Peru's principal pasta producer, Alicorp, has registered trademarks with the Chilean authorities in preparation for building a factory within the next few years.

General manager Leslie Pierce said that although the company "is not ready to begin operations abroad, we are trying to get ready for the next phase in our plan, which will be expansion into neighboring countries like Chile and Bolivia."

Alicorp already exports its pasta products to Chile under the Don Vittorio and Sorrento brand names, currently accounting for 6% of the pasta market in Santiago. The company, which has an annual turnover of US$450m, also exports its products to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Annually, the Chilean pasta sector is worth nearly US$115m, with Chileans consuming a huge average of 120,000 tons of pasta.

By Steve Anderson, just-food.com correspondent