Country Profile

Peru Country Profile

Jump to Section

U.S. Export Opportunities in Peru

Market Overview

Focus Economics reported on March 17, 2020 that turning to the first quarter of this year, the pace of expansion in Peru seems to have accelerated but remained modest overall.  Public capital spending surged in January-February, underpinning acceleration in economic activity in January.  However, exports fell back in the first month of 2020, while concerns over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak seem to have filtered into survey-based data, as hinted by the sizable drop in business confidence registered in February, and will most likely weigh on the external sector in the near-term.

Focus Economics added that growth should gain some traction this year, on the back of stronger domestic demand and improved external sector metrics.  A more expansionary fiscal and monetary stance looks set to support the expansion.  Moreover, subdued inflation and decent wage growth are expected to boost consumer spending.  The impact of coronavirus and political uncertainty cloud the outlook, however.  FocusEconomics panelists see the gross domestic product (GDP) expanding 2.8% in 2020, which is down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 3.4% in 2021.

  • Peru’s economy decelerated somewhat in 2019.  Real GDP was 2.1% in 2019– down from 4% in 2018.
  • The real value of private final consumption rose by 3.8% in 2018 and gains of 2.9% are expected in 2019.  The sound growth of employment and the availability of financing should support the growth of private consumption.
  • Unemployment was 12.8% in 2017 and it will fall to 12.5% in 2018.  The government created more than 150,000 jobs in 2018.  More than 60% of all workers are employed in the informal sector.
  • Over the medium-term, the economy should expand solidly, driven by strong domestic demand and continued foreign sales of commodities.  Private final consumption will be stimulated by employment growth, relatively low inflationary pressures, and rising wages.

The government’s reform agenda should also gain momentum.  A crucial project will be the construction of a road between Peru’s Pacific coast and Brazil. Peruvian officials predict that the road will add one percentage point to GDP.  Although many Peruvians are certainly poor, a thriving middle class has also developed.  These consumers are reshaping the country’s national pattern of consumption.  This emerging middle class has been consistently underestimated because the primary sources of income emanate from the informal sector.

Peru’s population was 31.9 million in 2020 (Cis World Factbook Est.).  The country has added 6.1 million people since 2000 but the rate of growth is slowing.  The population is expected to be about 36 million in 2030.  The median age was 29.1 years in 2020 – up to 6.4 years since 2000.  It should rise to 34.3 years by 2030.   More than half of all Peruvians live near the coast – most of them in Lima.  Only around 13% of the total population lives in the country’s vast region of rainforests.

USDA’s Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) in Lima hereinafter referred to as “Post” reports that for over a decade, Peru has been one of the world’s top-performing economies, registering sustained high growth accompanied by low inflation.  U.S. origin food and agricultural product exports to Peru benefit significantly from the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). The U.S., with a market share of almost 22% is a top supplier of consumer-oriented food products to Peru.

Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are all members of a trade agreement known as the Pacific Alliance.  The treaty has removed tariffs on 90% of their merchandise trade.  Peru is a member of the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which was formally created in March 2018. The CPTPP replaces the abandoned Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The U.S. was not included in the CPTPP.  Peru is a member of a number of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that have opened new markets for its exports and increased demand for imported goods.  This openness to international trade and Peru’s growing middle class has transformed domestic food market channels.  The number of commercial centers in Peru increased from seven in 2000 to 82 in 2019.

Peru is now the 3rd largest export market for U.S. consumer food products. In 2019 the total was US$313.5 million, an increase of 18% and a new record high.  Peru also ranks 3rd as a market for U.S. processed food exports.  In 2019 Peru imported US$244.2 million, a decrease of 8% from 2018.  Top processed food exports from the U.S. to Peru in 2019 included:

  • Processed/Prepared Dairy Products
  • Food Preparations
  • Prepared/Preserved Meats
  • Chocolate And Confectionery
  • Fats and Oils
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • Dog and Cat Food
  • Snack Foods

Advantages and Challenges for U.S. Food Exporters in Peru

Advantages

  • The U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement grants duty-free access to two-thirds of all U.S.-origin food and agricultural products, including high-value food products.
  • An active supermarket industry that is promoting increased demand for high-value food products.
  • Growth of new supermarket outlets and convenience stores in Lima’s suburbs and other cities.
  • Appreciation for U.S. food quality and culture.
  • Untapped categories such as refrigerated and frozen products.
  • Increased health consciousness among the Peruvian population.
  • Dynamic growth in the foodservice and food processing sectors.

