Fresh produce grower-marketer Oppy has introduced Haskap berries to customers in the greater Vancouver area, marking the first time the berry is available at retail.
Oppy said that it was well positioned to leverage its "extensive knowledge of the retail landscape and deep-seated connections in the industry" to offer consumers one-of-a-kind products like Haskap berries.
The berries have a flavour profile that combines elements of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, the group noted, while Haskap are also especially well suited as a snack for children thanks to their size and flavour, which offers a "tangy finish reminiscent of candy".
Thanks to its high level of antioxidants and anthocyanins, Haskap also offers a plethora of health benefits including anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and cardioprotective properties.
By trialling the berries with select retailers in a limited locale not far from where the berries are grown, Oppy tested how well the fruit held up in the commercial supply chain, its longevity, and used the trial as an opportunity to increase consumer awareness of Haskap.
“Haskap berries offer consumers a welcome reprieve from the usual produce items that they’ve grown accustomed to, and in the current circumstances a little bit of novelty can be welcome,” said senior manager of insights and innovation Garland Perkins. “Oppy is continually looking for new, under-the-radar varieties that bring a lot to the table for consumers and retailers.
"Thanks to its versatility as a healthy snack and its ease of use from a culinary perspective, Haskap berries have plenty of untapped potential that can be realised with the right promotions and partnerships,” Perkins added.
After conducting a successful trial, Oppy said that it would aim to work with its partners to expand and scale the programme to meet increased interest and demand, providing differentiation in what it described as a "booming berry category".