Exports of Peruvian asparagus to the US are expected to increase this season on the back of a bumper crop, with production forecast to jump 10 per cent on 2008/09.
To take advantage of the crop's potential in the US, the Peruvian Asparagus Importer's Association (PAIA) has been working and partnering with retailers on synergies to boost promotions and sales for the vegetable in stores.
As part of this drive, PAIA is focusing asparagus promotions on providing a commodity that gives US consumers a healthy product and a meal solution, highlighting the vegetable's nutritional benefits.
"The key to a successful year for Peruvian fresh asparagus will be promotional space on shelves and advertising flyers, because consumers in the US have become more price-sensitive so there has been an intensity of competition for shelf-space at retailer levels," said Matt DeCarlo, west coast co-chairman of PAIA. "So there will need to be greater concentration in terms of pricing and captivating the efforts and direction of major retailers to the availability and profitability of Peruvian asparagus."
John-Campbell Barmmer, director of marketing at Chestnut Hill Farms and co-chairman of PAIA, agreed that a great deal of success will depend on retailer cooperation in promoting asparagus, as well as market pricing.
The association is planning a range of promotional activities to spread the word on Peruvian asparagus during 2009/10, including features in trade press, advertisements, direct communication and trade show participation.
According to PAIA, since 2004 the per capita consumption has remained steady at 1.1lbs per person per year, and has increased 37 per cent since 1998.