The 10th International Conference on Vaccinium Berries and Superfruits is well attended, with over 350 attendees from universities, agriculture, research facilities and new product developers worldwide. It runs until the end of this Thursday, 21 June.
Caroline Labrie of the Netherlands (the first speaker I heard) spoke on her research into increasing levels of vitamins C and D through increasing levels of LED light: "Consumers choose ego above eco," she said. "For them, taste, price and health come first."
Dilek Boyacioglu of Turkey explained the effects of juice processing on phenolic compounds, showing how sour cherry benefits from the extra sugar needed to make it palatable. The sugar content has a preservative effect on the anthocyanins, making this one of the best juices to drink in terms of health benefits.
I met with Alexandra Badescu of Romania's Pitesti University, and Alicja Chorazy, whose poster presentations covered biotypes of Romanan flora and sea buckthorn and, respectively, seaweed extract impact on the highbush blueberry.
Tomorrow, following a visit to Venlo and the Sunberry International Processing Plant, I will join the visit to Floriade, the global horticultural event that's only put together every 10 years. Others of a more horticultural mindset at the event are following either the Blueberry Tour or the Innovation Tour. It was certainly hard to choose!
The breadth of knowledge at this conference is truly differentiated and it suggests that, through such cross-section networking, the global industry has the best chance of success.
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Claire Phoenix is managing editor of Beverage Innovation magazine.
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