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1 Business Tips Mexican Agri-food Industry: An Ideal Business Meal The Lifestyle Feature Mexico Gets the Grass Growing Negocios para exportadores VI

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3 Table of Contents Guest Opinion Mexican Agriculture: A Paradise of Opportunities Mexico in the World Food Market Trends: An Overview of North America Business Tips Mexican Agri-food Industry: An Ideal Business Meal Figures There Are many ways to get your clients attention, none as effective as ours Published monthly. Distributed among business people, potential investors, decision-makers, research centers and national and international subscribers. COVER FEATURE Mexico s Partner 22 photo archive Close to 10,000 copies out of 15,000 are distributed abroad through a network of 36 representative offices located in 23 countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East; all Mexican embassies and consulates and at international trade shows and expos. Geographic distribution covers a wide spectrum of key countries and cities, which guarantees a strategic coverage in the world s leading markets. photo courtesy of 3d robotics 12 Special Report 3D Robotics: Droning On and On in Mexico Mexican Agro-industry: Supplying Food to the World 8 7 From ProMéxico Briefs Catoex La Huerta Amell Bioactivos Eco Agri Tec Sí o Sí Naturkost de México Grupo Versa Frucasa Amb Wellness Tecnofruit negocios.promexico.gob.mx

4 The Lifestyle The Complete Guide to the Mexican Way of Life photo courtesy of benito molina photo courtesy of daniela villegas photo ian dolphin 50 The Lifestyle Briefs 54 photo courtesy london mexfest I try to make jewelry with a sense of fun Interview with Mexican designer Daniela Villegas 57 Mexico Gets the Grass Growing 52 London MexFest Mexico Gets Creative in London photo courtesy of el pacífico punta de mita 64 Mexican Chefs, Whetting the World s Appetite 62 Mezcal, Fire on the Tip of Everyone s Tongue photo archive

5 Para exportadores ProMéxico Francisco González Díaz CEO Karla Mawcinitt Bueno Image and Communications General Coordinator Sebastián Escalante Director of Publications and Content From proméxico. Advertising 78 Natalia Herrero Copy Editing Download the PDF version and read the interactive edition of Negocios ProMéxico at: negocios.promexico.gob.mx This publication is not for sale. Its sale and commercial distribution are forbidden. fotos archivo foto archivo México: Una cosecha de escala global Tendencias del mercado de alimentos: El panorama estadounidense Japón: Una alternativa para la exportación de agro productos mexicanos La importancia de la biotecnología alimentaria en México 70 breves Negocios ProMéxico es una publicación mensual editada en inglés por Pro- México, Camino a Santa Teresa número 1679, colonia Jardines del Pedregal, Delegación Álvaro Obregón, C.P , México, D.F. Teléfono: (52) Página Web: Correo electrónico: Editor responsable: Gabriel Sebastián Escalante Bañuelos. Reserva de derechos al uso exclusivo No Licitud de título: Licitud de contenido: 12032, ambos otorgados por la Comisión Calificadora de Publicaciones y Revistas Ilustradas de la Secretaría de Gobernación. ISSN: Negocios ProMéxico año 6, número VI, junio 2013, se terminó de imprimir el 14 de junio de 2013, con un tiraje de 13,000 ejemplares. Impresa por Cía. Impresora El Universal, S.A. de C.V. Las opiniones expresadas por los autores no reflejan necesariamente la postura del editor de la publicación. Queda estrictamente prohibida la reproducción total o parcial de los contenidos e imágenes de la publicación, sin previa autorización de ProMéxico. Publicación Gratuita. Prohibida su venta y distribución comercial. ProMéxico is not responsible for inaccurate information or omissions that might exist in the information provided by the participant companies nor of their economic solvency. The institution might or might not agree with an author s statements; therefore the responsibility of each text falls on the writers, not on the institution, except when it states otherwise. Although this magazine verifies all the information printed on its pages, it will not accept responsibility derived from any omissions, inaccuracies or mistakes.. Only a handful of countries can claim to have the variety of foods and agricultural products that abound in Mexico. Thanks to Mexico s climate diversity, it can produce fresh vegetables almost all year round as well as copious amounts of some of the world s most coveted fruits and vegetables. Adding to the benefits of its geographic location, Mexico s long agricultural tradition is the basis of a modern industry that not only produces foods, but processes and adapts them to satisfy the needs and tastes of specific consumer niches around the globe. Today, Mexico s flavors can be enjoyed anywhere in the globe, meeting the most Welcome to Negocios! Francisco González Díaz CEO ProMéxico demanding quality and health standards. From natural and fresh, to those that might seem plucked from a science fiction movie but are filled with flavor and benefits, food made in Mexico offers consumers the quality guarantees they have come to seek in everything they consume. Mexico s agro-industry is constantly innovating; every day new solutions emerge to satisfy consumer needs worldwide, which strengthens Mexico s presence on the shelves of international markets. This, added to the increasing demand for food throughout the world, fuels the belief that Mexico will maintain its position as a major player in the global agri-food industry.

6 BRIEFS BRIEFS FOOD photo archive AUTOMOTIVE GETTING READY TO ROLL Indian tire manufacturer JK Tyre & Industries Ltd plans an investment of 25 million usd over the coming year to expand production at its Mexican subsidiary Tornel. CONSTRUCTION structural Strengthening BUSINESS WITH WHITE AND YOLK Bonovo opened a liquid and dehydrated egg plant in Tehuacán, in the state of Puebla, assigning capital of approximately 6.5 million usd. bonovo.com.mx photo courtesy of nissan AUTOMOTIVE Ready, Set, Go! German luxury automaker Audi started construction of its first manufacturing plant in Mexico. The 1.2 billion usd facility in the state of Puebla is planned to produce luxury sport utility vehicles. photo archive photo courtesy of honda photo courtesy of sintermetal FOOD California-style Business Mexican franchise operator Alsea will invest approximately 50 million usd to open 50 new California Pizza Kitchen restaurants in Mex- AUTOMOTIVE Honda Raises its Bet on Mexico Japanese automaker Honda will build an additional manufacturing plant to produce transmissions on the site of its vehicle plant currently under construction in Celaya, Guanajuato. Production at the 470 million usd transmission facility is planned to serve both domestic and overseas demand. It will open during the second half of 2015 and will be able to make as many as 700,000 continuously variable transmissions a year. corporate.honda.com ico over the next five years. Alsea operates casual dining locations of brands including Starbucks, Domino s Pizza and Burger King, among others, in the country. Holcim Apasco, the Mexican subsidiary of Swiss cement giant Holcim, will invest approximately 40 million usd to upgrade assets in Mexico in Resources are earmarked for replacing plant equipment and improving systems to increase competitiveness. photo courtesy of holcim apasco METALLURGICAL SHAPED EXPANSION Sintermetal, a business unit of Germany s Schunk Group, plans investment of 6 million usd to expand capacity at its sintering plant in Estado de México. The facility produces highly complex sintered parts for the manufacture of rotors for oil pumps and variable valve timing systems. photo courtesy of california pizza kitchen

