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Squeezing the goodness out of wild blueberries through anthocyanin production

valorisation bleuets

Client: Syndicat des producteurs de bleuets du Québec

Blueberries to prevent aging cells and cancer

As everyone knows, an industry’s vitality depends on its ability to diversify—which is why Québec’s union of blueberry producers is now turning to functional foods. And who better than Investissement Québec - CRIQ to help them set up an anthocyanin-extraction plant in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region (anthocyanin being the plentiful health-boosting molecules found in Québec’s wild blueberries).

Anthocyanin concentrates have enormous potential. They can, for instance, be added to yogurt, juice, candy, cookies, and granola bars. Since a concentrate can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,200 per kilo, the annual economic spinoffs generated by setting up a plant that would process 10% of Québec’s wild blueberries are estimated to stand somewhere between $10 million and $15 million.

Initial results from the first half of this two-year project have proven beyond all doubt that the project is technically feasible. Months to come will be spent scaling up the procedure and producing small quantities of extract to get an idea of how well it will mix with foodstuffs. There is good reason to believe the tiny blueberry has got a big future ahead of it!