Preserves: the value of organic is strong in the foreign market

24 Jul 2020

Gourmet food products may be the ace up its sleeve to stand out in the world and position Argentina as a major producer and exporter.

Gourmet products once again gain prominence within the agri-food sector, which contributes 65% of total Argentine exports. It is a federal sector made up of regional economies and practically made up of PYMEs.

Preserves, jams, olive oils, dressings, infusions and other great variety of products are within a category that sustains their demand, both in the domestic and international markets. This is the case of the company Nuestro Manos, from Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, founded by Igor Baratoff and his wife, Marcela Mayorga.

She was born in January 2001 as an alternative to family income, despite the fact that the couple had another metier (he, a Computer Systems engineer, and she, a meteorologist). “We wanted to continue the Mendoza family tradition of making preserves and jams in an artisanal way,” they say. Every summer, jams, peaches in syrup and half tomatoes were made for their own consumption, all in small batches of preserves.

“Over the years we have expanded our establishment by creating and expanding our product line and always using fresh, mature and excellent quality raw materials from the Mendoza oases”, they add. Today the product line is made up of hand-peeled organic peaches in syrup, organic jams, tomato pulp and sugar-free blueberry pulp, among others. “All the products are 100% natural without added preservatives or chemical additives,” says Baratoff. As of 2015, they made the decision to add value to the products through certifications such as gluten-free, organic and kosher foods, in addition to incorporating traceability due to the increasing demand of different market niches. They also obtained the Argentine Food Seal granted by the Ministry of Agroindustry of the Nation for tangible foods with added value and are part of the Argentine Movement for Organic Production (MAPO).

Crossing borders and internationalizing the company was his next goal. “Through trips and participation in international exhibitions, we arrived with our products at SIAL in Paris; ExpoNatural West, in Anaheim, California; ExpoAlimentaria in Lima, Peru; reverse business rounds and local exhibitions. Also, by being part of MAPO, we were able to meet other organic manufacturing companies and primary producers. That allowed us to show ourselves as a company, connect with others, learn and be where we need to be. Today the confinement finds us in meetings by Zoom with potential clients from abroad, sending samples, and emails”.

“With all these actions we realized that we had products with great added value to offer to the world: artisanal, tasty, like the grandmother did, 100% natural, handmade, organic, gluten-free, sustainable”, highlights Baratoff .

But exporting food products is not easy in Argentina. His first export was to Mexico, on demand. “It took us almost 1 year between new product registrations and registrations. We understood that internationalizing the company is a process and being a small SME the effort is twofold. The rewarding reward is to see your product around the world.” Remember: “We had palletized 5 pallets (wooden pallet) and we realized when we loaded the truck that they did not have the phytosanitary treatment required to export or their certificate. We had to run to get them and then disassemble the pallets and put them back together. “

They export 20% of their products to Mexico, the United States, Canada, Israel and Brazil, and they plan to triple their exports so far this year. “Personally, I think that a country with stability, with perseverance and clear long-term policies is what we need. It would lower uncertainty and enhance growth, development, investment. Covid-19 found us, back in March, in full swing harvest and production of our products. We redoubled our efforts and worked more, but we were able to adapt and overcome it. We continue to look to the future “, concludes Baratoff.

Sourcee: La Nación