by | Nov 22, 2021

Getting Tasty! Blueberry Innovations for New Product Development

Earlier this year our culinary strategic partner, CuliNex, teamed up with the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) to create a guide for developers to show them the benefits of using blueberries in their products. We recently hosted a webinar on this topic, “Harnessing Blueberries to Maximize the Implicit Appeal of Food Products.”

To get there, CuliNex took a unique approach on their ingredient innovation journey, specifically because they knew that blueberries are perceived as less functional than other ingredients. For this challenge, instead of focusing on the technical benefits for a developer’s perspective, they decided to zoom in on consumer perceptions of blueberry benefits to guide the developer. This fundamental process change impacted how they approached the work and created a vibrant guide for developers for product inspiration.

With this new direction, CuliNex was able to uncover that the blueberry ingredient market is anticipated to increase with a 7.3% CAGR between 2020 and 2025—specifically for bakery, snacks, fruits and vegetables, and sweet spread categories. Using this growth prediction as an anchor point, they summarized several key consumer trends and used one of InsightsNow’s Scoring Center’s databases to validate the secondary research.

A snapshot of the trends are as follows:

  1. Consumers are looking for health and nutrition from their food more than ever. This is in part due to the ongoing pandemic.
  2. Berries, specifically blueberries, are the #1 superfood trending on social media. Many adults are interested in eating or adding more superfoods to their diets.
  3. There’s a continued interest in clean label products. Typically found in the form of whole foods and natural ingredients.
  4. Mental health is top of mind for consumers. In addition, consumers are looking for foods that offer immunity, cognitive, and mood-boosting benefits. Another study found that many consumers associate happiness with blueberries.
  5. Consumers are searching for reassurance through their diets via both classic, comforting flavors. The comfort that nostalgic flavors evoke is on the rise; we’ve seen plenty of 90s products reboots in the last couple of years!
  6. New flavor combinations are in demand and blueberries offer a complementary taste profile to many new trends. In addition, awarded ‘Classic Blueberry’ as the 2020 Flavor of the Year!

Our Scoring Center has hundreds of ingredients and thousands of combinations for behavioral scores across our three databases. You can sign up for a free account at anytime to browse the information we have available. If you’d like to purchase credits to download a data table, please contact us.

To read the USHBC Blueberry report in full, please visit their website or go to the direct link here. And to learn more, view a recording of our recent webinar with CuliNex.

While there is plenty of secondary data points to support the popularity of blueberries, the CuliNex team still needed to validate some of their health findings. For this they turned to our Ingredient Benefit Association database; where consumers have evaluated dozens of ingredients for various health benefits using InsightsNow’s Implicit / Explicit Test™. (For more information on this behavioral score, check out our eBook.)

With their Unlimited credit balance, the team was able to pull our Benefit Association Scores for a wide range of ingredients and benefits. In this table, we can see that blueberries are high performing across a range of typical on-pack benefit claims. One that stood out in particular was the ‘heart health’ association. Let’s look at another POV for this data point:

  • During their initial research, it was discovered that blueberries are certified as heart-healthy through the American Heart Association® Heart-Check Food Certification Program.
  • Seeing other ingredients that are also associated with Promoting Heart Health inspired their team to think of flavor combinations that could achieve a complementary benefit; something like a Green Tea & Blueberry flavored morning drink, for instance.

Our Scoring Center has hundreds of ingredients and thousands of combinations for behavioral scores across our three databases. You can sign up for a free account at anytime to browse the information we have available. If you’d like to purchase credits to download a data table, please contact us.

To read the USHBC Blueberry report in full, please visit their website or go to the direct link here. And to learn more, view a recording of our recent webinar with CuliNex.