USDA trade numbers show that U.S. imports of Chilean grapes last year totaled 400,000 metric tons, down from 408,000 metric tons in 2010 and 458,000 metric tons in 2009. U.S. imports of Peruvian grapes totaled about 30,000 metric tons in 2011, up from 17,000 metric tons in 2010 and 13,000 metric tons in 2009.
The value of Chilean grape imports to the U.S. totaled $631 million in 2011, down from $740 million in 2010 and $702 million in 2009. Meanwhile, value of U.S. imports of Peruvian grapes has surged from $31 million in 2009 to $49 million in 2010 and $84 million in 2011.
Coverage in The Packer has also noted Peru's emergence, though cost factors have not mentioned. From the Dec. 26 issue and reporting by Jim Offner:
"The strength of our deal here is Peru," said Dan Carpella Jr., director of sales and marketing with Pittsgrove, N.J.-based Nathel International.
Carpella was asked how Peru's total production compared to Chile's.
"Right now, I'd say it's a good complement and that's all it is to Chile," he said. "That could change in the next five-plus years, though. Peru's table grapes are a much smaller crop than Chile's. They're available at times when Chile tends to be short, so it fits well. But there could be some competition down the road."
Peru has the potential to be a major competitor to Chile, said Mike Bowe, vice president of Dave's Specialty Imports Inc., Coral Springs, Fla.
"Peru can grow just about anything, but it's only now being organized," he said. "Argentina has difficulties with some of the organizational aspects of the business. They don't have the logistics that Chile does. Peru, the same kind of thing. They need the lanes. Again, it's a wait-and-see at this point."
TK: The trend is with Peruvian grapes, and the reported lower input costs in Peru make it likely the market share growth in the U.S. market compared with Chile will continue for a few years. Check out the USDA grape imports stats by month here.
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