The Peruvian economy is is just as diverse and colorful as its vast geographic spread and captivating culture. The country is one of the most stable economic powers in Latin America, with a GDP of US$225 billion in 2018. Much of Peru’s success can be attributed to increasing international trade alliances and export opportunities. Currently, commodity exports make up the most significant percentage of the country’s global economic activity. However, there’s another industry specific to Peru on the brink of mass exportation, foreign investments, and new businesses.

Recently, nutritionists and researchers found a handful of foods native to the country of Peru that fall within the ‘superfood’ category. Superfoods are those are that have low calories, high fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. With recent trends in countries around the world becoming increasingly more health conscious, the demand for these superfoods is on the rise.

Peru is one of the few countries in the world that has such extensive access to so many native ‘superfoods.’ With new discoveries being made in the more remote parts of the country, business and investment opportunities for native and foreign companies present themselves plentifully.

Peru’s agriculture market

Peru’s Andes region is home to some unique foods, which help give the country’s agriculture industry an edge.

Currently, Peru has a relatively strong agriculture industry. Over the past 20 years, the industry experienced steady, promising growth, averaging an annual growth rate of 3.3%. As for economic impact, the industry makes up 11.3% of the nation’s GDP. This staggering growth is largely attributed to the tax cut and subsidies farmers in Peru receive from the government. Researchers and economists estimate that since the 1990s, Peruvian farmers have benefited from over US$6 billion in government subsidies in the industry.

The extensive benefits and special treatment the farmers receive is the first enticing piece to the investment puzzle that is Peruvian superfoods. When the market is subsidized and the government grants tax breaks, farmers and landowners use the excess money to expand upon the business. With expanding businesses and increasing global demand for Peruvian produce, foreign investors could be looking at a very worthwhile opportunity.

Recently, the most popular agriculture exports for Peru included coffee, potatoes, corn, cotton, sugar cane, wheat, and cocoa. Most frequently, the country is exporting these products to China, the United States, and Switzerland. Surely, Peru’s up-and-coming superfood industry will take these markets by storm.

Peru’s ‘super’ natural resources

Incredibly, Peru has a plethora of ‘superfood’ products that grow naturally all throughout the country. Historically, these healthy foods have been consumed and used as ingredients in many dishes from indigenous tribes. However, just recently are modernized nations recognizing the many health benefits these same foods offer. Some of the most promising superfoods to export and their health benefits are listed below.

Quinoa

Quinoa, already a widely popular side dish around the world, reigns from the Andes mountain range.

Quinoa is one of Peru’s most widely-known superfoods.

Health benefits of the superfood include perks like high levels of protein and contains all essential amino acids. Additionally, it is high in fiber and carbohydrates, high in antioxidants, and helps boost metabolism.

Peru happens to be the largest grower and exporter in the world of the super grain. The country produced 79,269 tonnes in 2016, or 53.3% of the total market production. Of this large sum, it exported 44,300 tonnes in 2016. Moreover, due to such high global demand, international selling prices for quinoa rose 500% between 2005 and 2014. As a result, Peruvian farmers experienced massive economic gains and further expanded upon their businesses.

Until recently, Peru’s neighbor, Bolivia, dominated exportation of quinoa. However, Peruvian farmers were able to surmount the numbers Bolivia was exporting by offering competitive bulk pricing tactics. Naturally, foreign markets gravitated towards the cheaper prices. These price cuts were made possible by the influx of government subsidies and an increase in foreign investment.

Golden berries

Golden berries, otherwise known as Inca berries, are another superfood from Peru. Just like quinoa, ancient tribes and communities grew and ate golden berries centuries ago. Now, the fruit is getting global attention for its high antioxidant levels.

Within Peru, the golden berry is produced in a variety of different regions. Most famous for their cultivation of the fruit are the regions of Ancash, La Libertad, Cajamarca, Lambayeque, Ayacucho, Lima, Junin, Huanuco, and Cusco.

Up until 2016, Peru had only been exporting the berry to European countries. Total, the European market generated US$1.8 million for Peruvian golden berry exporters. However, recently, Peru made efforts to start exporting the product to the United States, where the demand is growing. Currently, the US imports the majority of its golden berries from Colombia. However, with the right promotion and investment, Peru could capture the US golden berry market the same way they did the quinoa market: low bulk pricing strategies.

Camu Camu

Camu Camu, a fruit native to the section of the Amazon rainforest located in Peru, is an up-and-coming superfood in the global markets. The sour berry has a higher vitamin C content than oranges, supplying 750% of the daily recommended dosage per serving. Moreover, the cherry-colored fruit has high levels of other essential antioxidants, helps lower inflammation, improves blood sugar, and lowers high blood sugar levels.

Because the fruit is so tart and sour, it is not common for people to eat it as is. More often than not, the berry is processed into a powder to be added to water, protein shakes, or other healthy drinks. It is also common to find it in pulp, juice, and puree form.

Nowadays, Peru is the largest exporter of camu camu. Common export destinations include Japan, the US, Italy, and other European countries. Opportunities for business people and investors lie in the fact that cultivators and producers of camu camu and its derivatives plan to develop the national market more. The fruit is widely consumed in the regions where it is grown. However, outside of these sectors, it isn’t as popular. Before increasing global exportation, companies must first get other Peruvians onboard with the superfood. Experts in the field say the berries popularity potential is ‘undeniable.’

Health trends in the US are increasing, making it one of the leading revenue generators for superfood producers.

Opportunities abroad

The United States is one of the leaders in the ‘superfood craze.’ The country’s recent health-conscious trend sparked national interest in high amounts of exercise and resorting to highly sustainable and ‘super’ food choices. As of now, 30% of grocery shoppers in the US fall under this ‘health-conscious consumer’ label. As a result, grocers across the nation recognized a 24% increase in sales in products labeled ‘all natural’ and a 28% increase in sales for those labeled ‘organic.’

As a result, experts predict that the US will generate the greatest amount of revenue for ‘superfood’ producers. Globally, the market reached a valuation of US$161 million in 2018 and will reach US$250 million by the year 2025.

Foreign investors and business people looking to get involved in the market should recognize the potential that the US market holds. With the right partnerships with Peruvian superfood farmers, all parties could benefit from the high demand the US is presenting. Moreover, with national organic grocers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts looking for these unique, authentic, foreign superfoods to fill their stores, there is sure to be no shortage of retailer demand for these Peruvian products.

Superfoods present super opportunities!

Excited about all the possibilities Peru’s superfood industry could offer? So is the Peru team here at Biz Latin Hub. 

Contact our highly experienced team at [email protected] for more information on how we can help you get involved in this fascinating industry. With expertise in commercial representation and back-office services, we can get your company up and running and partnered with the very best of the Peruvian superfood producers.