A western PEI company is having great success sharing Prince Edward Island’s abundant wild blueberries with the rest of the world.
PEI Juice Works(link is external) General Manager Jackson Platts says they recognized the opportunity to juice in bulk with the explosion of the craft brew market along the eastern seaboard. About 75 per cent of PEI Juice Works’ 100 per cent blueberry juice is shipped to China, Taiwan, Japan, Barbados, the U.S. and Europe.
Blueberries, which are considered a superfruit high in antioxidants and believed to have restorative qualities, are in high demand worldwide.
Each 375 ml bottle of juice contains just over one pound of wild blueberries. The addition of rhubarb, tart cherries and cranberries has created three unique blends that complement the natural essence of the wild blueberries.
The company doesn’t waste anything. They’re now using the skin of blueberries, dried and ground to a powder, for the commercial animal food market, and the nutraceutical industry. “You’ve got to find a way to pay the bills,” Platts joked.
“We continue to try to develop new products and new markets. Prince Edward Island is a great place to do business.”
Platts said the company has lots of supply from blueberry growers, along with a world-class cleaning, sorting and freezing facility with Wymans. “We have had very good support from Trade Team PEI, ACOA, the National Research Council, BioFoodTech and Innovation PEI. We received a lot of support to go on trade missions.”
Their biggest customer, China, sees the value in the PEI brand. A Canadian flag stamped on the bottle makes it even more desirable. “It’s a big niche to have that maple leaf on your bottle,” Platts said.