Eat blueberries and strawberries three times per week

By | Blueberries, Health & Nutrition

A significant study links berry consumption with improved heart health. You can’t get the same benefit from a pill or supplement.

You won’t need a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down: eating more blueberries and strawberries may be a tasty way to protect your heart.

The finding comes from a new study led by Dr. Eric Rimm, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. “The sooner people start the type of diet that includes a higher intake of blueberries and strawberries, the better,” Dr. Rimm says.

Study findings

Dr. Rimm’s team gathered data from 93,600 women, who, at ages 25 to 42, signed up for the Nurses’ Health Study. Over the course of 18 years, they reported how often they ate various kinds of food. Why look at relatively young women? They’re a group at low risk of heart attack. Factors that increase this risk should be easier to tease out in this population than among older people with many heart attack risk factors. And risk factors seen in young women likely apply to older women and men.

And a risk factor did turn up: women who ate the fewest blueberries and strawberries were at increased risk of heart attack. Those who ate the most were 34% less likely to have suffered a heart attack than were women who ate the least of these fruits.

How much do you have to eat? There wasn’t much difference between women who ate just a few berries now and then and those who didn’t eat any at all. There seems to be a threshold effect—that is, one has to eat a minimum amount of berries to get heart benefits.

“The people with heart benefits had three or more servings of a half a cup of blueberries or strawberries each week,” Rimm says.

Berries good for everyone

The study focused on young and middle-aged women. But the findings likely apply to everyone, including men.

“If you do feeding studies where they feed people a specific diet for four weeks, the biology of what happens is similar in a 60- and a 25-year-old,” Dr. Rimm says. “So I don’t expect the benefit is much different for others.”

Why just blueberries and strawberries? These berries are particularly rich in chemical compounds called anthocyanins. Research suggests that anthocyanins have several effects on the body. They lower blood pressure, and they make blood vessels more elastic.

How to get enough berries into your diet

  • Don’t leave the produce aisle without berries in your shopping cart.
  • Start the day with berries in your yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, or smoothie.
  • Berries are great in green salads. Also consider adding sunflower seeds, walnuts, or garbanzo beans for added protein.
  • Blueberry pie and strawberry shortcake don’t count—too much fat and too much sugar. Consume berry-flavored desserts sparingly, and choose a dish of “naked” berries for dessert instead.

Anthocyanins: Best from food

Anthocyanins are a subset of a group of chemicals called flavonoids. The Rimm study suggests that anthocyanins are particularly heart-healthy—but Dr. Rimm is quick to point out that while his study proposes anthocyanins as dietary good guys, it’s not definitive.

“It is our underlying hypothesis that these foods are beneficial because they are high in anthocyanins, but whether it’s just this or some other substance in the blueberries and strawberries has yet to be proved,” he says.

You could go out tomorrow and buy anthocyanin supplements. Will they do you any good?

“That worries me because I am not sure that is the best way to do it,” Dr. Rimm says. “My fear is that taking an anthocyanin pill will not be same as eating three or four servings of blueberries. Given that you can get adequate amounts from eating a diet high in berries, I don’t see why you should take a pill. Stick to the food.”

Simple fruit smoothie

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, cup orange juice banana, cut into pieces, cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, cup ice.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into a glass and serve.

NUTRITION FACTS: Servings: 1. Serving size: 12 ounces. Calories 310. Protein (g) 21.7, Carbohydrate (g) 56.5, Fiber (g) 3.4, Fat (g) 0.6, Saturated fat (g) 0.1, Trans fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Sodium (mg) 87.

Source: Recipe from Harvard Special Health Report The Harvard Medical School 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating. Published: Jan 2013. Harvard Health Publications.

Originally published: July 2013 at

Peru: Blueberries led non-traditional exports in September

By | Blueberries, Exporting, Market Analysis, Peru Economy

The manager of Agricultural exports from Adex, Paula Carrion, stated that the months of September and October are key for agriculture exporters of blueberries, as this was a period where they could take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by the international market.

