Peruvian asparagus importers offer category management help

07/15/2011 02:55:00 PM
Chuck Robinson

Retail promotion is on the mind of the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association, which gives support to its members to help retailers manage the category.

“Peruvian imports have recorded steady increases year over year with a proven successful track record,” said Priscilla Lleras, the Miami-based association’s coordinator. “Many importers are working closely with their customers to bring value-added products to the U.S. retailers’ shelves.”

The association has compiled a regional market study that goes into detail about the opinions and needs of retailers in the U.S., Lleras said.

“Each importer within PAIA works directly with their retailers to develop specifically tailored programs promoting Peruvian asparagus,” she said. “The plan is comprised of statistics identifying market growth, trends, industry facts and key demographics for 2011, as well as suggested methods at retail level to optimize sales within the category.”

The association points out in the outline that, according to the Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau and Foreign Trade Statistics data recorded in 2010, the U.S. imported more than 377 million pounds of fresh-market asparagus, 192.8 pounds of which came from Peru. Fresh asparagus imports from Peru represented more than 51% of the total supply to the U.S. for 2010.

The category management program helps, said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Southern Specialties.

“I think the association has done a great job of making buyers aware of what the Peruvian asparagus program brings to the table, and those customers that have been fortunate enough to visit Peru have seen the level of commitment that members of the association have to assuring that Americans receive a high-quality, safe and flavorful and nutritional product,” he said.

Jeff Friedman, president of Pompano Beach-based Carb Americas Inc., agreed.

“I’ve been looking over what Priscilla has sent out over the number of years she’s been doing this, and the category management plan has helped me and our sales staff educate our customers on what is happening,” he said. “With some of the closer customers we have, it provides a good presentation to them on where we see the future going with the pricing.”

Retail promotions have room for improvement, though, said Nilda Soler, supervisor of logistics of Customized Brokers Inc., Miami.

“There are not a lot of ads,” she said. “They haven’t promoted as with broccoli and blueberries. There’s been so much information out there, like it’s good for you and has antioxidants. I haven’t seen as much in asparagus.”



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