7 BRIEFS BRIEFS AUTOMOTIVE photo courtesy of bosch AUTOMOTIVE AUTOMOTIVE BOSCH TAKES ROOT IN MEXICO German auto parts maker Robert Bosch plans investment of 150 million usd in Mexico in Projects include installation of new production lines and systems upgrades to existing lines at the company s eight manufacturing sites in the country. Daido Begins Operations Japanese metal forming firm Daido Metal Corp. inaugurated a new manufacturing plant in the state of Jalisco. The 50 million usd facility will produce automotive bearings utilizing barrel plating processes. AUTOMOTIVE chihuahua, home for size photo archive photo courtesy of sonoco products MANUFACTURING lear s brand new facility US automotive components manufacturer Lear Corp. inaugurated a new production facility in the northern border city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The 22 million usd plant will produce electrical harnesses for auto OEM Chevrolet. photo courtesy of lear corp. photo archive METALLURGICAL US trailer maker Heil Trailer International will invest approximately 12 million usd to establish a new manufacturing plant in the state of Chihuahua. The facility is planned to produce aluminum tank trailers for the transport of liquids. Molding the Future PHARMACEUTICAL frisa keeps growing US based plastics producer Sonoco Products is building a new manufacturing facility in the state of Guanajuato. The 10.5 million usd plant will produce molded foam products for industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical and appliance manufacturing. photo archive investing in health Mexican pharmaceutical group Neolpharma will build a new plant to produce biotechnological medication. The 29 million-usd facility in Mexico City is planned to include a research center in biotechnology and nanotechnology. Mexican heavy industrial manufacturer Frisa inaugurated a new production plant at its existing site near the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León. The 80 million usd open-die forging plant is planned to produce large industrial pieces such as steel laminating rollers and oil well blocks, the company reported. photo courtesy of frisa

8 Negocios ProMéxico Special Report photos courtesy of 3d robotics Special Report Negocios ProMéxico 3D Robotics: Droning On and On in Mexico Chris Anderson is the CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones. From 2001 to 2012 he was the Editor in Chief of Wired magazine. Before Wired, he was with The Economist for seven years in London, Hong Kong and New York in various positions, ranging from Technology Editor to US Business Editor. Chris is the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail and Free as well as Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. In 2007, he made the Time 100 list, the newsmagazine s compilation of the 100 most influential men and women in the world. by graeme stewart Chris Anderson admits he has been blown away by the skill, expertise and sheer hard work of his Mexican employees at 3D Robotics Tijuana factory and was delighted to announce that moves are afoot to double the number of workers in a brand new 14,000 square-feet facility in the border city. The affable Californian, co-founder and CEO of 3D Robotics, can t praise his Mexican employees highly enough. They are, he says proudly, incredible people; so talented, skilled and hard There is an amazing pool of labor in Mexico, especially in electronics engineering. I can t find a group of such highly-skilled engineers anywhere else in North America. Chris Anderson, co-founder and CEO of 3D Robotics working. There is an amazing pool of labor in Mexico, especially in electronics engineering. I can t find a group of such highly-skilled engineers anywhere else in North America. And the hard work of the Mexican employees is being rewarded by plans to double the workforce in Tijuana from 27 to 54, ensuring production and employment at the new factory for years to come. The fruits of their labor are drones: not the military ones that scan the skies over the world s hot spots but much smaller, camera-carrying aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles that can be used on a more commercial scale. Anderson explains: Basically, our drones are just cameras in the sky. They can be used mainly in agriculture for crop surveys but can also be destined for search and rescue, although we are not focusing on that right now. They are manufactured at our plant in San Diego and another in Tijuana where we have been extremely impressed by our employees. Mexico is one of the few places in North America where they still make electronic goods; almost all other electronics production has been transferred to China. Tijuana has proved to be the ideal location for our 3D Robotics factory, especially as it is so close to San Diego where we have our headquarters and another operating factory. He has also been pleasantly surprised by the welcome and offers of assistance from the Baja California and Mexican governments, even if those proposals have been politely refused. As it happens, we don t need much support, Anderson says. But if we ever do, then we know where to get it. We have had no problems whatsoever, he continues. Anderson, 51, co-founded 3D Robotics, a robotic manufacturing company that specializes in Do it yourself (DIY) projects, in 2009 with Jordi Muñoz, another selfconfessed geek who saw the possibilities of drones in a commercial market. They joined forces and, eventually, Anderson left his day job as editor in chief of Wired magazine to oversee the managerial side of 3D Robotics, using his experience and contacts to attract investors and nurture the fledgling company. He has been successful as only three months ago he was able to announce that 3D Robotics had received a round of venture capital funding from Jon Callaghan at True Ventures and Bryce Roberts of O Reilly AlphaTech Ventures that is now enabling the company to expand in Tijuana. The good news is that the skills are there in Mexico, Anderson enthuses. We know we can hire 50 plus talented employees in Tijuana. You get great value for money south of the border and more companies like mine are coming to Mexico, Tijuana in particular, because it offers viable options to China. The cost of labor is similar to that in China but Mexico offers the opportunity for speed. That makes all the difference, having our factory so close to our headquarters. We can get things done much quicker than if we were dealing with a factory in China. Anderson remembers his journey towards 3D Robotics began some five years ago. I started down the road five years ago, beginning with projects with my kids and then going down the rabbit hole of open source electronics, robotics and eventually drones, with the community site I set up, DIYDrones. com. That led to the creation of a company, 3D Robotics, with Jordi Muñoz, who I had met online at DIY Drones, to make some of the technologies that the DIYDrones community was creating. With Anderson and Muñoz s drive, ambition and vision allied to Mexican electronics engineering knowhow, the sky is the limit for 3D Robotics. N 3drobotics.com 12 13

9 Negocios ProMéxico Guest Opinion photo archive Guest Opinion Negocios ProMéxico Mexican Agriculture: A Paradise of Opportunities Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force, Mexico s agricultural industry has undergone an extremely interesting transformation that has taken it from an economy with domestically consumed agricultural products, to one with a free market where agricultural goods are exported globally on a regular basis. by hugo javier chagoyán* Mexico is currently one of the most open economies in the world, boasting a large number of free trade and bilateral agreements. That openness has resulted in an increase in agri-food exports, which have gone from 8.2 billion usd in 2002 to 22.5 billion usd in 2012, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6% between 2002 and That figure is proof of the huge penetration and acceptance that Mexico s agricultural products have had in international markets, particularly exports to its NAFTA trade partners, the US and Canada, and to countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, in terms of costs, Mexico is the fourth most attractive country for investment in the agri-food sector, according to the Competitive Alternatives 2012 study by consulting firm KPMG. That fruitful cost advantage has strengthened Mexico s position as an agro-industry investment destination with several investment incentives and accessible, high-quality inputs for the manufacture of products. Said commercial success has also brought about more challenges for Mexican producers, who must continue to improve their cultivation processes and increase the quality of their products to compete internationally. With that goal in mind, Mexico has created what are known as product systems, which are simply the set of concurring elements and agents of the production processes of agricultural products, including the supply of technical equipment, inputs and services for primary production, storing, transformation, distribution and marketing. In that sense, the success or failure of Mexican agricultural products depends largely on the appropriate coordination of all the players involved in the supply chain. Thus, the creation of product systems is aimed precisely at enhancing agricultural production processes not only from a producer s perspective but also providing an integrated approach that improves the processes of everyone involved in the supply chain. There are several agricultural product systems in Mexico, such as agave, Hass avocado, lime, rice, cocoa, guava, lemon, corn, mango, cantaloupe, potato, banana and papaya, among others. These systems have been created to comprehensively address the issues of the members of each crop s supply chain and jointly strengthen the efforts of those involved in production chains to improve processes, technification and the supply of improved products to demanding international markets. Michoacán is one of Mexico s top agricultural producers. It ranks first in perennial production and in 2011 the state s output reached a value of billion usd, which accounted for 7.1% of the national total, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). A large part of Michoacán s produce is sent to the global market to supply customers in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The state is internationally renowned for its production of blackberry, guava, lentil, Michoacán is one of Mexico s top agricultural producers. It ranks first in perennial production and in 2011 the state s output reached a value of billion usd, which accounted for 7.1% of the national total, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). cucumber, pear, lime, grapefruit, strawberry, peach, plum, coconut and its leading product, avocado, with an export value of 53 million usd. There are approximately 7,312 companies in Michoacán that transform agricultural products, of which 16 are the leaders in frozen, dehydrated and lyophilized fruits and vegetables as well as fruit and vegetable pulp, among other goods. These leaders are mainly multinationals with foreign equity and subsidiaries in various countries in North America, Europe and Asia. Some of the industrial plants established in the state are Calavo de México, S.A. de C.V. (avocado processing), Agrana Fruit México (berries and mango processing), Profusa (berries, mango and lime processing) and Simplot (avocado processing), among many other. The outstanding success of Michoacán s avocado in the international market is based not only on its remarkable quality and nutritional properties but also due to its solid supply chain. For instance, the Association of Exporting Producers and Packagers of Mexico (APEAM) is a clear example of the product systems of Mexican agriculture that strengthen the competitive position of the country s crops and enable it to increase its exports year after year and introduce new products to new markets. To sum up, Mexican agriculture has an incredible growth potential and is a strategic industry for international investors seeking to boost their profits in an overtly healthy industry. N *Promotion Director, Secretariat of Economic Development (SEDECO), Michoacán

