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Perishables and flavors from China to Peru and back

Blog post   •   Sep 04, 2018 17:34 CEST

China is turning to Peru (and others) to appease its growing appetite for fresh fruits and vegetables. (Photo by hao ji on Unsplash)

China’s appetite for fresh produce is growing rapidly, and to appease it the country with the world’s largest population is sourcing perishables from all over the world. To a great extent, China’s growing appetite will be fed by South America. Take Peru for example: China imported almost 40 million kilos of agricultural products, with a value of USD 126 million, from Peru in 2017. Some of the key exports to China include grapes, mangoes, citrus fruits, avocados and blueberries.

And Peruvian exports of perishables to China are expected to increase in the coming years. Year-to-date and compared to the entire year of 2017, Panalpina alone has already tripled perishables exports from Peru to China.

With Peru’s 90 different micro-climates that allow farmers to grow virtually anything year-round, the country is working to gain approval to supply even more food items to China, such as pomegranates, quinoa and figs. These new food products will add to the growth of the trade.

But the perishables trade between China and Peru has a long history of cultural exchange. The exponential growth we see today is just the most recent development in a 200-year-old relationship between Peru, China and food. 

Peru: a culinary delight

Peru is one of the latest darlings of the culinary world. And for good reason: the Peruvians have effortlessly fused cooking styles and flavors from around the world with their own.

One of the earliest and most notable infusions to Peruvian cuisine came from China in the mid- to late-1800s with the arrival of Chinese laborers. They introduced traditional flavors and ingredients from China, such as ginger, scallions and soy sauce, while incorporating local produce such as bananas, pineapples, potatoes and berries, creating something entirely new. “Chifa” as it is known today is a marriage of Chinese and Peruvian flavors and deeply rooted in the culture.

Meet Panalpina in Hong Kong at stand 3P01, Hall 3 of Asia Fruit Logistica to see what our team members from both countries have to say about this exchange.

Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place where Peruvians get creative. Find out here how a non-native crop became one of Peru’s top exports – and how a perishables customer became a managing director for Panalpina.