China’s growing interest
Peru is seeing a surge in demand for processed product largely because of changes in the Chinese market, Friedman said.
As China’s economy has grown, so has the appetite among its people for goods that once were predominantly export goods.
“China is a big producer of processed, and several years ago they were a large exporter,” he said. “Now, they’re huge consumers of their own product.”
A food safety incident with Chinese asparagus is another reason for the surge in demand for Peruvian, Friedman said.
“When there was that scare a few years back, a lot of customers took a step back.”
Warren agreed. Customers who switched from Peru to China several years ago for their processed asparagus are now switching back to Peru.
And China aside, the sticker shock of fresh asparagus can often steer U.S. consumers toward processed.
“Consumers are not going to pay $5.99 for a bunch of asparagus. Our economy can’t absorb that.”
The 8- or 12-ounce bag of frozen asparagus for $1.29 is going to look a lot more appealing, Friedman said.
CarbAmericas has a good business selling frozen asparagus to European and Pacific Rim customers.