10 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico in the World photo archive Mexico in the World Negocios ProMéxico Food Market Trends: An Overview of North America value. In addition, drinks must be limited to 12 ounces (355ml) in middle and high-schools and 8 ounces (236ml) in elementary schools. Consequently, the sale of candies, foods or beverages that exceed these amounts is forbidden at certain educational levels. Commercial opportunities will be found in foods such as yogurts, popsicles and drinks with 100% natural fruit juices, whole wheat breads, cereal bars, dried fruits, baked snacks and plain and/ or flavored sugar-free water. In 2012, the US imported 17.6 million usd in fresh and processed foods from Mexico. The main categories were fresh vegetables, 4.4 million usd, fresh fruit (excluding bananas), 3.2 million usd, wine and beer, 1.8 million usd, and sweets including chocolate, 1 million usd, according to data furnished by the Global Trade Atlas (GTA). Changes in consumer habits have affected the supply of fresh and processed food in the US. The North American market is a wonderful platform of opportunities for businesses that are willing to adapt to the new regulations and offer nutritional, natural and organic products that meet the strict quality standards required to enter into the world s leading consumer market. N *First secretary, ProMéxico Office in Dallas, Texas. In the last decade, global trade, particularly in the food sector, has been affected by events such as price fluctuations, subsidies, exchange rate movements, economic agreements and changes in consumer incomes and habits which have forced countries to look for alternatives to satisfy the population s consumption needs. by diana i. castañeda* Currently, US consumers demand a wide variety of high quality food, boosting the import of products that are not produced domestically. According to estimates by IHS Global Insight, US imports of agricultural products will reach 41.2 billion usd in 2013, exceeding the 41.5 billion forecasted for In 2012, the four leading fresh vegetable suppliers to the US were Mexico, Canada, China and Peru. Mexico was the leading exporter, providing 60% of fresh vegetables consumed on the US market. In 2012, the US imported 17.6 million usd in fresh and processed foods from Mexico. The main categories were fresh vegetables, 4.4 million usd, fresh fruit (excluding bananas), 3.2 million usd, wine and beer, 1.8 million usd, and sweets including chocolate, 1 million usd, according to data furnished by the Global Trade Atlas (GTA). That same year, in the fresh vegetables category, Mexico exported 85% of tomatoes and 67% of eggplants, asparagus, celery and artichokes, among other vegetables demanded by the US market, which represent areas of opportunity for Mexican producers. The fast food sector is another niche of opportunity that Mexican companies must leverage to export. Frozen potatoes, used to prepare French fries, are the third most imported vegetable in the US and accounted for 11% of total vegetable imports in It is worth noting that Mexico is the primary supplier of potatoes to the US. The value of US imports of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables underlines their importance in the diet of American families. In 2012, US imports of processed fruits and vegetables, including all kinds of juice, except wine, reached 6.7 million usd or 6% of total imports of fresh and processed foods. The Global Outlook and Food Trends While food prices globally fell by 7% in 2012, according to estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), they will continue an upward trend in Price falls recorded at the end of 2012 derived from the weak behavior of the global economic activity. Climate factors, such as droughts, will affect food supply worldwide, making import activities an alternative option to guarantee local supply. Mexico is the second largest food seller to the US, after Canada. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its Outlook for US Agricultural Trade 2012 reveals that fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, wines, sugar, coffee, cattle, grains and seeds will be the products with the largest share in US food imports in According to projections from the aforementioned study, in 2013, cattle and dairy imports in the US will exceed 900 million usd. The trend will be to consume lean meats that are free of hormones and preservatives. Finally, preferences in the US market for the processed food sector will lean towards foods with little or no calories, fat, sodium, sugar, preservatives, coloring, flavoring and Monosodium glutamate (msg), with natural and preferably organic ingredients. An example of these trends can already be seen in the new USDA regulations to be implemented in public schools. According to these rules, snacks sold in cafeterias, vending machines and stores inside educational institutions, must contain fewer than 200 calories and contribute with a specific nutritional 16 17

11 Negocios ProMéxico Business Tips photo archive Business Tips Negocios ProMéxico Mexican Agri-food Industry: An Ideal Business Meal Mexico has significant comparative and competitive advantages over other nations in the agri-food sector. The country s participation in the international trade of fresh and processed food is considerable and increasing. Some regions in Mexico, where natural resources are plentiful, offer interesting opportunities for agri-food businesses. by maría cristina rosas* The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is aware of the fact that the demand for food and agricultural products is undergoing unprecedented changes. The growing per capita income, urbanization and number of women in labor markets have increased the need for high-value commodities and processed and prepared foods. Evidently, this involves a change in societies eating habits, which poses significant challenges, particularly in the health arena. There is a trend, then, that favors the consumption of more animal products, such as fish, meat and dairy, which in turn creates a need for more feed grain. No less important is the growing use of agricultural products, particularly grains and oil seeds, once intended for human and animal consumption, as raw materials for the production of bioenergy. There are factors that prompt these significant transformations in the global agri-food sector, namely international trade and communications, which accelerate changes in demand and increasingly lead to the convergence of dietary patterns and a growing interest in ethnic foods from specific geographical areas. The participation of developing countries in the international trade of non-traditional fruits and vegetables has increased rapidly in recent years and considering that the global demand for processed foods is estimated at over 4,639 billion usd or three quarters of total food sales globally it is clear that the agri-food sector is becoming more and more relevant for countries such as Mexico. In the last 25 years, most processed food sales have gone to high-income countries. However, developing nations have generated a percentage that is almost twice the added value in global production of the main categories of products manufactured by agroindustries. The agri-food sector in Mexico is important and, according to data by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), accounted in 2012 for 8.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The role of grain, fruit and vegetable production is of particular significance. In addition, the processed food industry creates highly relevant jobs and provides work opportunities that benefit more than 500,000 people around the country. That is because Mexico has significant comparative and competitive advantages over other nations in the sector. For instance, the country s weather conditions are favorable for year-round production. Furthermore, it has a competitive cost structure that gives it access to important markets. In addition, Mexico s wide network of free trade agreements gives it preferential access to the US, the European Union and Japan, to name a few of the world s most relevant markets. Mexico also has a prestigious health status that is globally renowned and the dynamism of agri-food production chains make it one of the countries with the largest potential to open new markets both at home and abroad. Domestically, consumers have become more aware of the food they buy and eat, so that criteria such as sustainability and good production practices are already significant for their purchases. Closely related to the transformation of the agro-industrial sector is the restructuring of retail food distribution markets, which in turn have been induced by this restructuring. Closely related to the transformation of the agroindustrial sector is the restructuring of retail food distribution markets, which in turn have been induced by this restructuring. In that area, the growth of the supermarket sector is key. In that area, the growth of the supermarket sector is key. While supermarkets have long operated in a series of developing countries, that has generally been in large cities and focused on a segment of wealthy or medium to high income consumers. However, since the 90s there has been a type of supermarket revolution in some developing nations and Mexico is no exception. Retail trade in Mexico accounts for more than 70% of sales income, particularly the American Walmart Stores Inc., with its affiliate Walmart de México, followed by local stores Soriana and Comercial Mexicana. The global retailer is responsible for over 50% of sales of personal items that are acquired in supermarkets, while the competition between the other two chains is supported by multiple factors: the continuous expansion of their facilities in Mexico; sales at lower prices (explained in part by the acquisition of stock at lower prices due to the high volume of goods they demand for sale); the partnership with the country s dominating retail firm wherever they go (Aurrerá 18 19

