Peruvian asparagus imports look strong for PAIA's 20th anniversary
Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association members expect a high-volume, successful asparagus season. The association’s importer and related industry members have worked diligently through the past year to ensure seamless and consistent supply for the 2021 season.
Jay Rodriguez of Crystal Valley Foods and PAIA co-chair said all parts of the supply chain have been affected by the pandemic. “One advantage that we always have with Peru no matter the circumstance or year is that we can bring in product year round, not just during peak seasons,” he said. “It is a reliable source 52 weeks a year, and we make sure to always have Peruvian asparagus to supplement other sourcing regions throughout the year.”
Walter Yager, CEO of Alpine Fresh and PAIA co-chair, said Peru’s year-round availability assures customers and their consumers of the freshest asparagus with consistent supply: “It is a reliable source 52 weeks a year and we make sure to always have Peruvian asparagus.”
Peruvian fresh asparagus volume continues to grow, year-over-year, providing sufficient volume for retail promotions. Peru’s growth in volume year over year has held steady for the last three years, according to Priscilla Lleras-Bush, PAIA executive director.
According to the USDA, U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus increased from 199.7 million pounds in 2018 to 201.2 million pounds 2019, and then to 206.5 million pounds in 2020.
Rodriguez expects steady supply, especially from the southern part of Peru, which is typically heavier in volume. “Volume will be similar to last year,” he said. “However, we believe to see increases in imports because we have seen an increase in asparagus demand in the U.S.”
This September, PAIA celebrates 20 years as an organization. On Sept. 5, 2001, a group of Peruvian asparagus importers met to discuss critical issues for the future well being of the Peruvian asparagus import deal. “During the meeting, the need for a formal association including all Peruvian asparagus importers was agreed upon and Solutions Associates agreed to serve as coordinator,” said Lleras-Bush. “Since then, the association has grown in membership, including trusted industry service providers, and has created a solid platform for importers and industry service providers to collaborate and advance the fresh asparagus trade.”
PAIA’s website offers news and PAIA’s Category Management Plan, which contains information to help retailers better analyze the fresh asparagus business. “Within the plan retailers will locate the best buying trends, highlights and demographics that assist them in selling more asparagus — one of the most nutritious vegetables for United States consumers year round,” said Lleras-Bush.