Challenges

  • Traditional channel remains as the most important for consumers.
  • Preference to buy fresh produce in traditional markets.
  • Modern Retail Channel (supermarkets and convenience stores) accounts for only 25% of the retail food market share in Lima and 18 percent in the provinces.
  • New local food brands are appearing in the market at very low prices.
  • Provincial supermarkets are supplied by Lima-based companies.
  • Lack of brand awareness among some consumers.
  • Market access demands higher marketing costs.
  • Domestic producers manufacture more affordable products according to local taste preferences.
  • Cumbersome sanitary registration processes delay the entrance of new food products.

“All of Food Export’s programs were a tremendous help getting us export ready, understanding the challenges that come with international business, and learning how to navigate them.”

Katz Gluten Free

Food Export-Northeast Participant since 2018       

Interested in importing from U.S. suppliers?
Contact us to learn more.

Retail Sector

According to Euromonitor, retail sales in the packaged food market in Peru had been estimated to reach US$8.8 billion in 2019.  That represents a growth rate of 19.6% or US$1.4 billion since 2015.  The forecast for growth in this market is also promising.  By the year 2024, the retail sales in the packaged food market in Peru is expected to reach US$11.6 billion, a growth rate of nearly 24%, or US$2.2 billion.  High growth products in the forecast include:

  • Ready Meals
  • Sweet Biscuits, Snack Bars, and Fruit Snacks
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Processed Meat and Seafood
  • Ice cream and frozen dessert
  • Processed fruit and vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Rice, pasta, and noodles

Post reports that compared to other countries in the region, Peru’s food retail market is still in the growth stage.  In 2019, retail food sales were projected to grow at 4.7%, reaching US$22 billion by the end of the year.  Projected sales in 2019 are based on the maturity of new stores, the development of convenience store formats, and aggressive discounting campaigns that encourage sales.  The sector is comprised of two sub-sectors: modern (supermarket stores, convenience stores, discount stores, cash & carry) and traditional (open markets, mom-and-pop stores).  U.S. consumer-oriented products are primarily imported by and sold in modern retail channels.  This channel is expanding rapidly and accounts for 25% of the market.

There are three main supermarket chains in Peru: Cencosud (Wong and Metro), Saga Fallabella (Tottus and Hiperbodega Precio Uno) and Supermercados Peruanos (Vivanda, Plaza Vea, and Mass). The market includes 259 conventional supermarkets and superstores (179 of which are located in Lima) and 640 convenience stores (two of which are located outside of Lima). 

Euromonitor reports that during 2019, Wong, owned by Cencosud, remained the leading retail brand within supermarkets in value terms, and saw a slight increase in its share, despite maintaining the same number of outlets.  To achieve this, the company used the strategy of frequent promotions on basic need products, attracting customers to its stores and reducing the perception that it has high prices.  In addition, the company reinforced its Bonus Card loyalty program, which allows members to accumulate points on a card, offering specific coupons for each customer.  This helps encourage customers to buy products they may not have intended to buy before receiving the coupon, in addition to creating the feeling of receiving a special discount for being a regular customer.  The brand also implemented self-service payments to make the purchasing process faster. Such features are allowing the company to monetize its selling space.

Regional supermarket Franco Retail, “The family supermarket”, continues to grow, and arrived in Lima with the opening of a new store carrying 12,000 products in Surco.  It has managed to grow in a market-led by strong players such as the foreign companies Cencosud and Falabella and local major player InRetail.  This is thanks to the wide product variety in Franco Retail stores, personal attention and its proximity to consumers. In its new Lima store, the company even has a Self-Checkout Box, whereby customers can register and make purchases without the need for cash, debit, or credit card.  This follows a trend which was recently seen by the leading companies.

The convenience store sector has attracted reputable international players, including OXXO (Femsa Group) who entered Peru last year. With almost 20 stores in Lima, OXXO reinforces the segment currently led by Tambo+ (Lindley Corporation) which is the fastest-growing chain and with over 300 stores, holds about 90 percent of the market share. Other chains, such as Listo and Repshop, are active competitors who are typically co-located with gas stations. Listo and Repshop have about 100 stores each in Lima.

Convenience stores are a channel that is rapidly gaining ground amongst Peruvians, as players have already established wide outlet networks that meet consumers’ need for quick on-the-go purchases.  Unlike independent small grocers, convenience stores represent a more attractive self-service format, and also offer the possibility to pay with a credit card.  In addition, due to the growing competition between the two main chains, Tambo+ and Listo! convenience stores have attractive offers, sometimes with prices below those in supermarkets and independent small grocers.  The growing competition between delivery apps such as Glovo and Rappi to gain coverage in the Peruvian market has also reached convenience stores, which handle their delivery through these apps.  For instance, Tambo+ has a presence on both Glovo and Rappi, and Listo! is available on Glovo.

