Sausage sales for Chile's Cecinas Llanquihue  reached US$30m in 2000, Managing Director Enrique Modinger announced earlier this week. This is an increase of 17.1% on 1999.

Based in the country's southern Region X, this family-owned company is one of Chile's key producers of cured and sausage meat. In 2000 it produced 7,300 tons of sausages, 5.3% more than in 1999.

The company is currently investigating the Argentine market and "the conversations are well advanced, principally with Jumbo [supermarket]," Modinger said.

The company sees potential in the Argentine market, given that per capita consumption of cured and sausage meat is only 7 kilos in that country, compared to 15 kilos per capita in Chile.

Llanquihue now has to analyze Argentine health and safety controls imposed on imports following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in that country.

Llanquihue's products are aimed at the wealthier classes (ABC1).  The range includes 150 types of sausages, with frankfurters (vienesa) and spicy pork sausages (longaniza) the most popular.

By Steve Anderson, correspondent