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The Netherlands surpasses the United States as a destination
Costa Rica: Exports of fruit purees and paste increase
Costa Rican exports of fruit purees and pastes have soared in the last three years, from $22 million in 2013 to $81 million last year, according to data obtained from the 2016 statistical yearbook of the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer).
In the first four months of this year (January-April), the value of sales of these products was already at $32.4 million, according to figures requested from that entity.
These products are classified by Procomer under the preserved tropical fruits heading, except for their honey juice.
The growth of the value of exports began to experience a very strong and constant rebound starting 2014, according to the data published in Procomer's yearbook.
Karina López, Procomer Market Research Coordinator, said that the main product shipped abroad by Costa Rica in this area was the banana puree.
She also said that the behavior of sales was closely associated with the consumer trend in many countries, particularly in Europe, to prefer foods with natural contents and fruit derivatives that don't have other components.
In that way, Lopez added, yogurt makers, jams, juices and other food presentations became major buyers of tropical fruit purees and pastes.
These products, which are made out of banana, pineapple, blackberry and other fruits, are then used as natural ingredients by the industries that buy them in the destination countries.
According to Procomer, last year Costa Rica sold these products to 38 different countries and through six exporting companies.
Among the leading companies in the sector are Gerber Ingredients SA, Compañía Mundimar SA, Fructa CR SA, and Frutilight, SA
One of the most relevant aspects of the puree industry is that it uses fruits with excellent quality but that can't be exported in fresh because they present minimal deformities or because they have sharp blows caused in the harvest and transport towards the packing plants.
Regarding markets, there has been a strong growth in the value of sales to Belgium, which went from virtually nothing in 2012 to $12.26 million last year, according to data from Procomer.
Currently, the main market is the Netherlands, which surpassed the United States as a destination since 2015. In 2016, the Netherlands preserved tropical fruits purchases amounted to $28 million, followed by the United States with $26.7 million, and Belgium with the aforementioned $12.26 million.
Poland and Spain follow with purchases of $3.96 million and $3.43 million, respectively.
Sales on the rise
A market study by Procomer found that the trend to use products with no preservatives, no additives, low added sugar, and low calorie and fat for yogurt, ice cream and juice presentations, favored the growth in demand for tropical fruit pastes and purees.
Some markets also have tendency to look for exotic flavors in the presentation of these foods.
That's why they are looking for bananas and other tropical fruits, like passion fruit, mango, and pineapple.
Publication date: 7/4/2017
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