“The United States stops producing in this period and it has become the largest buyer, along with the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, and Germany,” she said.

As shown in the enclosed graph, blueberries led non-traditional exports in September and, according to Adex, they might also lead them in October.

“It is an atypical period, we are amidst the highest blueberry campaign and it will last until October, then it could decrease, but right now there is an upward trend,” she said.

There already are 27 companies involved in the production and export of blueberries, which is headed by Camposol (41 million dollars), Talsa (26 million dollars), and Hortifrut (18 million dollars), which together account for 90% of shipments.

Paula Carrion said Peru had a window of opportunity that benefited the agricultural export sector, as the production in the northern hemisphere stops during these months and the production from Chile and Argentina entered the markets after the Peruvian production. “We have two months in which we can clearly occupy these markets,” she said.

She also said that next week, at the APEC, the country would sign an agreement with China to export blueberries to that country, so export volumes are expected to continue increasing. The current FOB export price for blueberries is $9.2 dollars per kilo.

Publication date: 11/11/2016

Peruvian blueberries have advantage over Chilean

By | Blueberries, Farming Techniques, Market Analysis, Peru Economy

Peruvian blueberries have been on the UK market for a couple of weeks, first the berries came via airfreight and in the last ten days the seafreight started to arrive. The arrivals will continue until March.

The European market is short of blueberries after Poland had less volumes than was expected, according to some figures around 35-40% less, causing the Northern Hemisphere season came to an abrupt end. Argentina is also a bit late this year, which compounds the shortage.

Big increase in production
“The quality of the Peruvian fruit looks good,” explained Rob Cullum from Pacific Produce. “This will be our third year of importing blueberries and we are learning more about it each year. The first year was just a trial with only 2 containers shipped, this year we are expecting to do over 50 containers just to the UK, but the farm in Peru is producing 600+ containers which will be shipped around the world.”

The global demand for blueberries is still increasing, mature markets, such as North America and the UK, are still growing. “China and Asia are new markets for us, the Chileans have been there for a while and the demand is still growing. Western Europe is also growing where the UK is probably the most advanced market,” explains Rob.

The blueberry is an easy to eat, healthy product – it may be expensive in some markets just now but as consumption grows, so will production and then the price will reduce as people get more efficient at producing and shipping them. The blueberry also has the major advantage over other softfruit in that it can go via seafreight.

Although Chile is by far the biggest exporter of blueberries, Peru is growing fast and will be in the mix in the future and hopefully to be a key source.

Advantage over Chile
“Peru has the advantage, in that they can grow year round, meaning they can choose when to produce and seafrieght from very early in the Southern Hemisphere season, giving them an advantage over bigger players such as Chile and Argentina,” said Rob. “Peru can also go head to head with Chile in the main season. Chile have years of experience in exporting blueberries and are very good at it, but we will catch up. Another advantage is for customers to have one point of contact for the whole season, which can last 6 months.”

The first of Pacific Produce’s Peruvian grapes will arrive in the UK on Saturday. Only the first 5-6 weeks of supply will go to the UK and European markets, as Namibia come will online with lower prices, driven by a huge currency advantage compared to Peru.

For more information:

Robert Cullum
Pacific Produce
+44 (0) 1865877801

Peru targets even greater diversification of horticultural supply

By | Blueberries, Exporting, Farming Techniques, Market Analysis, Peru Economy

The Peruvian horticulture industry has set an ambitious target to significantly widen its export offer of high quality fresh, dried, frozen and processed fruits, vegetables, superfoods, grains and other food and drink ingredients.

With both Peruvian cuisine and healthy food in vogue across major consumer markets, and Peru’s agricultural frontier set to expand to 260,000 hectares thanks to mega irrigation projects, the South American country is poised for new growth via a diversified product basket.

“Peru is already highly regarded for fresh produce like asparagus, table grapes, mandarins, clementines, avocados, mangoes, peas, chillies and squash, but we have much more to offer retail, wholesale and foodservice buyers,” reveals Jaime Cardenas, director of the Peru Trade and Investment Office in the UK, which is spearheading the expansion strategy in the UK market.