12 Negocios ProMéxico Business Tips Business Tips Negocios ProMéxico In terms of exports, Mexico plays an outstanding role, for instance, in organic products. More than 750,000 tons of organic products are produced every year, of which 85% are sold abroad since that market is in expansion throughout the globe, particularly due to the health benefits it offers consumers and the lower impact it has on the environment. in Mexico) and the installation of storage and distribution centers (CEDIS) for perishable and non-perishable items, among other logistics, organization and operational measures. Mexico s agri-food sector has a very soft economic cycle with stable jobs and wealth creation. It is a very sensitive industry due to the special impact of food safety on the population, with high financial requirements to cover permanent transformation, transportation and storage costs. The importance of the food market in Mexico is evidenced by the fact that in 2012, 26.4 billion usd were spent on food imports. Forty-two percent of food consumed in the country was acquired abroad. Some of the most important foods acquired in the global market are soy (95% of total consumption), rice (80%), wheat (56%), beef and pork (40%), corn (33%) and beans (20%). In terms of exports, Mexico plays an outstanding role, for instance, in organic products. More than 750,000 tons of organic products are produced every year, of which 85% are sold abroad since that market is in expansion throughout the globe, particularly due to the health benefits it offers consumers and the lower impact it has on the environment. In 2012, most of Mexico s production was sent to the US, Canada and Japan, and some members of the European Union, proving the quality of the country s products. In the domestic market, farmers still have a huge playing field, since the remaining 15% of production is distributed in supermarkets with conventional products and natural food stores, markets and cafes. That sector is expanding noticeably as consumers become more informed about the benefits of organic products. Mexico s agro-industry is showing interesting trends. For example, agro-industrial products such as tobacco and beer have seen a decrease in their production value. On the other hand, the agro-industries with the highest growth in production value are corn milling, feed (balanced), wheat milling and edible vegetable oils and fats. These are basic products in the Mexican diet and the increase in their value is in turn due to the increase in cost of raw materials, which is a global trend. There is another group of agro-industries with a sustained increase in production value and above the average of the larger food division, beverages and tobacco: non-alcoholic sodas and beverages, meat products, coffee, industrial and artisan bakery and starches, all with double-digits. Take the non-alcoholic sodas and beverages industry, which includes juices and bottled water. Today, it is the largest sector with close to 15% of the total value of the division, which relates to the fact that this system is based on a relatively cheap raw material in Mexico water. The water issue cannot be avoided in the analysis of the present and future of Mexico s agro-industry, especially when the northern part of the country, where the resource is scarce, has achieved outstanding agro-industrial development. The southern and southeastern parts of Mexico are set to be the country s agro-industrial core in the near future as large corn processing plants, cold chains for food and the optimization of grain yield give these places comparative and competitive advantages. Why? Because available water resources are plentiful and that will enable innovations in crop development for both the domestic market and exports. N *Professor and researcher in the Political and Social Sciences Faculty, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

13 Negocios ProMéxico Cover Feature photos archive Cover Feature Negocios ProMéxico Mexican Agro-Industry: Supplying Food to the World Productive oceans and fields, World Heritage gastronomy and a series of competitive advantages make Mexico a place of growth for the agro-industry. alcoholic), sweets, tobacco, snacks and packaging. Mexico stands out as a strong exporter in the majority of these food product categories. According to data from the Ministry of Economy (SE), between 2003 and 2007 Mexico s agricultural exports grew by 12% on average every year, while imports increased by 11%. By 2010, Mexico s agri-food exports were valued at 16.9 billion usd. Mexico is among the top global exporters of products such as avocado, papaya, mango, processed peppers, organic coffee, tomato, Persian lime, aloe vera, cucumber and greenhouse peppers, to name but a few. It also plays a notable role in other areas, as the eighth largest meat product manufacturer in the globe and, in the area of alcoholic beverages, Mexican tequila and mezcal have been granted denomination of origin in recent decades and found a spot in the preferences of many international consumers, becoming symbolic of Mexico. Mexico also shows strength in processed foods exports, which account for over 18.4% of total sales abroad, and their growth rate has ranged from 18% to 20% annually, going mainly to Japan, the US and South Korea. Mexico owes its export success to the agro-industry and processed food industry s compliance with the leading health regulations in the world, including Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certifications and the US Food and Drug Administration s (FDA) requirements. by jesús estrada cortés The richness of Mexican food, which has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNES- CO), lies in the wide variety of its products, which not only nourish its population but also an industry that is constantly expanding. This combination of tradition and modernity brings to Mexico the ingredients to become a global agro-industry power. Mexico s agro-industry has experienced rapid growth due to several factors, such as its surface area, which provides the sector with a significant diversity of climate, flora and fauna, and its geographic closeness to the US, one of the world s leading markets, which has boosted exports. Mexico has become the second largest supplier of processed foods to the US; close to 80% of Mexican exports are destined for that market. Since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force, agricultural exchange between both countries has expanded by close to 9% every year. Mexico is the third largest producer in the Americas and eleventh exporter globally of agri-foods; more than 800 Mexican food products are present in international markets. Nine of the 10 leading processed foods transnationals in the world have active presence in Mexico. Considered a strategic sector, the agro-industry in Mexico is a broad umbrella under which several branches are included: agriculture, forestry, husbandry, apiculture, hunting, fishing, biotechnology, drinks (alcoholic and non- Close to Consumers In 2012, Mexico produced million usd in processed foods, a 2.3% increase compared to 2011; the food industry accounted for 23.2% of the manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 4.1% of the country s total GDP, explains Armando Cobos Pérez, CEO of the National Chamber of the Food Preserve Industry (CANAINCA), a business organization which affiliates food packaging industries. CANAINCA is the meeting point for 45 companies, which together account for more than 90% of all bottled foods in Mexico, and which include important international trading companies such as Coca- Cola, Campbell s, Famesa, Herdez, Jumex, La Costeña and Nestlé, among others. Mexico is the third largest producer in the Americas and eleventh exporter globally of agri-foods; more than 800 Mexican food products are present in international markets. Nine of the 10 leading processed foods transnationals in the world have active presence in Mexico. CANAINCA is divided into 12 product families, such as peppers in every variety; juices, nectars and fruit drinks; infant foods; sea products like tuna or sardines; soups, creams and broths; mayonnaise and dressings; and fruits. We produce food for general consumption [...] we are supplying the country s population, there has never been a shortage of supply, says Cobos Pérez, who remembers that in the chamber s 26 years, none of its members has recorded negative numbers. Cobos emphasizes the importance of the industry as a trigger for Mexican farmland, since in 2012 the amount of product we purchased from farms in