Tambo+ from Great Retail continued to dominate convenience stores in value terms in 2019, thanks to opening a further 80 outlets.  This contributed to a significant increase in the company’s value sales.  The brand is now looking for expansion outside Lima, in cities with more than 300,000 people.  Tambo+ attracts customers through constant promotions and a varied product offer to target the different needs of passing consumers. In many locations Tambo+ outlets are open 24 hours, which has helped the brand to see sustained success.  The company intends to differentiate from its competitors, including independent small grocers.  One way it does this is by including products such as breakfasts and lunches, ranging from sandwiches to grilled chicken, as well as combinations that consist of a drink and something to eat, such as a pie or roll; this is ideal for the growing on-the-go consumption trend.  It even offers personal sizes of spirits bottles to mix with carbonates.  For this reason, the chain has seen its sales of alcoholic drinks increase, with a peak during the month of December.

Attracted by the strong growth and excellent profit potential in convenience stores, Mexico-based FEMSA Comercio opened OXXO in the Peruvian market in October 2018.  At the end of the year, the company opened its second outlet in Lima, and by the middle of 2019, it had reached 22 outlets.  For its first two locations, the company chose areas of high pedestrian traffic, where few parking spaces are offered; very similar to the strategy used by Tambo+.  

It is expected that in parallel with its expansion, OXXO will allow banking operations in its stores, as an authorized agent, through agreements such as the one maintained in Mexico with BBVA.  This will open the door to expanding the services it offers and also captures service or transportation payments.  As for the products it sells, it also offers food combinations similar to other competitors in the market, but not only for individuals, but also for whole families, such as a whole chicken, French fries, and a large soft drink.  In order to gain a presence and address the growth of Tambo+, OXXO offers intense promotions and discounts.  The war between the two companies is exemplified by the fact that the company that owns Tambo+ is the owner of oxxo.com.pe and oxxo.pe web domains.  When consumers try to access these pages, they are automatically redirected to the Tambo+ web page.

Best Product Prospects

Post reports that U.S. products with high sales potential in this sector include:

  • Cheese
  • Chocolate and Confectionery
  • Food Preparations
  • Red Meats
  • Poultry Meats
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juice
  • Bread, Pastry, and Cookies
  • Soups and Broths
  • Sauces
  • Tree Nuts

Food Service Sector

Peru is an internationally recognized gastronomic hub with opportunities for imported complementary food products. Post forecasts Peru’s hotel, restaurant, and institutional (i.e., HRI) sector to grow 4% in 2019 based on new restaurant openings, as well as the consolidation of fast-food chains, and the expansion of commercial shopping malls.

Tourism is a strong driver of the hotel-restaurant-institutional (HRI) sector, and it represents the third largest income generator after the mining and agricultural sectors. The tourism sector has become an excellent source of foreign exchange, and a major service sector employer. According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) some 4.8 million foreigners are projected to visit Peru in 2019, generating nearly $5 billion in revenue.

Food service makes up to 18% of the total foreign tourist revenue.  Peru has over 20,000 hotels with almost a half-million beds.  High-end restaurants and hotels serve high-value U.S. consumer-oriented products (e.g., wines, cheese, beef, and pork).  Demand for U.S. food products and ingredients has benefitted from the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA).  U.S. food and agricultural product exports to Peru have doubled since the PTPA entered into force, reaching $1.4 billion in the calendar year 2018.  

In addition to the growth of independent restaurants, other formats, including food chains, have created opportunities in this sector.  The expansion of shopping centers is allowing fast-food chains and restaurants to reach new consumers.  According to the Association of Commercial Centers in Peru (ACCEP), 2019 sales will grow 12% over last year.  ACCEP also reports US$700 million in investments for mall extensions and new construction.  Fast food and casual dining restaurants leverage the popularity of shopping centers to open new outlets in Lima.  This is particularly prevalent in the northern part of the city where 25% of the population resides. A 10% growth in restaurant sales is expected due to increased demand.  Post estimates that 25% of all foodservice sales occur at shopping centers, catering to younger, time-crunched consumers.

