Taken advantage of the Veggie trend

Published on 18 July 2018

Fruit and vegetable producers in South America have managed to benefit from the search for vegetable products by European consumers.

The tendency to look for healthy foods is becoming more solid in the world. Along with the health of consumers, the other great beneficiaries have been the economies of the countries from where these products are imported.

The agricultural production is based mainly on seasons, and these, in turn, are marked by the latitude of the land in which it is sown. For this reason, the South American countries have the advantage of producing against the northern hemisphere, in many cases, with products that are not native and have allowed to maintain a permanent supply throughout the year for the whole world.

Among the markets in which the demand for vegetables and fruits from South America has stood out, there is Spanish, as was seen in the last Alimentaria fair 2018, held in Barcelona between April 16 and 19. For this reason, a look is taken at the evolution of the value of the shipments of the five main agricultural or agroindustrial products of each country that are included in healthy diets (most of them consumable in convenience format, except for cocoa, which must be processed).

Next, we review the results for the four countries of the South American Pacific in this market over the past two years.

The clear upward trend in the last year is explained both by prices and the increase in supply, based on new areas of cultivation. In all cases, both the market and the field have played in favor.

In Peru, the increase was achieved even in spite of the El Niño Costero Phenomenon, which mainly affected asparagus, which is the only product that experienced a reduction in the generation of export income to Spain. Meanwhile, avocado production increased by 3.4%, and coincided with production problems in Mexico and the United States.

In the cases of Colombia and Ecuador, both countries share the quality of basing their portfolio on the production of their rainforests, with products such as cocoa, bananas, coffee, passion fruit, hearts of palm and pineapple. Additionally, there are coastal agricultural products that coincide with the Peruvian offer, such as asparagus and avocados. The product that stood out for its performance was the banana, which registered an increase in production of 4.7% in Colombia, and 10,000 hectares between 2000 and this year in Ecuador, so that the presence of South American bananas continues to grow in the market .

Let's see the Chilean case now.

The Chilean offer, to the equal that the Colombian and the Ecuadorian, is distinguished to include products that only are cultivated in certain geographic spaces. If those two countries have the eyebrow of the jungle, Chile has cold zones typical of a latitude farther from the equator, conducive to the production of berries and nuts. The walnuts and the red globe grape registered considerable increases, much higher than in the case of avocados, which had benefited from the production problems in North America. The increase has been driven by higher production: the surface planted with walnuts has gone from 37,000 hectares to 40,000, between 2016 and 2017; and Chilean grape production grew 4% in the 2016/2017 season compared to the previous one.

In general, it is important to highlight that Spain is an imposing destination for the development of its gastronomic market, and for the abundance of high value consumers for fresh products. In October of last year, a note by Efeagro cited a survey of the Food Industries Association of Aragon and the Food Cluster of Aragón in which 45% responded that they are looking for increasingly healthy food, with lower saturated fat content, additives, sugars and salts, and with more fiber, such as fruits and vegetables contain. On the other hand, the Spanish economy is recovering after years of crisis, and 2017 grew 3.6%, compared to 3.2% in 2016, and is expected to close this year around 3.8%.

For more information on exports of fruits and vegetables from the South American Pacific, you can check the Veritrade portal.
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