14 Negocios ProMéxico Cover Feature Cover Feature Negocios ProMéxico creased by 15.1% to 6.2 million tons. Our sales increased by 5.7% [...] our exports by 10.1% and they are mostly sent to the US (85%) and the rest to Europe (4.5%), Central and South America (3.1%) and Asia (1.5%). According to forecasts, between 2012 and 2020 the Mexican industry s production is set to grow at an annual average rate of 7.6%. The growth of the processed foods industry in Mexico is due to its produc- Mexico s agro-industry has also allocated significant amounts of production capital to cutting-edge biotechnology that will enable it to create genetically enhanced foods. In 2012, the country was ranked sixteenth globally in available land for genetically enhanced crops, with 421,000 hectares, mainly used for cotton, corn, wheat and soy. tion capacity, the creation of high added value goods, the availability of skilled workforce and inputs for the supply. In addition, there is a huge potential for export supply in the sector, the industry has competitive manufacturing costs and the size of the domestic market is appealing for foreign companies who want to transfer operations to Mexico, says Cobos. Moreover, the fact that Mexican cuisine is considered World Heritage is opening many possibilities to increase our exports [...] the interesting thing is that we do not export maquila, our brands are something else. The main destination continues to be the US, but we are reaching other markets, he adds. CANAINCA is optimistic that it will sustain a 4% growth in real terms in 2013 since the industrial sector is on the rise and has done its homework in creating new products, exporting, technifying, reinvesting in fixed assets, ensuring the supply of inputs through contract agriculture and by adding channels so that consumers can get to know the products, says Cobos. The industry s modernization has been boosted by a fixed investment of 1.8%, which, according to Cobos, will enable them to surpass packaged foods industries from anywhere in the word; furthermore, companies have focused on creating new product packaging with a diversity of sizes and mixes to satisfy the needs of Mexican and international consumers. The World s Largest Coffee Plant Armando Cobos Pérez thinks that the Mexican agri-food industry s competitive advantages lie in the population of over 112 million, mostly young people; highly skilled workforce; closeness to the US and emerging economies in South America, and we have practically every raw material, every possibility in the fields and oceans of Mexico. Other strengths of the agri-food industry are the more than 790,000 higher education students that are enrolled in engineering and technology programs, according to the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) in Mexico; the over 750,000 engineers trained to serve the industry and the alliances between companies and academia, which enable the integration of new technologies into the food production chain. In addition, according to Alix Partners 2011 US Manufacturing Outsourcing Index, Mexico is the most competitive country in terms of manufacturing costs, which are almost 21% lower than in the US and 11% lower than in China. In the processed foods industry, Mexico offers 14.1% savings in manufacturing costs when compared to the US. These competitive advantages have led to a constant growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), where between 2002 and 2011 the accumulated value was billion usd and in 2011 alone, attracted production capital reached billion usd, according to data from the SE. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) states that in the last six years, Mexico has attracted billion usd in FDI for the agro-industry, equal to 38% of the total received by the region as a whole. In addition, it points out that two Mexican companies are among the 10 largest firms in the region, Femsa and Bimbo, which opened two plants in 2012 in Brazil and Argentina. Another relevant case, Gruma, inaugurated facilities in the US. According to the SE, some major investments in Mexico s agro-industry come from the Italian chocolatier, Ferrero, which announced in 2012 an injection of 200 million usd to open a new plant in the state of Guanajuato. The Hershey Company, the largest chocolate manufacturer in the US, also announced a 50 million-usd investment last year in Nuevo León, in the northeastern part of Mexico, as part of its expansion with two new production lines to launch a new product. Danone, the dairy leader, channelled 36.5 million usd to increase its production capacity in Guanajuato by 40% to manufacture new products and expand the production of its existing brands. More recently, in May 2013, the global giant Nestlé expanded its coffee factory in Toluca, Estado de México (central Mexico), considered the largest in the world, with an investment exceeding 110 million usd. This will result in the creation of 900 direct jobs and expand the plant s production capacity by 30%. Nestlé operates 14 factories in the country and 16 distribution centers. All these bets are paying off. According to data by Global Insight, food companies net operative gains for 2012 reached almost billion usd, exceeding reports by countries such as Brazil and Canada. Traditional or Cutting-edge Mexico s agro-industry has also allocated significant amounts of production capital to cutting-edge biotechnology that will enable it to create genetically enhanced foods. In 2012, the country was ranked sixteenth globally in available land for genetically enhanced crops, with 421,000 hectares, mainly used for cotton, corn, wheat and soy. At the same time, it is one of the largest producers of organic agriculture worldwide, a sector that grew out of rescuing traditional agricultural processes from Mesoamerican peoples. In 2012, Mexico was among the top 20 markets in terms of organic product sales, and is ranked third in the Americas. Mexico s agro-industry is a delectable mix of the past and future of food production. And now the table is set for the world to enjoy this new Mexican banquet. N The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) states that in the last six years, Mexico has attracted billion usd in FDI for the agro-industry, equal to 38% of the total received by the region as a whole

