Costa Rica studies exporting fruit to Canada

 From AM Costa Rica – The Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter has studied the exotic fruit market in Canada and said it has concluded that the country has the opportunity to market these products in that country.

According to the study, Canadian fruit buyers consider the appearance, price, quality and color of the fruit, so freshness and competitive price are essential when it comes to targeting this market. In addition, if the consumer does not know how to consume the product or if a buyer sees a color outside the range of normal they prefer not to buy it.

This means that it is vital to have promotion strategies focused on providing information on the use, preparation, and nutritional properties of exotic fruits, said the trade promoter. There are several ethnic communities in Canada – Asian, Caribbean, and Latin – that could be the initial purchasers of otherwise exotic fruits, it added.

In the case of processed foods made from exotic fruits, this is dominated mainly by Asian brands with low prices, the trade promoter said.

Data from statistics in Canada say that the country imported $175 million in fresh fruits from Costa Rica in 2017, mainly pineapple (49 percent) and bananas (46 percent), said the promotional agency. Papaya occupies the fourth place with 1 percent participation.

Meanwhile, Costa Rican exports of exotic fruits accounted for 0.1 percent of the total fresh fruit sold in Canada in 2017 and declined 4 percent from 2013 to 2017, the trade promoter said.

Rambutan, known in the country as mammon chino, is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia that has spread over almost all continents and provides various health benefits.

For Marta Esquivel, director of the trade promoter, Costa Rica needs to recover the export volumes of papaya and rambutan that it had in Canada in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by this market.

Esquivel noted that Costa Rican exporters can choose to sell to importers, wholesalers and distributors, many of whom are based at the Ontario Food Terminal, which functions as a stock exchange for fruits and vegetables, with changes in prices based on supply and demand, with representatives or local brokers, with the aim of accessing contacts of food chains or supermarkets.

Profile of the ethnic consumer, according to the promoter:

* The consumption of exotic fruits is rooted in the Asian immigrant population and a small Latin segment. Statistics from Canada project that by 2031, ethnic buyers will account for 31 percent of total consumers. Nielsen estimates that retail sales of ethnic foods reached $ 3.8 billion in 2017.

* The consumer acquires exotic fruits mainly in low-priced ethnic supermarkets but conventional supermarkets are incorporating exotic fruits in their shelves to attract a greater number of customers, which are gradually adding to their shopping cart.

* The ethnic consumer, mostly from Southeast Asia (main market for exotic fruit consumption) is focused on the quality, price, appearance and color of the fruit and not so much in itself has certifications such as organic or Good Practices Agricultural, among others.

* The Canadian consumer is moving to a healthier diet, in the search for disease prevention, which has stimulated the demand for food products (including exotic fruits) with high nutritional values.

This study strengthens the possibility for domestic producers to direct their products to a new Canadian consumer market, said the trade promoter.

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