United Exports hosts international blueberry event in South Africa’s Western Cape focusing on customer-led innovation

United Exports' Roger Horak addresses the Ozblu Global Conference

United Exports’ Roger Horak addresses the Ozblu Global Conference

Ozblu Global Conference returned in the last week of July after a Covid-induced pause, bringing together Ozblu blueberry breeder Nature Select with growers, customers, investors and guests for the first time in three years.

Delegates from more than 12 countries attended the event, which was held in Tulbagh in South Africa’s Western Cape and hosted by United Exports, a global agricultural company specialised in Ozblu berries.

Ozblu blueberries are renowned for their size, taste, texture and shelf-life. The Ozblu genetics, now grown in over 19 countries, come from the Nature Select breeding programme run by Dave and Leasa Mazzardis. United Exports holds exclusive rights to market and sublicense the Ozblu brand.

With a theme of ‘The future of customer-led innovation’, the event included market insights; customer insights into responding to trends; blueberry growing trends; a grower panel, agronomy and R&D expos; and further innovation in Ozblu’s latest series of genetics, according to United Exports.

One of the key consumer trends to be explored was the evolution of e-commerce to q-commerce (quick, on-demand delivery) and how this is shaping the food industry. Other trends to share the spotlight included merchandising, and environmental, social and governance (ESG).

United Exports said ESG is a core value for the company, and ESG sustainability manager, Rowen Markie, presented its numerous projects and areas of impact over the past few years. “We can only effect change if we measure monitor and adapt,” she said.

Roger Horak, United Exports’ founder, expressed his enthusiasm and clarity of purpose after the conference.

“Ozblu has a great story – premium varieties, a talented go-to-market team and a uniquely innovative customer-led strategy. The future does indeed look bright and ‘blu’!”