15 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner photo courtesy of catoex Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico Big Time Soluble The pioneers of decaffeinated coffee are still setting the pace in the production of the grain s derivatives. Diversification and innovation are the pillars of Catoex. by omar magaña The company s leadership is supported by its verticality the group has its own coffee mills, decaf, roasted and instant plants, as well as a caffeine refinery. Café Tostado de Exportación (Catoex) has accelerated its growth in recent years and is now brewing a new boost that will increase its robustness and double its size. Headquartered in the city of Córdoba, Veracruz, one of the most important coffee production centers in Mexico, Catoex has invested several million usd in its value chain, from coffee fields and mills (humid and dry) through industrial plants such as decaffeinated, soluble and roasted, to packing facilities. This year the investment in infrastructure is above 10 million usd. Gabriel Bobadilla, CEO of the company, says that Catoex has invested non-stop in the last four years and that, at the same time, it has focused on innovation fitting its main brand, Los Portales de Córdoba, launching new added value lines and creating products for multiple markets. In order to do so, the firm has leveraged the infrastructure, labs and research centers of two of the state s main academic institutions: the Tec de Monterrey Campus Central de Veracruz and the Universidad Tecnológica del Centro de Veracruz. Thanks to these efforts, Catoex now has more than 500 employees: 250 of them work in production, while the rest carry out their activities in the sales, exports and management departments of the company that is considered a leader among businesses with Mexican equity that participate in the coffee market. Part of Sanroke Group and active since 1974, the firm considers itself a pioneer in the implementation of technology for decaffeination in Mexico as well as in a roasted and soluble technology for this type of product: Los Portales and Kasinka coffee. The company s leadership is supported by its verticality the group has its own coffee mills, decaf, roasted and instant plants, as well as a caffeine refinery. That has given it the versatility to participate in multiple niches and maintain its exporting profile for over two decades. Coffee for All Through its brand Los Portales de Córdoba, Catoex sells agglomerated soluble crystal coffee (regular and decaf), mixed soluble, soluble for cappuccino and roasted-ground (from decaf to organic to fair trade, etc.). Furthermore, Catoex offers machines in concession for offices, hotels and industries and sells them coffee. It also sells roasted coffee in bulk to firms that use it as raw material, such as baking companies or manufacturers of cappuccinoflavored solutions, and does tolling of soluble coffee for national supermarkets and international brands that have placed its product in more than 20 countries. According to Bobadilla, Catoex exports 60% of its production and external sales of its own brand account for only 5% of its exports. The company exports to the US, Central America, Canada, Spain, Israel, Australia, Japan and China, among other relevant markets. On the other hand, its positioning in the domestic market gives it presence in every possible corner of Mexico, says Bobadilla. Catoex has regional offices in Mérida, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City and Córdoba to meet the needs of its diverse portfolio of customers, among which are supermarkets, hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and offices. As Bobadilla points out, for the Mexican market, the company has had to continue innovating and creating new products to gain a place in the heart of consumers who are not heavy coffee drinkers. He adds that the current challenge is to stimulate the consumption of coffee-derived beverages by promoting their health benefits. In Mexico, Catoex has faced the habits of a soda-consuming society and the strong competition from multinationals that have a strong hold on the solubles market. At that juncture, innovation was key. For instance, last year, Los Portales de Córdoba added new technology for soluble coffee coffee crystals small flakes that enrich the drink with flavor and aroma on supermarket shelves. The strategy has been to remain strong in foreign trade with soluble and roasted and ground coffee, including its organic product. Its exports to the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Spain and China, among many other countries, have boosted the company s career through new certifications. Catoex is ISO 9000:2008 and FSSC (Food Safety System Certification 22000) certified. The latter guarantees the safety of food products within a context of global trade. It has also been certified by JAS (Japanese Standard of Agriculture) and other entities that guarantee the quality of organic products, in addition to certifications by its own customers with third party audits, as well as support small coffee producers with fair trade products. Bobadilla knows that the coffee market varies greatly with international prices that can suddenly change the numbers of a commodity-focused firm. Therefore, Catoex s strategy has been to close mediumterm supply deals with stable prices. But Catoex has a big advantage: the closeness of its supplies. By establishing in Córdoba, where the Grupo Sanroke, of which it is part, has worked storing and processing green coffee since 1925, the company is close to one of the best Mexican coffee beans and a network of small producers and firms that have traditionally bought and sold this priced product. N

16 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner photos courtesy of la huerta Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico A HEALTHY & GREEN JOURNEY TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY La Huerta is one of Mexico s leading frozen vegetable exporters to the US and Canada. From humble beginnings, the company leads the way, not only in production and sales but also in social and environmental responsibility. by graeme stewart In the middle years of the last century 1956 to be exact José Arteaga Campos went out into the fields with two mules and began plowing. By the 1960s, he had bought the land and by 1975 he was exporting frozen vegetables to the US and Canada. These were the humble beginnings of La Huerta, a company that is now at the forefront of the Mexican fresh and frozen vegetables export business, which is worth 10 billion usd to the Mexican economy. Today, La Huerta is still a 100% family owned Mexican company, led by the founder s sons, that produces organic and pesticide-free broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, onions and corn using the most advanced water technology at farms located in the states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco and Zacatecas. The firm looks upon its employees as part of its extended family. Committed to social sustainability, La Huerta provides workers with free healthcare, medication and education. More than 500 scholarships a year are awarded to employees children and a daycare center is also available, not to mention an interest-free home loans scheme. The company s exports and sales have grown handsomely and La Huerta now offers a large range of high quality products that sell under its own brands (La Huerta, Little Farm, Nutriverde and Nutrifresco, among others) as well as under private labels for the leaders of the retail and club store markets worldwide. La Huerta has received numerous best supplier awards, as well as recogni- The company s exports and sales have grown handsomely and La Huerta now offers a large range of high quality products that sell under its own brands (La Huerta, Little Farm, Nutriverde and Nutrifresco, among others) as well as under private labels for the leaders of the retail and club store markets worldwide. tion for excellent quality and responsibility by its customers, the Mexican government and international organizations. And while this performance has caught the eye, La Huerta s domestic business is also thriving, capturing a high percentage of the Mexican frozen vegetable market. The firm has expanded its products of choice to include other types of frozen foods, such as dinners, veggie burgers and onion rings. The company expects sales this year to be split almost between the domestic market and exports. After more than 50 years of experience, La Huerta has become the master in its field. Our philosophy is to freeze within 24 hours of harvesting. If you do not succeed in freezing within that crucial time frame, levels of nutrients and vitamins deplete. La Huerta s vegetables are at the peak of freshness by the time they are harvested, processed and shipped to our customers around the world. Such success takes a great deal of planning, strategy and innovation, in environmental and social responsibility as well as production and marketing. Katrin Derntl, La Huerta s B2B Coordinator, is proud of the company s achievements. She speaks of its modern water systems, introduced under La Huerta s sustainability program, and says: For La Huerta, water is one of the most critical resources, so we have implemented a number of innovative systems in order to help preserve it. The highest impact is definitely achieved by La Huerta s water saving, drip irrigation system that uses up to 70% less water than traditional gravity irrigation, reducing costs and conserving clean water for thousands of families in the surrounding communities. That innovative system increases productivity as nutrients are taken to the plant more effectively. Other water saving measures we use are hydroponic greenhouses and rainwater harvest as well as water saving measures during processing, Derntl continues. La Huerta has also become an expert in biological pest control, of which Derntl says: In 1995, our farmers embarked on a mission to find a better way to control pests. We ve been using beneficial bugs to keep harmful ones at bay ever since. By applying natural parasites, which we develop and grow in our own laboratories, we managed to reduce our dependence on chemical pest control to less than 6%. That way, our farm workers are kept from being exposed to over one million pounds of dangerous chemicals each year and at the same time we increase the quality of our products. It s all part of our commitment to bringing the public the freshest, most natural foods. The savings we make by reducing pesticide and fertilizer use, are reinvested in our social sustainability programs. And what of these social programs? Derntl explains: We take caring for our employees very seriously as they are our extended family. Our workers enjoy free on-site healthcare and medication for themselves and their families, a state-of-the-art daycare center, scholarships for their children and interest-free loans to help them build a home. For La Huerta, education is the key to helping our employees and their families getting further in life. We offer a scholarship program that supports all of our employees children with academic potential and, in 2013 over 620 will take advantage of it. We even founded our own La Huerta Education Center where our employees have the opportunity of finishing their elementary school, middle school and high school, she adds. Even the growers that supply La Huerta are not forgotten in the firm s far reaching social responsibility program. La Huerta goes one step further in pursuit of social sustainability, investing actively in the development of our growers. In order to create wealth and develop entrepreneurship, we offer our growers financial support, including loans, to finance new equipment and materials as well as free technical training that helps them achieve higher yields and better quality, Derntl says. There is something very Mexican in La Huerta s family values, values that have helped the company progress to the top of its industry since the day that José Arteaga Campos took his two mules into the field and started plowing. N

