On blueberries and other ‘super fruits’Press release 8 June 2012
International symposium and exhibition on Super Fruits in Maastricht
Super fruits, which are types of fruit that contain unusually high concentrations of bio-active nutrients that have favourable effects in preventing nutritional disease, are currently a hot item. Not only for scientists who study the beneficial effects these types of fruit have on health, but also for the marketers, producers and growers. The tenth edition of the international symposium ‘Vaccinium & Other Super Fruits Symposium & Exhibition’ will be held in the MECC in Maastricht and at auction and grower locations in Venlo from 17 to 22 June. The event covers the entire chain from growth, harvest, processing to product development, marketing and consumption of the 'super fruit', with special attention given to the blueberry.
“The term super fruits was first coined in 2005”, explains Fred Brouns, professor of Health Food Innovation at Maastricht University. “This term is especially used for exotic fruit, such as acai, noni, goji and the pomegranate. However, indigenous types of fruit like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries also fall into this category. Considerable scientific evidence on their health benefits has been compiled these past years. They are beneficial for healthy cells and the proper functioning of organs. Noticeable effects can be seen in, amongst others, improvement in vitality, cognitive functions and physical performance (which is why they are sometimes also known as power fruits), but also in reducing the risk of chronic illnesses. Put briefly, they are conducive to a healthy old age. In addition to being healthy, these products are very appealing in terms of taste and colour. This is why we are seeing an increasing demand for industrial applications of these products and semi-manufactured products: dried versions, pastes, concentrates, powders and natural dyes extracted from the fruit. The majority of super fruits are processed in food and drinks. For the past number of years, extracts of these fruits are also being processed in supplements, confectionaries and even in cosmetics.”
The blueberry landscape
“The symposium will feature a detailed discussion on the market and marketing of products that have super fruits processed in them,” explains Brouns. “We will go into important success factors, such as the hold on the FRESH-supply chain as well as innovative processing methods for the benefit of taste, smell and ‘health maintenance’. There will be numerous companies presenting their activities in the MECC exhibition area. Dutch growers, united in organisations such as the Blauwe Bes study group and the Dutch Blue Berry Collective, will be presenting a true ‘Blueberry landscape’ in the MECC.
In addition to the presentations there will also be a field trip. A day has been set aside for a visit to leading growers in the region of Venlo. It is especially this combination in collaboration with ZON fruit & vegetables-Fresh Park Venlo and connections of local growers and processors of super fruits that makes the event unique: a symposium on super fruits with the horticulture world at the Floriade in your own backyard, what more could you ask for?”
Partners and sponsors
‘Vaccinium & Other Super Fruits Symposium & Exhibition’ is a collaboration between Maastricht University, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the International Society of Horticultural Science and the International Federation of Juice Producers, Food Nutrition Delta, Food Valley and the European Fruit Juice Association. The municipalities of Venlo and Maastricht support the event. Sunberry International and ZON fruit & vegetables are the main sponsors of Vaccinium 2012.
Note for the press:
Members of the press are welcome to attend the program and to interview speakers or growers. The complete program can be found at www.vaccinium2012.com. For more information regarding access and appointments, please contact Ilona Vermeeren; PCO conference organizers, T +31(0)43 325 05 21, firstname.lastname@example.org
The UM Marketing & Communications Department can be contacted on +31 43 388 5222 or at email@example.com. For urgent matters outside office hours, please call +31 6 4602 4992. Please refer to the Web Magazine for interesting research being carried out at UM.