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Canada: Blueberry producers in technology revolution

A blueberry producer from Richmond B.C. in Canada has become the first to buy a Vancouver firm's new dehydration process. The company plan to use the technology to produce 'puffed' berries for snack foods and other processing. A licensing and royalty deal has been forged between EnWave Corp and Cal-San Enterprises, a blueberry farming, processing and winemaking operation owned by the Sandhu family of Richmond.

EnWave developed the NutraRev food dehydration system, and contingent on the deal is their receiving 10% in royalties from Cal-San's gross revenues from selling dried food products processed using the NutraRev technology. In turn, Cal-San get exclusive access to the technology as it relates to the North American dried blueberry market.

The new processing method is said to be a blessing both financially and environmentally. It is competing with freeze drying, using three times the energy and costing six times the capital price. EnWave report that the cost will be between US$800.000 and US$1 million. The quality of the product is also ensured, as foods retain "excellent colour, flavour, and texture, with similar nutrients and shelf-life to freeze drying, and at a variety of moisture contents as required by the target market".
In the long term
In the future and on a worldwide scale, EnWave have said it will seek a manufacturing partner to service the NutraRev technology. Cal-San have pledged to continue global sale of its new dried blueberry product, which is versatile: it can be used for snack foods, cereal bars and baking. Their president Dave Sandhu, whose business has over 200 acres of production and processing for up to seven million pounds of fruit per year, said the firm plan to experiment with other fruits in the drying and production process.
In the immediate future, EnWave are focussing on the North American market for dehydrated fruit and vegetables, and they estimate the market to be worth around US$1.2 billion.
EnWave chose blueberries to initiate the market because of the volume of fresh and frozen produce available locally - a taste for the local being seen as a way to weather, and thrive in, the current economic climate.

Source: internationalsupermarketnews.com

Publication date: 3/4/2009


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