Fruit Trends at Foodex Japan 2005

 

One of the most noticeable trends in fruit usage from Asian countries was a mix of fruit and honey. Often, the peel of Yuzu, (Citrus junos), is used as a traditional Korean tea as well as in classic Japanese cuisine. Taiwan and China have also developed products that revolve around yuzu. Peel mixed with honey, traditional jams & jellies and specialized products such as yoghurt sauce were being offered by a number of companies from different countries.  The idea of fruit tea has also been expanded. In the past, essence or dry fruit has been included in classic tea bags or bulk dry tea but this year jarred sauces with instructions to simply pour hot water over a teaspoon or two of the honey and fruit is all you need.

This tea is not limited to yuzu and the mixes of fruit and honey also include jam, syrups and sauces in a wide variety of fruit. Longon tea was being offered in a number of exhibits from China and Taiwan. Special fruit syrups were shown that are packaged as yoghurt additives.

 

There is also a growing interest in dried and frozen fruit, both common and exotic.

Selections of dried fruit, both in decorative gift packaging and for individual consumers were shown in many countries sections. Not limited to Asia, European countries also offered varieties from both natural and machine dried fruit.

Frozen fruit marketing has also increased with Southeast Asian countries offering this in addition to their popular freeze dried fruit. Serbia offered fresh frozen wild berries or all types.

 

Related to fruit, as far as marketers are concerned, was usage of rose hips and rose essence.

A few different countries offered juices, teas and jams from the rose.

 

Mexico had one of the largest displays, eclipsing that of the U.S. Their offers of fresh fruit including lady finger bananas and chico sapodilla as well as more common fruit. 

 

Talking to representatives from both industry and government revealed how fearful of competition some are. The Mexicans are worried about competition from Chile while the Thais are worried about Mexico and Taiwan and everyone seems worried about China, except the Koreans who keep developing different products based on the fruit. These products are inline with their traditions. Kim chee with kumquat for example, which was also independently developed by one of our culinary students in Kona. Mexico also marketed their free trade opportunities as well as their products.

 

The Malaysian contingent offered a number of sugar free jams and jellies made with sorbitol. These are being private labeled and sold for $1. for a 5 oz. jar.

 

The Philippines had a much smaller contingent than in previous years had one interesting offering, fruit powders. These included their ever-popular calamonsie as well as bilimbi, coconut and others. The powders can be used in fruit processing or simply mixed for juice or cooking.

 

Noni juice was being shown at a number of countries where it¹s grown.

 

Brazils unique contribution to the show was guava ketchup called ³Guatchup²as well as other guava offerings including concentrated pulp, guava flour, refined whole guava pulp and juice.  Brazil is also revitalizing their cashew nut industry with marketing programs for both fresh cashew and cashew oils extracted from the nuts. I could not find out about usage of the apple itself.

 

South Africa actively promoted their dried fruit and frozen avocado purees as well as various spice levels of frozen guacamole. Frozen mango packaged for both consumer as well as food service.

 

Both Greece and Turkey offered a number of dried fig varieties as well as dried apricots and golden raisins. Their brochures and offerings being of far better quality than previous years. This is also true of their fruit juice offerings.

 

Perhaps one of the best tasting products I sampled were small Iranian figs coated in either white chocolate or milk chocolate. These are now being packaged in 90-gram bags for convenience stores and sold in the candy section. Iran also offered a variety of purees and concentrates, pomegranate being especially popular.

 

In addition to the usual mango offerings, India also offered a number of types of honey mixed with fruit. Bottled honey passion fruit drink was excellent.

 

Bulgaria offered various types of frozen berries and an excellent rose juice.

 

What I saw as the best of the American offers were the high desert jams from Durango Co.

Their unusual combinations like peach vanilla bean conserve and apricot amaretto conserve for example.  Wild blueberry products from Waymans in Maine and Canada also deserve mention.

 

The Hawaiian papaya booth by Mitsubishi (Diamond Star) was well put together. Two Hawaiian coffee companies were also represented in the American pavilion.

 

Overall the show is a fascinating introduction to the similarities as well as differences in worldwide cuisine, packaging and marketing. The 30,000+ daily visitors enjoy a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. There is much there to learn and many of what is seen could be applied to product development, packaging and marketing in Hawaii.

 

 

 

Ken Love