The number of foodservice outlets continues to grow rapidly in Peru due to the expansion of shopping centers in Lima and cities located in the provinces where the cost of real estate is significantly lower than in Lima. Retail penetration in Peru is still low compared with other countries in the region. As a result, growth in this environment is expected to continue. The return of well-known U.S. brands, including Taco Bell and Little Caesars, and the novelty interest in other chains, such as IHOP and Hooters, pose promising areas for future growth. Peruvian companies are seeking to expand into new franchise options, particularly in health foods and Mexican food. The booming Peruvian cuisine scene is also driving the significant expansion of the high-end restaurant sector. This trend has been instrumental in the development of new restaurant formats. U.S. food and agricultural products are perceived to be of high quality and have found a niche market in high-end restaurants.

The National Statistics Institute (INEI) reports that almost one-third of consumer’s food expenditures go towards restaurant meals.  Demand for restaurant meals is forcing competitiveness in the foodservice category.  About 14,000 restaurants open yearly in Peru.  The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) estimates that the country has 200,000 full-service restaurants, 66,000 of which are in Lima.   According to INEI, the restaurant sector grew 4.4 percent in the first six months of 2019. FAS Lima forecasts that Peru’s HRI sector will gross $8.5 billion in 2019, a four percent increase over last year based on the opening of new restaurants, the consolidation of the fast-food chains, and the expansion of commercial shopping malls.

The best prospects for U.S.-origin food products reside in supplying high-end hotels and restaurants. Casual dining and family-style restaurants, along with coffee shops and fast food chains (averaging 8% growth over the past five years), also offer opportunities.

Best Product Prospects

U.S. products with good sales potential in this sector include cheese, beef and offals, poultry meat, nuts and almonds, wine, sauces, pork meat and distilled spirits.

Food-Processing Sector

Post reports that Peru’s food processing industry is a dynamic sector of the national economy.  The food industry in Peru accounts for almost 22% of the industrial GDP and 2018 sales reached $7.8 billion.  U.S.-origin food processing ingredient exports to Peru reached $138 million in 2018.  Peru's food-processing sector grew by 14.1% in 2018.  This growth is boosted principally by an excellent performance in the fisheries sector.  Other sectors to highlight are milling, meat products, and dairy.  However, over 90% of the industries are micro-companies and 1.7% is large companies.   

Peru’s food manufacturing industry has benefited from the nation’s strong economic performance over the past decade. A demanding middle class forced food processors to innovate and adapt to broader consumer segmentation. Food manufacturers target mom and pop stores as the primary channel to reach a wide range of consumers. Despite the growth of supermarket chains throughout the country, Lima is still the main market with a space limiting constraint for future growth. Food products must align with consumers’ preference for convenience, low prices, and daily purchases.

Growth in this sector is directly linked to the development of food retail and foodservice sectors throughout Peru.  As supermarket and hypermarket operators continue to expand their networks throughout the country, they will likely also expand their private label brands into new product categories. 

Food product manufacturers in Peru source both domestic and imported product ingredients to meet consumer demand for quality food at affordable prices.  These manufacturers are successfully tailoring products to meet different segments of consumer demand.  For instance, the health food and vending machine segments are growing to meet the respective demands of health-conscious and time-starved consumers.  U.S.-origin food processing ingredients exports to Peru reached US$138 million in 2018, a decrease of 27% from 2017.  The drop is mainly due to a 60% reduction in U.S. wheat exports.  However, other sectors made small gains in 2018, including boneless beef, protein concentrates, flour meat meals, and vegetable fat.

Best Product Prospects

Products with high potential in this sector include:

  • Boneless Beef
  • Protein Concentrates
  • Flour Meat Meals and Vegetable Fats
  • Concentrated Milk
  • Enzymes and Preparations
  • Mixtures Of Edible Oils and Fats
  • Boneless Frozen Pork
  • Mixtures Of Odiferous Substances
  • Vegetable Saps and Extracts
  • Whey and Modified Whey
  • Starch Flour Or Malt Extract
  • Hop Cones
  • Roasted Malt

Related Events

  • Food Show PLUS! at Food & Hotel Vietnam
    Food Show Plus!
    Sep 07, 2021
    Food Show PLUS! at Food & Hotel Vietnam
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Early
    Save
  • Feed Show PLUS! at VIV MEA
    Food Show Plus!
    Nov 23, 2021
    Feed Show PLUS! at VIV MEA
    Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Early
    Save
  • Food Show PLUS! at Expoalimentaria
    Food Show Plus!
    Sep 29, 2021
    Food Show PLUS! at Expoalimentaria
    Lima, Peru
    Early
    Save