“In the fresh produce category our blueberry production is rising rapidly, and our pomegranate offer is strengthening too. In two to three years’ time Peruvian blueberry exports will probably be as high as Peru’s current two leading produce export items – avocados and table grapes.”

There is also a cornucopia of smaller volume, speciality and niche products that are emerging from Peru. These can be supplied in fresh, dried, frozen or processed and semi-processed formats, and are ideally suited to the foodservice, ingredient and manufacturing sectors. Many are produced organically too.

They include: ginger, passion fruit, cherimoya, granadilla, lúcuma, prickly pear (cactus fig), golden berries (physalis), peppers (bell, piquillo, jalapeño and cherry), and artichokes. Plus, Peruvian superfoods and grains, such as quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds, cañihua, maca (Peruvian ginseng), yacón, cat’s claw, camu camu, sacha inchi and sangre de grado (dragon’s blood), among other plants still scarcely known in other parts of the world.

“Peru is one of the most mega-diverse countries in the world and benefits from numerous ecosystems. That, coupled with the progressive introduction of technology and innovative production and processing methods, means the Peruvian agriculture sector has incredible export potential,” Cardenas explains.

By 2020, Peru plans to triple its horticultural exports to 2.3 million tonnes and more than triple the value of those sendings to US$3.8 billion (£2.5 billion). Considering buyers already have a positive view of Peru, Cardenas says the country’s exporters are eager to build on that reputation as they expand their market presence.

“We are seen as a strong supplier with excellent weather and growing conditions. In fact, Peru has 82 of the 111 climates in the world. Our producers can grow almost anything and they enjoy high yields across a range of agricultural products. There are still a lot of exciting possibilities for buyers to discover!”

Peru on show in London

To promote all Peru has to offer in the produce sector, next month the Peru Trade and Investment Office in the UK will represent the country’s leading produce exporter associations – Agap, Apem, Ipeh, ProCitrus, ProHass, ProVid, ProArándanos and ProGranadas – by exhibiting on Stands 215 & 314 at the third annual London Produce Show and Conference in the UK.

To be held on 8-10 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, the country’s leading fruit and vegetable supplier Camposol and UK importer Pacific Produce, amongst other suppliers and distributors, will be in attendance.

During the trade fair, Peru will also host a special seminar on 9 June (3.00-4.30pm) to spotlight the exciting new products and ranges the country has to offer the global market. Veteran produce market researcher John Giles, divisional director at Promar International, will present the facts; making particular reference to the opportunities in the UK and Ireland. This will be followed by a panel discussion comprising industry experts in sourcing from Peru.

To register your interest in this seminar, please notify your attendance by email.

UK market presence

Peru is becoming an increasingly relevant source of horticultural supply for the UK and Irish markets. Currently, the UK represents the third-most-important horticultural trading partner for Peru, receiving 8.9% of its fresh produce exports, after only the USA (34.4%) and the Netherlands (20%).

“Over the last five years Peru’s total fresh produce exports to the UK have risen significantly; not only in volume and value terms but also in the variety of Peruvian fresh produce now available on the market,” points out Cardenas.

According to figures from the Peruvian Guild of Fresh Produce Exporters (Agap), volume has expanded by 75% since 2011; from 53,556 tonnes to 93,486 tonnes in 2015. Between 2015 and 2014 alone the volume growth was 12%. The value of Peru’s exports to the UK market has also jumped by 126% from US$88.2m in 2011 to US$199 million last year, which was up 17% on 2014 alone.

Looking ahead, Cardenas sees major UK potential for fresh blueberries and pomegranates from Peru, in particular.

“UK consumers are increasingly concerned about their diet, so the popularity of so-called ‘superfoods’ has grown significantly. And, among the most popular superfoods are blueberries and pomegranate juice.

