News briefs: Pears, blueberries and bread bowls

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Snack foods, Dried fruit

Crispy Green develops dried fruit snacks; US scientists adapt
blueberry crops for hot weather; and legal action is looms over
bread that doubles up as crockery.

Food firms fight over bread bowls ​A UK firm, praised across the national media for its edible bread bowls, is facing a legal battle with a company that claims to have invented the concept 15 years earlier. Butt Foods first launched the novel crockery early last year and later celebrated in promotional spots in the Times and Steve Wright's radio 2 show. However, the launch was not quite as well received by another company, Crusty Crock Pots, which, according to a report in Food Manufacture magazine, claims to have invented the same concept 15 years ago. "My solicitor is now preparing a formal letter to Butt Foods claiming they have infringed my design patent,"​ said chief executive officer Stuart Hepworth. "I will be very interested to hear what they have to say because their product certainly looks exactly the same as mine." ​In response, Butt Foods managing director David Williams told Food Manufacture that his lawyer was confident that no patents had been infringed. Blueberries developed for hot climate ​The weather in the Southern states of the US has previously been too hot to cultivate the superfruit blueberries, but American scientists claim to now have perfected the technique. Blueberries are one of the most popular fruit used in bakery products with sales increasing by 130 per cent in the last two years. According to supplier BerryWorld, EU figures show an increase from €14.9m in 2003 to almost €58m in 2005. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) said they first had the idea to grow the fruit in Mississippi after a hurricane wiped out the region's tung oil in 1969. "Thirteen blueberry cultivars and 2,500 acres later, the ARS Poplarville lab is busier than ever furnishingMississippi's burgeoning blueberry industry with heat-tolerant plants whose fruit embodies the flavor, firmness and shelf life that consumers and processors desire,"​ the group said. While still in the early stages, the ARS hopes to make varieties such as DeSoto and Dixieblue a viable commercial crop over the coming months. Crispy Green adds to dried fruit range ​After successful sales of its fruit snack products, US firm Crispy Green has launched its new crispy pear range. The dried fruit is low in fat and calories, as well as hitting the additive-free trend. "The crispy pears provide the best of both worlds for anyone who wants a great tasting snack while maintaining a healthy lifestyle,"​ said company president Angela Liu. "Everyone loves that fact they provide a fun and creative way to add more fruit to the daily diet." ​The fruit is also suitable for the Kosher food market, she added.

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