Latin America to benefit from U.S. food service changes -

Latin America to benefit from U.S. food service changes

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Latin America to benefit from U.S. food service changes

Fruit exporters in Argentina and Chile expect to find new U.S. opportunities with more food chains introducing healthier menus.

In a bid to tackle obesity levels and appeal to consumer trends, chains like Wendy's and Subway have introduced healthier foods like salads with berries and large avocado portions on sandwiches

Argentine Blueberry Committee manager Inés Pelaez has told the success of blueberries in Wendy's salads has extended opportunities for exporters, no matter what time of the year.

"Certainly all efforts aimed at increased consumption of blueberries are beneficial for the countries that produce the fruit," she says.

"In our country the consumption of blueberries is restricted. Our country is a net producer."

"The challenge is to generate enough confidence that our country can supply blueberries to the U.S. in the times they require, to satisfy the demand of consumers."

Chilean Blueberry Committee manager Andrew Armstrong, says the opportunity is not just for Chile but also growers from the Northern Hemisphere.

"There are food service chains who are unable to have seasonal produce on their menus. When you build supply during the whole year, then it's possible these chains can incorporate products like blueberries, a product that with production in different parts of the world today can be available throughout the year," he says.

Decofrut president Manuel José Alcaíno, says avocado consumption is increasing in the U.S. and sandwich chain Subway has responded.

"What's interesting is that penetration is beyond the call of ethnic consumption that is represented by the Mexicans and Latinos in the U.S.," he says.

"The opportunity for avocadoes from Chile and Peru is also evident, however I believe the function of supplying the fast food chains should be done in conjunction with American distributors that have the facilities to ripen the fruit and deliver the ready product to the consumer.

"It opens a new marketing channel but is complex to supply and requires sophisticated logistics."

Chilean Hass Avocado Committee chairman Adolfo Ochagavía, says the option to encourage the fruit on sandwiches is something that needs to be promoted outside of Chile.

"We're accustomed to the reality of our country, in which practically all sandwiches have avocado added, but for foreigners this is not commonly found," he says.

"It's difficult to change the habits of people and we need perseverance, so we need to treat the consumption of avocado on the sandwich as an overarching objective for the different industries of the world."

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