17 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico Amell Bioactivos: The Power of Bee-Keeping A Mexican company uses bee-made food to create energy products and intends to explore Asian and American markets in the short term. by antonio vázquez For close to three years, Amell Bioactivos, a Mexican company that produces organic foods, has focused on developing a parent formula based on honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly that it now seeks to introduce to markets such as Japan, the US, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia. Our most sophisticated product is Amell Poder. It contains honey, pollen, propolis and jelly and is a 100% energy product. The molecular integration of the formula s ingredients took a long time because they would separate completely. We have not found another product like this one in Mexico and it is still unknown in the rest of the world, says Agustín Carlos de Alba Ramírez, CEO of the firm. After Amell Poder, the company based in the state of Aguascalientes has created 15 more products: six bioactive foods and nine cosmetic products. Agustín de Alba shows confidence when discussing Amell Bioactivos portfolio. He says all of its products are completely natural and have health benefits since they increase energy levels, improve the immune system and help reduce stress. They have measurable health benefits and no side effects. They help increase energy and vitality, reinforce the immune system, mitigate the effects of stress, regulate the activity of the circulatory system, rid the body of toxins and reduce bone and muscle deterioration, he says. De Alba and his partner, Raúl Adames Carbajal, had worked in food sectors that produce vegetables and other organic substrates, until they finally decided to explore bee-keeping and bee-made food. Thus, in 2010, Amell Bioactivos began operations. Initially, the firm focused on researching the products it wanted to develop. A year Agustín de Alba shows confidence when discussing Amell Bioactivos portfolio. He says all of its products are completely natural and have health benefits since they increase energy levels, improve the immune system and help reduce stress. photo bernardo velasco valdez photo archive later they began testing the formulas and by mid-2012 they were already selling bioactive foods. The cosmetic product line was just launched during the second quarter of Among other things, Amell Bioactivos cosmetic product catalog focuses on hair care, cell antioxidation and skin hydration. We developed that line of cosmetic products to help people, to contribute with stability and benefits for the body, explains Raúl Adames. Currently, Amell Bioactivos presence in Mexico is significant. Agustín de Alba explains that the company has already received requests from customers in Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and the US. We are analyzing these offers and solving challenges in terms of both technology and negotiations and we hope to export our products to those countries in the short term. Furthermore, we plan to participate in an international show in Germany in October 2013, says Agustín de Alba. The entrepreneurs say they have found advantages in operating and investing in Mexico, especially in the state of Aguascalientes. Mexico, particularly Aguascalientes, has very favorable conditions due to its geographic location and infrastructure, the stability of its currency and the facilities and incentives offered by the state and federal government to get started, organize and develop the challenges we face, considers de Alba. The impresarios state that to all of these advantages should be added the capacity of human resources in Mexico as well as the talent, knowledge, creativity and productivity that they apply to multiple sectors of the national economy. According to de Alba, the combination of these elements results in great development expectations. Amell Bioactivos is currently researching and designing five new products. One of them is dairy food containing the firm s parent formula, Amell Poder. The company also plans to launch a new line of food products with high antioxidating properties that are also gourmet, according to Raúl Adames. Our development perspectives are practically limitless, especially after the scientific discoveries on bioactive and functional foods, probiotics and prebiotics. The number of possibilities has multiplied, generating a wide scope of action to develop applications that are increasingly diverse and specialized, concludes Agustín de Alba. N

18 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner photos courtesy of eco agritec Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico Eco Agri Tec: Clustered Growth Demagogy apart, there is strength in numbers. Eco Agri Tec, the horticulturist partnership, is like a ship that eludes the storm thanks to collaboration between producers. by omar magaña Weaving collaboration networks is an excellent strategy to protect assets against economic or climate variations, especially with agri-food products, which depend on sunlight and rain. Vegetable producers from Rioverde, Ciudad Fernández and San Luis Potosí form the Eco Agri Tec cooperative partnership. They are shielded under the greenhouses where they grow export gourmet tomatoes: elite Roma tomato on the vine (TOV), beef, grape and cocktail, as well as orange, red and yellow peppers. The 35 agri-business owners who make up Eco Agri Tec join forces to invest, take care of production and look for sales channels, protecting themselves from unexpected circumstances such as price falls and climate conditions that affect even protected horticulture. The partnership was established in 2001 as a result of the uncertainty in open air production, especially for vegetables, explains José Alfredo López Cardona, chairman of the Board of Directors. Eco Agri Tec is sustained by the working relations established between the partners and the ties they have made with other players in the agricultural production chain, especially in sales and technological innovation. For four years, the partnership operated with greenhouses of the government of San Luis Potosí and the Centro de Producción y Comercialización AgroIndustrial Invernadero de Santa Rita, which exports large volumes of red gourmet tomato to the US and Canada. Eco Agri Tec has an agreement with Pure Flavor, which distributes 95% of the specialty tomato it produces in its 10 hectares of greenhouses. The cooperative delivers the product in San Luis Potosí and Pure Flavor transports it to its two warehouses in San Antonio, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan, and places it in North American supermarkets. We are trying to work as best we can and deliver quality product, says José Alfredo López. [Pure Flavor] has told us many times that they want us to grow together we in our greenhouses and they in their supermarket sales. Chairman López Cardona sees the relationship with the marketing company as a deal between equals. Pure Flavor has only been active for a few years but is slated to become a huge competitor. Eco Agri Tec is also gradually growing; it has reinvested profits to acquire new hectares to build more greenhouses and begun its conversion into a storage center for other producers, which places it at the mid-point between tomato production and its departure for sale abroad. During visits that José Alfredo López and his partners have made to Boston and New York as part of Pro- México s trade missions, they have established commercial contacts that Pure Flavor is following up on to open new niches for Mexican tomatoes. Thus, the idea of growing together takes shape. Furthermore, the cooperative is part of the Red Potosina de Tecnología Agrícola that brings together technology and agricultural supply companies, universities and research centers such as the Centro Potosino de Ciencia y Tecnología (COPOCYT) and the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT) in a single goal: to develop the knowledge and advanced utilities required by protected horticulture. Since its creation, Eco Agri Tec has been counseled by the National Agri-Food Health, Safety and Quality Service (SENASICA) in matters related to infrastructure, staff training in contamination risk reduction, microbiology, food diseases and good practices. Other entities such as the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) and Koppert have worked with them on traceability and business plans. That has helped the cooperative to obtain certifications from SENASICA, México Calidad Suprema, SQF 1000 Level 3 and C-TPAT, which allow it to venture calmly into the demanding and competitive North American market of specialty vegetables. The company is preparing to obtain the ISO 9000 certification. López Cardona looks favorably on universities and technological institutes in the area that encourage programs related to agricultural management, protected horticulture, plant nutrition, plagues and diseases. The new growers that Eco Agri Tec needs in its greenhouses will come from there, he says. Overcast Days Eco Agri Tec is recognized worldwide for the technology of its greenhouses, which have hydroponic systems, multispan protection modules and heating. That enables them to use water efficiently, control plant diseases, isolate the product from soil problems and harvest more. If it is overcast every day, even if you have the best technology, any greenhouse stops producing with quality, adds José Alfredo López. He says that in 2012, Eco Agri Tec struggled to export tomatoes with uneven coloration and green spots. That was due to many cloudy days. He remembers that in that year, the cooperative sent a large part of its production to the domestic market, when normally they leave only 5% to 8% of their packages in Mexico. In 2011 they experienced another setback when tomato producers from the coldest areas in the US, where the fruit does not grow regularly during the winter, were blessed with good weather, producing and selling their own products and affecting exporter prices. There was excess production worldwide and prices plummeted. Not even distributors respected the contracts, explains López Cardona. Those moments were precisely what made the partners realize that strength lies in numbers. Eco Agri Tec continues to yield positive results; it employs 300 people from Ciudad Fernández and produces close to 3,815 tons of tomato every year (the combined sum of its multiple specialties) and it seems that it will have more control on foreign profit shortly. N Eco Agri Tec has an agreement with Pure Flavor, which distributes 95% of the specialty tomato it produces in its 10 hectares of greenhouses

