoting Blueberries at Home and Abroad

Alison Sweeney, Little Blue Dynamo Campaign Spokesperson.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has hired Alison Sweeney, host of “The Biggest Loser," as its spokesperson for Little Blue Dynamo campaign that will soon be entering its third year.
Through the image campaign, the Council is hoping to generate more awareness of blueberries among women 25 to 45 years of age, said Mark Villata, executive director of the USHBC.

This is the second year that Sweeney has been serving as a USHBC spokesperson.

“She has been conducting media interviews, participating in press conferences and she met with growers at the USHBC meeting at the end of February at West Lake Village, (Calif.),” Villata said.

The meeting at West Lake Village included a panel discussion, cooking demonstration and interviews with media, Villata said.

The USHBC also continues to attend different bakery shows, international food technologists meetings and other events in an effort to bring blueberry concepts to food manufacturers, encourage them to increase their use of blueberries in their products and show them new ways to use blueberries.

Also, the USHBC hosted a blueberry boot camp April 11-13 on the Napa, Calif., campus of the Culinary Institute of America, where chefs from top restaurants and food-service cafeterias are given a two-and-one-half day immersion in blueberries.

“We show them different blueberry products,” Villata said. “They experiment with different menu items using blueberries. We give them presentations on the industry and background information on blueberries, including its seasonality and where they are grown.”

In the export realm, the USHBC is doing work primarily in the Asian markets, Villata said, including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China.

“Korea has a lot of potential on the frozen side, but we’re also supporting the fresh business, and hoping they’ll expand to allow more blueberries in from the U.S.,” Villata said. Currently, only Oregon is allowed to ship fresh blueberries to South Korea.

The USHBC also is working on expanding frozen sales in China, Villata said. “We have a representative there who travels to targeted manufacturers around China, brings them blueberry information and talks to them about product development with blueberries.”

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