The Washington Apple Commission in Mexico hopes to boost sales by capitalizing on both the country’s limited knowledge of the available varieties and its desire to discover new flavors for its cooking.
Speaking at the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Connections: Mexico event, Commission representative Juan Carlos Moreira told www.freshfruitportal.com about plans to increase consumption by educating people about apples and how they can be used.
“The Washington Apple Commission has been tasked to raise the per capital consumption of apples in Mexico and Central America. Our main goal over the last 10 years has been to teach people about the new varieties,” he said.
Red Delicious and Golden Delicious are traditionally the most popular varieties in Mexico. However, the recent introduction of the Gala variety has been able to stabilize the market and has grown increasingly popular over the last decade.
Moreira said he hoped to further increase the appeal of apples in Mexico by promoting them as TV snacks, and showing people that they could be eaten with traditional flavors- chili, salt and lime.
“Now we have the World Cup coming up, we are partnering with chili, salt and lime flavoring companies to create good combinations of tastes,” he said.
“Buy my Granny Smith apples, add chili, salt and lime, and you have yourself a healthy snack you can sit and watch the soccer with. It is something that everyone can eat, from grandfathers to children.”
The Commission is currently conducting campaigns in supermarkets, supply centers and in consumer communications.
“Our main goal is for the importers to rotate its apple inventory more frequently, and at the same time we will be suggesting new ways to eat them,” Moreira said.
“More recipes will be created along with new ways in which they can be used. But above all, we want the apple to gain a reputation as a healthy snack.”
Moreira went on to discuss how apples are also being well received as an ingredient that can be added to other meals like desserts and salads.
“They are going down very well to make desserts like apple strudel, apple pie, and using it as an everyday ingredient in food and salads. A little apple adds a sour taste and it gives you a completely different flavor,” he explained.
It will have several sections, such as “Apple Notes”, which will show readers different varieties of the fruit, and a recipe section where a different recipe will be published for each month of the year.
“There will be, for example, roast beef or spiced medallions with potatoes and apple. We want to include a new source of natural fiber and original flavor combinations to Mexican cuisine,” he said.
“People are looking for recipes to make food more exciting in their homes. We will provide recipes that are developed by professional chefs, but with ingredients that can easily be found at the supermarket. So hopefully they can make a meal in under 30 minutes that is tasty, healthy, nutritious, and easy to prepare.”
Moreira also represents Northwest Cherries in the U.S. According to him, Chilean cherries arrive in Mexico from November to January, while those from California are available right now, from May till June, and Northwestern U.S. cherries arrive in June, July and August.
“At the most, our cherries are available for about 80-90 days of the year, and Northwestern cherries are the best in the world,” he declared.
According to Moreira, cherries that come from the Northwest have the best possible conditions for production.
“We have cherry varieties like Bing and Rainier. The Rainier is not as red, but it is very sweet, while Bing, Lapins and Sweetheart are red and sweet,” he said.
Moreira also explained how fresh cherries face a major barrier in the local market in Mexico due to very few people having ever eaten them before.
“We have a very big limitation, in that 70% of our market has not yet tried fresh cherries and don’t know their wonderful explosion of flavor,” he said.
In an effort to remedy the situation, Moreira said the Commission is doing cherry tastings at the entrances of stores, so people walk into the shop with a cherry in their mouth.
“They will taste it, feel the unique explosion of taste this fruit can offer and they will say ‘I want more’, but it’s not just about pleasure, as the cherry has high levels of antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties and nutrients that aid the immune system,” he said.