GourmetBA: Argentina Food & Beverage Goes Upscale

Patrick Archer agribusiness, entrepreneurs

Pampa Gourmet Aderezos

From modest beginnings in 2004, Pampa Gourmet dressings are now sold in all major hipermercados.

As international cuisine is more prevalent and local palates evolve, the demand for high-end food and beverage offerings is growing in Argentina.

And while the world’s fifth-largest food producer exports the bulk of its gourmet food and premium wine, Cronista’s Daniela Villaro says in-country demand is booming with Argentine PyMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) rushing to fill the void.

Rising domestic demand is good news for Argentine producers considering the global financial crisis slowed export demand dramatically since 2009. European producers lowered their prices, EU governments subsidized those products and neighboring Brazilians began to import more European products: a chain reaction that eroded market share in one of Argentina’s most important gourmet export destinations.

Argentine PyMEs like salad dressing maker Soz are having much more success in Argentina today than even 3 or 4 years ago. “When we started out, the supermarket aisles had no gourmet products, because they had stopped importing them. That got our attention and we seized the opportunity,” says Soz co-founder Hernan Garcia. The company expects to generate revenue of $1.7 million this year, and 65% of that total will be from domestic sales.

Premium alfajores, another gourmet segment mentioned in Daniela Villaro’s article, have become a profitable niche for companies like Balcarce, while others see good upside in segments like monofloral honey and non-traditional, flavored jams and jellies. And for established gourmet brands like premium ice-cream maker Chungo, the key is co-branding and putting your good name on other premium products like Agua Chungo (Gota water) and Chungo dulce de leche (La Salamandra).

In conclusion, the biggest challenge for gourmet producers is securing distribution channels, writes Villaro. For that reason, gourmet PyMEs are banding together in certain regions of the country. The most successful example to date comes from the City of Santa Rosa where several Pampa producers incorporated and opened their own retail store. (Full Story in Spanish)

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