19 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner photos archive Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico Sí o Sí: The Elite in Processed Foods Technology Sí o Sí Alimentos is a Mexican producer of easy to prepare dry food. The company exports 99.9% of its processed foods output. by antonio vázquez The technology we use is the Rolls Royce of dehydration, says Gerómino Villanueva, CEO of Sí o Sí Alimentos, a Mexican company that produces and exports freeze dried foods throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Sí o Sí began in 2006 as a university project. It was the final thesis of students at the Instituto Tecnológico de Morelia, which involved developing technology to dry foods that are plentiful in Mexico, maintaining their nutritional properties for export and consumption in other parts of the world. Their technology has been perfected. Villanueva describes the process: The product is frozen and put in a high vacuum system that does not degrade it. It is then dried and the water is removed, leaving a product with the same flavor and nutrients it had when fresh. Sí o Sí s flagship product is avocado. The fruit, which is grown almost everywhere in Mexico, has too much oil, which complicates the process of extracting water from it. But instead of being an obstacle, that has been a challenge for the Mexican firm. Thanks to their patented technology, avocados are dried, powdered, packaged and exported to countries such as the US, the UK, Belgium, Spain and Turkey. We are now sending samples to more than 60 countries. I can say that 99.9% of our production is exported as we only have a couple of customers in Mexico, says Villanueva. With our process, avocado remains the same but dried. Our product does not contain other ingredients. It can be preserved for up to one year and its preparation is very simple, you only have to add water to enjoy Mexican guacamole practically anywhere in the world, he explains. And while there are similar companies that work with fruits and coffee in Mexico and other parts of the globe, Sí o Sí was the first to innovate with avocado. In 2012, the firm s guacamole was named one of the most innovative products during the SIAL Food Show in Paris. From then on, Sí o Sí has explored working with other foods that it is now exporting as well, such as coconut and cacao, the plant used to produce chocolate. Gerónimo Villanueva points out that investing in technology innovation is essential for the growth of Sí o Sí. Technology development is the foundation for us to remain competitive. The market for these types of products is almost untapped and ours is very new. We have invested heavily in research to improve and compete. If we had stopped with what we did in 2010, when we only worked with avocado, a larger company would have put us out of business. I think our success lies in constantly innovating and identifying new market niches where there is no other available solution, he says. While there are similar companies that work with fruits and coffee in Mexico and other parts of the globe, Sí o Sí was the first to innovate with avocado. In 2012, the firm s guacamole was named one of the most innovative products during the SIAL Food Show in Paris. But the truth is that this Mexican business offers something that goes beyond opening a package and adding water to its contents. Sí o Sí has also thought about creating food solutions for extreme situations. Our products require no refrigeration so we have even thought about natural disasters, when power is out or in places where there is no access to power and refrigeration is not an option, explains Villanueva. The company s products have several certifications, like the organic food certification from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA Organic), the certification from the US Ethical and Environmental Certification Institute (ICEA) and a US acknowledgement of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). In six years, Sí o Sí has increased its research pool almost fourfold. The company has 15 people working on improving each product technologically, convinced that human resources are a basic tool for their development. Sí o Sí s plan is to grow exponentially in the medium term, develop new products with new foods and find new market niches. The good thing about Mexico is that raw materials are numerous: there is a fantastic variety and most of our customers demand organic products. That forces us to comply with international standards and certifications, which we have always done, says Villanueva. We always say yes in our culture. That is how we chose the name of our company. When someone asks us if we can do something, we say: Yes, we surely can! We have also found a great deal of support from government entities such as ProMéxico to place our products abroad and the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) to develop the technology, he concludes. N

20 Negocios ProMéxico Mexico s Partner photos courtesy of naturkost de méxico Mexico s Partner Negocios ProMéxico Naturkost de México was officially established in 2008 to supply mainly the US and Canada. Five years after opening its doors in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco, it produces close to 500 tons of chia every year. Of that total, 99% is exported to countries such as the US, Canada, Peru, Germany, Israel, Australia and Malaysia. The product is very popular now. In 2007, we only managed to sell two tons. This year we reached 500 tons in annual sales just in chia. The seed s main benefit is its high content of fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6, much more than flaxseed. That has been its main appeal, in addition to its high fiber and antioxidant content as well as other health benefits, explains Palacio. Naturkost s guiding principle is quality. And that is something that can only be accomplished through certification, according to Palacio. Naturkost de México has the German BCS Öko-Garantie certification for organic products, as well as Israel s Kosher certification and ISO for food safety. These and other certifications guarantee the firm s processes, which range from cleaning the seed to grinding it for consumption. Naturkost has innovated with other foods as well. It exports agave and inulin, pecans and walnut praline, sesame, dried coconut and some dried fruits such as mango and apple. We ask Palacio: Chia is widely consumed in Mexico but what is it used for in other countries? Many clients use it for cereal, granola bars and bread. For example, in Germany it is used in bread making, for multigrain bread. In South Korea they use it to make chia granola bars. Some customers make cereals and there is a market that extracts chia oil to produce Omega 3 capsules, he explains. And while globally, companies in Bolivia, Argentina, Peru or Australia use a process similar to Naturkost de México s, the Mexican corporation is the only one to apply it with organic products. The company is growing. It currently has 15 employees and plans to open another processing line and a second warehouse in the medium term. There are several brands of chia or agave nectar on the market but our added value is that we are certified organic, which means that our product is healthy and environmentally friendly. This gives Naturkost an incredible head start in a market such as the organic, which is developing and growing exponentially, concludes Palacio. N Naturkost has innovated with other foods as well. It exports agave and inulin, pecans and walnut praline, sesame, dried coconut and some dried fruits such as mango and apple. Chia, the Seed that Raised Naturkost in Mexico In just two years, the Mexican Naturkost has quadrupled sales of organic chia, a seed that abounds in Mexico and which the company exports mainly to the US, Canada and Germany. by antonio vázquez Naturkost de México can certainly brag about its close to 400% growth in sales in the last couple of years. The formula for its success? Selling chia, a plentiful seed in Mexico that is rich in fatty acids like Omega 3 and consumed in a variety of forms. The firm was established in At that time, Alejandro Palacio, an undergraduate student at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, worked from his classrooms to innovate the elaboration of organic prod- ucts. During a congress, German producers showed interest in what students in Monterrey were doing, Palacio included, and offered funding for several proposals. A year later, in 2006, the German company Naturkost asked him to be their representative in Mexico to continue with the project to produce organic chia that he had begun during his time at university. The product was already done but at that time, laws in Europe made it impossible to import and market it. They asked me to go to the US and Canada but our first sales were difficult, we barely sold two tons in 2007, says the now CEO of Naturkost de México

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