Luis M Cabello, economic and commercial counsellor, Embassy of Peru in India speaks to Steena Joy about the food trade between India and Peru and the opportunities for growth
How has the India Peru food trade evolved over the years?
The commercial exchange of products related to the food and beverage sector between Peru and India has shown an important growth in recent years. A better knowledge of our consumers about what each country has to offer has been an important factor for the diversification of the demand and this is growing. The latter increases the opportunities for many food products of both countries in each market, which will reduce geographical and trade barriers in the years to come, win – win situation due to a future trade agreement between both the economies.
The trends and behaviour of the Indian consumer, mainly of those that conforms to the millennials segment, have opened a great opportunity for new foods in this market, mainly for products with nutraceutical and functional characteristics that contribute to improve the quality of life of the consumers. Within this framework, Peru has launched the brand ‘Superfoods Peru’ promoting the consumption of Peruvian foods with exceptional nutritional value, such as maca, quinoa, cocoa, asparagus, grapes, avocados, purple corn, among others, some of them already in the India market, while others are expected to be available to the final consumers, very soon.
According to the World Travel Awards, for six years on a road, Peru is the World´s Culinary Destination. Our country imports from India 100 per cent of the cumin seeds consumed by our market and there is a great expectation for another group of spices that is quite unknown in our market. Peruvian gastronomy has always been characterised by merging several styles and cultures. We expect that Indian ingredients as your spices, will contribute to the enrichment of our extraordinary cuisine. In the same way, as rice is part of our daily diet, Indian rice, mainly basmati now allowed to be imported by Peruvians from India, would have an important opportunity in the Peruvian market. We expect that the trade relation of the food industry between Peru and India has a long and promising way to go.
Which are the main Peru food imports into India? Which regions of India are the main markets for Peru products?
Peru is a country specialised in the production of extraordinary quality products of the food industry. Some of these have already been consolidated within the Indian market, while others are on the way to be part of our new projects and finally of the Indian market preferences.
Our products are now in the most important cities in India. Our initial efforts for the positioning of our products in this market, runs toward the segment of consumers who are frequent buyers of organised retail chains located in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, among others, but, now some of our products are offered in different parts of India, gradually positioning in the preferences of Indian consumers.
To mention some of the main Peruvian foods already in the Indian market, from December to May you can find Peruvian Red Globe grapes that are since some years back, a product of the Indian market preference. We are the second largest exporter of grapes to India, only after the US.
Peruvian quinoa is also another product that could be found in almost all the major cities and markets in India. This amazing Peruvian grain has a superior quality compared with those produced in any other part of the world. This is because Peru is the center of origin of this grain and nature has been responsible of the improvement of the number of varieties that grow in our country, with different sizes, shapes, colours and incredible taste, appreciated by the most important chefs and restaurants worldwide, without the characteristic bitter of those unimproved varieties that are growing in other countries.
We are also supplying cocoa beans to the Indian chocolate industry. According to our perspective and the efforts displayed by our office, we expect also to grow in our exports of this product to India in the short term. The main reason is the increasing of chocolate consumption in India and the sophistication of your consumers, that in the last years are seeking for new alternatives and experiences for their palates. Peru has a wide variety of cocoas due to its extraordinary climate and richness of its soils, internationally recognised for their flavour and aroma. Many chocolates produced in Peru have won international awards.There are many other Peruvian foods that can be found in Indian markets such as fresh asparagus, avocados and maca powder and extraordinary natural energiser.
What are the challenges faced with regard to Indian supply chain logistics and warehousing?
The superior quality of Peruvian Superfoods is one of the competitive advantages that have helped in the positioning of our products in the main markets of the world. It is our objective to introduce and position our superfoods in this market but making them reach the consumer in the best conditions while preserving their freshness and nutritional value.
In this sense, those logistical aspects related to the supply chain and storage are fundamental to guarantee the maintenance of quality of our products in the Indian market. So first of all, we have identified those products that have a long shelf life, analysing their corresponding perishability according to the current regulations of time of life at the moment of being imported, in order to guarantee that these foods can reach the market. In second place, for those perishable products, we have been working together with the largest importers in order to guarantee the corresponding cold storage and rapid distribution of the products in the main retail chains.
Any wishlist from the Government of India?
During 2017 the Departments of Plant Protection, Ministries of Agriculture of India and Peru during bilateral meetings in Delhi and Lima had generated an approach in order to work on improving of import conditions for our products as well as granting market access for fruits, vegetables and grains, establishing of phytosanitary import requirements.
Thanks to this approach, India is looking to get from the Peruvian Government better conditions for the access of basmati rice, grains, as well as mango fruits, grains of amaranth, peanuts, pomegranates and gherkins.
Any other agricultural products Peru plans to export to India?
The launch of the brand ‘Superfoods Peru’ is a promotional activity which is accompanied by a parallel impulse to achieve access to the Indian market fulfilling the conditions established by the Department of Plant Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture of India. In this regard, we are expecting to finish the process for the corresponding phytosanitary requirements for the entry of our blueberries and tangerines into the Indian market.
In the meanwhile, the Commercial Office of Peru in India will continue executing all our planned promotional activities looking for the increasing of our exports to India of mentioned products such as avocados, grapes, coffee, cocoa, asparagus and Amazonian nuts.