“Since the UK does not produce any pomegranates, and its blueberry production is limited, UK imports of these products have increased over the last 10 years. At the same time, Peru benefits from Free Trade Agreements with the EU and UK for both fruits. The growth projections for these products are very positive going forward.”

Peru entered the blueberry market in the UK in 2012 with a trial consignment of just under 15 tonnes. Last year that figure had already risen to almost 1,400 tonnes, according to Agap, which was a 371% increase in comparison to 2014.

Peru trade events in 2016

To advance its horticultural profile even further, next month Peru will host the 23rd International Pepper Conference in Trujillo, northern Peru, in recognition of the country’s prowess as not only a pepper producer, but the origin of many varieties.

Organised by Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, PromPerú and Adex, among other institutions, the event on 15-17 June will convene the most important names in the bell pepper (capsicum) business.

Later in the year, on 28-30 September, the Peruvian food and drink industry at large will also be out in full force in Lima, Peru, to showcase its wares at Expoalimentaria Perú, which has evolved into the largest international trade show of its kind in the region.

Meet them at the London Produce Show 2016

To learn more about Peru, visit Jaime Cardenas and his team from the Peru Trade and Investment Office in the UK at the London Produce Show and Conference 2016 (Stands 215/314) on 8-10 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair. Discover more about Peru’s range of fresh fruits and vegetables, and find out about sourcing a whole range of agricultural products and ingredients.

For more information:
Jaime Cardenas
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3542 6790

Publication date: 5/20/2016

Originally found at:

Peru: Organic blueberries, the next export alternative

By | Blueberries, Exporting, Farming Techniques, Market Analysis, Peru Economy

“When you see an increase of this magnitude, it’s really because there is much potential. Blueberries have become one of the fruits that currently presents the best business opportunities and very attractive prices, which makes them an excellent export product. The growing demand, the production’s seasonality and its qualities, have allowed this positioning,” said Guillermo Parodi, technical manager of the Vison’s SAC company.

Peruvian blueberry production has grown substantially in recent years. The first trial exports began in 2008, but it was in 2012 when blueberry exports had an unexpected boost. Exports in 2015 surpassed 97 million dollars, and forecasts for this year are that the country could triple these numbers.

Peru has the capacity to produce blueberries throughout the whole year and, therefore, has a constant supply. “The main blueberry production is concentrated from early September through March because it is commercially convenient for us. Peru offers its fruit when the northern hemisphere has no production but still needs it, that is to say we supply a market with a great demand when global supply is reduced,” said the representative of the Peruvian company.

“We enter the market in a season where there are very few producing countries and much demand in the United States and Europe. We allocate 50% of our blueberries for the US and 30% for the UE; the rest is sent to Asia and Central America. Other countries, such as Chile, begin their harvest in November, when we are already amidst our season. The only Latin American country that could be a major competitor against us is Mexico because it can produce almost at the same time as us and because it is getting more market share, especially in the United States,” Parodi stated.

Peru exports the Biloxi blueberry variety, mostly because it is easy to handle in post-harvest and because it has the appropriate size for the blueberry market in this period. “The Biloxi is a bit more acidic, but this is offset by the storage and marketing opportunities it offers. Personally, I think it’s an export variety suited to our reality, and it is a variety that the European and North American markets accept. In the short term, I do not think we’ll change varieties; we would have to conduct many tests before we do,” he added.

Even though China is an important export market for the vast majority of Peruvian products, Peru still hasn’t positioned its blueberries in the Chinese market. However, together with the development of organic blueberries, it is within this year’s marketing expansion plan. “China is a market that is still growing, so we are promoting our blueberries in this market. Organic Blueberries are the the next alternative we are working on. We are organizing things to obtain the necessary certifications that will allow us to enter the organic trade of this fruit, and refining our processes to improve production and export process,” Parodi concluded.

More information:
Guillermo Parodi
Av. Camino Real Nº 961 Dpto. 2001,
San Isidro Lima – Perú
M: +51 951499134

Publication date: 3/31/2016
Author: Carlos P Poggio