Until recently, US demand for ginger was strong and little product was offered. However, prices have softened as the new crop Chinese ginger has hit the market. West Coast prices from China amount to about $40 CNF per 30 lbs. In addition, Brazil is beginning to ship and airfreight ginger is $18.50 FOB. By the second week of June, the country will start shipping by ocean containers. Peru complements the list of top three ginger suppliers to the USA.
While the ginger crop in the jungle growing areas of Peru is looking nice, no harvest conditions have been witnessed yet. As a result, no real price information is available. “Around June 15, we should start to see the first containers shipping out,” says Joseph Hymel with Happy Veg. At the moment, the company has a team of ginger hunters searching the mountain valleys daily for product. They search in the main ginger producing region Junin, which includes the area in and around the Pichanaqui, Rio Negro, and Satipo. Increasingly, ginger is being sourced in Mazamari and the Pangoa area as well.
What are the expectations for this upcoming season? “Compared to last season, we know that less ginger is in the ground waiting to be harvested this year,” shared Hymel. “With the price of ginger being as low as it was last season, many farmers were hurt and decided to move into harvesting coffee as it generates a higher price per kilogram while it is less labor intensive.”
Given that ginger volumes are projected to be lower this season, prices are expected to increase significantly. “Usually, from the beginning of January until the end of the season in April the price increases regardless.” This increase is caused by less ginger being in the ground towards the end of the season. As a result, supply decreases and is unable to meet demand. Many buyers shun paying higher prices for Peruvian ginger when cheaper Brazilian and Chinese product is available.
“However, when comparing Peruvian quality to other ginger growing countries, Peruvian ginger is richer in flavor and the darker interior color makes it superior,” said Hymel. “As many consumers have become aware of Peruvian ginger compared to the bigger hand varieties from China and Brazil, they change their desire and Peruvian ginger becomes their number 1 choice.”
Peru’s ginger season typically lasts from mid-June until the first or second week of April. “However, climate plays a huge role in the length of the season. In 2022 for instance, we continued to ship ginger halfway through the month of May due to larger supplies,” said Hymel. During a heavy rainy season, it becomes more challenging getting the ginger out of the ground and transporting it down the treacherous mountain roads.”
Happy Veg’s Peruvian ginger is mainly shipped to the USA and Europe. Within Europe, the majority of volume goes to the Netherlands where it’s redistributed throughout the European continent in smaller quantities. In addition to the Netherlands, full ocean containers make their way into many other parts of Europe. “The past couple of seasons, logistics were impacted by vessel space challenges and ocean container shortages, impacting the volume of perishables shipped out of Chile and Argentina,” Hymel said. Over the last few months, he has seen some of the challenges clear up.
While ginger is Happy Veg’s main product offering, the company also ships full ocean containers of pure cold pressed ginger, turmeric, and lime juice. “These are superior quality juices with much stronger flavors when comparing it to other juices that are made from other globally sourced raw materials,” said Hymel.
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