Blog: Dean BestChile must do more to reap potential

Dean Best | 12 April 2007

Pop quiz – which foods are synonymous with Chile? Uh-huh, thought so. Hallmarks of Chilean cuisine hardly trip off just-food’s tongue either – until last night (11 April) that is, when we were invited to the Chilean Ambassador’s residence in London.

just-food, along with fellow members of the UK-based food press, went along to sample a range of Chilean dishes as guests of Pro Chile, a government agency charged with promoting the country’s products worldwide.

What became clear is that Chile has potentially strong positions in a number of sectors – but the Chilean food industry has perhaps not done enough to shout about its culinary prowess.

Did you know, for instance, that Chile is the second-largest producer of farmed salmon in the world? Me neither. What’s more, here in the UK, we have the Chilean season to thank for us Brits being able to buy avocados all year round.

It could be argued that most of South America has something of an identity problem when it comes to European consumer recognition of the continent’s signature foods. At least, however, Argentina has its steak.

Perhaps the Chilean food sector should tread a similar path to the country’s wine producers and set up dedicated promotional bodies that are based in key markets. Wines of Chile, for example, has offices in markets including the UK and the US and has played a vital role in boosting consumer awareness – and sales – of the country’s wines.

Food is central to the health of Chilean trade. More than half of all Chilean exports to the UK are food and wine. Chilean Gastronomic Week, which is taking place in the UK from 23-29 April, is an ideal time to start that promotional push.


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