U.S. Cranberries, Encouraged by Export Sales and Growing Consumer Awareness, Make a Crimson Splash in Asia

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Aimed at further expanding awareness, culinary applications, and sales of U.S. cranberries in Asia, representatives of the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee participated in a series of back-to-back promotional activities that spanned Beijing and Shanghai, China.

"Cranberries [are] a near perfect match of a new and interesting product with the issues of greatest importance to Chinese consumers today." - Ralph Bean, Direct of the USDA Agricultural Trade Office, Beijing

An interactive cranberry baking seminar and media workshop kicked off the “Crimson Splash in Asia” tour. Special guest Ralph Bean, Director of the USDA Agricultural Trade Office, Beijing, delivered opening remarks to more than 70 participants, including 20 media from trade, general, lifestyle, business and online, and more than 40 industry representatives present at the Hilton Beijing Hotel.

“Initial efforts have been immensely successful, with cranberry exports to China jumping by 86% in just the last year. Chinese consumers have a long tradition associating food with health benefits, and the benefits of eating cranberries are well supported by research. This makes cranberries a near perfect match of a new and interesting product with the issues of greatest importance to Chinese consumers today,” said Ralph Bean.

Scott J. Soares, who joined the Cranberry Marketing Committee as Executive Director in 2012, gave an overview of U.S. cranberries, including details about the industry, its history and the special berry that it produces. “We believe that our ongoing efforts to educate Chinese consumers about the culinary versatility and unique health characteristics of North America’s native cranberry is having a direct and positive impact on trade opportunities for our U.S. cranberries,” said Mr. Soares.

As part of the day’s event, a presentation on the many health benefits of U.S. cranberries was delivered by Dr. Amy B. Howell. A Rutgers University research scientist with more than 20 years of experience studying cranberry health effects, Dr. Howell is co-author of a recent international study by global experts in cranberry and health science that was published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

“Cranberries are a source of unique phenolic compounds that may help to maintain urinary tract and stomach health. Emerging research suggests that consuming cranberry products may provide additional benefits as well,” said Dr. Howell.

Workshop partakers were invited to a distinctive lunch composed entirely of foods and beverages incorporating U.S. cranberry products. Following lunch, participants were treated to a cooking demonstration by Michael D. Rosenblum, Executive Chef to the U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke. Five recipes were unveiled showcasing the fruit’s versatility to the more than twenty local chefs, bakery chains, and retailers in attendance.

“It was a well-organized workshop, and I am quite impressed by the increasing presence of U.S. cranberries in the market. It is also good to know that U.S. cranberries have so many health benefits,” said Huang Ying from China Daily.

The CMC also participated in a tabletop show organized by the Agricultural Trade Office, Beijing in which outreach was made to the over 100 retailers, e-commerce companies, and foodservice operators.

No sooner had the Beijing event wrapped up, CMC was on its way to Shanghai as first-time exhibitor at the 2013 Food and Hotel China (FHC) show held November 13-15. In its seventeenth year, the FHC is among the premier food trade shows in China. This year a total of 1,820 companies from 70 countries and regions participated at FHC China 2013 to meet with a record 33,839 trade visitors during the three-day show. Many visitors who visited the U.S. cranberry booth said they were aware of cranberries, but many indicated that they were unfamiliar with the various product forms and versatile culinary applications.

“Most important is creating more opportunity for consumers to experience cranberries and turn it into one of China’s preferred daily food choices,” Simon Lim, a distributor from PICA Manufacturing Solution (China) Co.

Said Emil J. Font, a regional manager from Good Life Company, “We had a great show. We booked a lot of new business and received considerable interest in our Wisconsin cranberries. It appears like U.S. cranberries are getting ready to explode in China.”

About The Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC)
The CMC was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962 to ensure a stable, orderly supply of good quality product. Authority for its actions are provided under Chapter IX, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, referred to as the Federal Cranberry Marketing Order, which is part of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. This Act specifies cranberries as a commodity that may be covered, regulations that may be issued, guidelines for administering the programs, and privileges and limitations granted by Congress. For more information about the CMC, visit uscranberries.com or follow @uscranberries and Cranberry Cravers on Facebook.

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Anna Waclawiczek
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Cranberry Cravers
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