You love eating fresh fruit and vegetables all year long, right? What a great treat it is to enter a supermarket and find the aisles full of delicious and colorful produce in the middle of winter! Even in snowy February or unpredictable March! Where does this marvelous food come from? Mostly, from Peru…
The Highest Quality
Peru’s opposite seasons to the USA and its unique terroir make it one of the primary countries to provide produce after the Fall season in the US. For example, in the months of December, January and February, Peru is almost the sole provider of mangoes. But it is not only their availability that make them appealing, mangoes from Peru are delectable! James Serrano of Chef’s Warehouse said, “the color, sweetness and taste of Peruvian mangoes really give it a great advantage in the market. The fact that they’re available during the cold is the best!” In 2018, Mr. Serrano attended ExpoAlimentaria in Lima, Peru, the largest food show in South America and got a firsthand look at the great range of Peruvian exports. He returned to New York with a new admiration for the variety Peru is offering to the world.
Today, mango exports from Peru have reached US $257 Million, filling a gap in the market since they are available all year long. Mango consumption in the US has been rising steadily, from 1.88 pounds per capita in 2005 to 3.21 pounds per capita in 2017, according to Manuel Michel of the National Mango Board (NMB) in Fresh Plaza. In 2016, the NMB sponsored the National Women’s Soccer League and distributed mangoes at games and promotional events. Since then, they have continued their efforts of spreading the word about this tasty tropical fruit.
Add More Superfoods Peru to your Life!
The blueberry was the first food to receive the qualification of Superfoods more than 20 years ago in the US. The reason being simple: the experts were impressed by its extremely high concentration of antioxidants and health benefits. Peru is fast becoming the number one provider of top-quality blueberries to the US and has exports increasing from US $ 17 Million five years ago to over US $ 580 Million in 2018, growing 20 times last year alone! Every year at the New York Produce Show, held at the Jacob Javits Center, many retailer’s make the booths of the Peruvian blueberry providers a key stop to ensure they get this premium caliber fruit. At the most recent edition of this show, Norman Barao of the International Fruit Company, said that he prefers Peruvian blueberries thanks to their richness in flavor as well as their size, being a bit bigger than most other imported blueberries.
While mangoes and blueberries are stars, they do not shine alone! Peru is home to so many products, from produce to quinoa, maca and ginger to specialty coffees, cacao and seafood, too, all of which are full of nutrients, high in vitamins and antioxidants and great taste. As a result, when determining what could be the best description for them, a brand was created a couple of years ago. They are now designated: SuperFoods Peru.
“The SuperFoods Perubrand includes a group of very special foods that go above and beyond in providing health benefits to consumers. This brand is being promoted by the Peruvian Government and different Peruvian export associations to bring international awareness to healthy eating and how Peruvian ingredients play an important role in feeding the world,” said Conrado Falco, Director of the Trade Commission of Peru in New York.
The $700 Million Stars
The first Peruvian product to reach US $ 700 Million in annual exports was table grapes.Peru initially started exporting to the US solely to fill in during seasons where it was not possible to find grapes in the international markets, making them a commodity with a higher price. Things have much evolved since then and grapes hit US $ 820 Million in exports last year. Today, Peruvian grapes can be found all-year-round and complement the California grapes during the months of August through December, according to John Pandol, of Jim Pandol & Company, one of the biggest grape distributors in the US and in business since the 1930s. Between the months of November to February, Peruvian grapes really take center stage since Chile is the only competitor in that period. Mr. Pandol further said, “most Peruvian vineyards are fairly young and therefore more forgiving, while in the north of Chile, the challenge is to continue to get good grapes out of older vineyards and that has been the big problem.” Peru is working on developing different grape varieties which could reap different benefits.
Grapes are the most popular Peruvian fruit in the market, with a large audience in the US and being the fourth most consumed fruit after bananas, apples and oranges. The consumption for grapes is 8.2 pounds per capita according to Statista, more than double in comparison to mangoes.
Another leader in Peruvian produce exports are avocados, which attained US $ 720 Million last year. This is a relatively new product for Peru and they fall under the SuperFoods Peruumbrella. It took a few years to find the right harvest point, exact procedure to cultivate and provide the perfect fruit for international markets. Now avocado production is booming. Much is being done to promote why they are so special: their health benefits, rich flavor, attractive color and firm texture.
Check your Local Shops
Peru has rapidly become one of the most important food providers to the US and the world with food exports growing 10% – 15% every year and now surpassing over US $ 5 Billion per year. Peruvian products are now quite common in US supermarkets with fresh produce easy to find in stores such as Whole Foods Market, Fairway, Food Emporium, Shoprite, Amish Market, to name only a few, and can be found all throughout the year.
These big industry players have already recognized that Peru is synonymous with quality and actively shop its produce as well as other categories, too. As an example, LGS Sales, one of the largest importers of Peruvian mandarins on the East Coast, have become loyal purchasers of this fruit because of the optimal growing conditions found in Peru which result in high-grade size and quality. Another is Four Season Produce, a US $ 500+ Million company, that have completely switched over to buying Peruvian limes due to their intense acidity and juiciness.
The future for Peruvian produce is as bright as the color of its fruits and vegetables.