Imports of Cooked Potatoes Continue to Climb

Published on 08 July 2015

In a case that contradicts all logic, Peru, the main producer of potatoes in Latin America, and among the largest in the world, increases its imports of this product. That's right, at the end of last year, our country imported 24 thousand tons of precooked potatoes for a value of USD 23 million. Why, having so much local tuber production, are we importing tremendous amounts? Mainly for the fast food market, which is constantly growing in our country. But what can we do about it?

The importation of potatoes in numbers

• 24 thousand tons Quantity of precooked potato imported by Peru in 2014. • $ 23 million Value of the total imports of precooked potatoes to Peru in 2014. • 3% Potato import growth in the first four months of 2015. • $ 0.80 Price of the kilo of potatoes in 2015. • 17 Fast food, casinos and poultry businesses that make up 70% of precooked potato imports.

It is not new that our country lacks the industrial development necessary to produce products made beyond their value as raw material. The imported potatoes are pre-cut, precooked, preserved and packed for freezing and undergo certain controls required by international fast food chains. If an industry develops that satisfies this demand, we could cover an important market and supply the main buyers with a cheaper national offer. In doing so, we would be competing with countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, which represent purchases of USD 3.8 million and 1.4 million precooked potatoes destined for Peru. The import of potatoes in Peru continues to grow, increasing by 3% this year. Globally, however, the trend is different.

The consumption of precooked potatoes worldwide decreased by 32% from 2013 to 2014. What is behind this radical decline? Experts say that consumers' growing awareness of health issues has led to a drop in demand. Apparently, the customer is choosing less and less for that portion of large fries along with his hamburger. It would be necessary to see if at the local level the fast food market also experienced this decline in its curve, which until now, remains booming.

In any case, it is unusual that in a country like ours, there is so much dependence on foreign tubers. No matter how short the golden age of fast food, there is no doubt that there is much to profit from in the industrialization of the potato market.

The data speaks for itself!

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