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The Peruvian Asparagus Importer's Association has developed its 2010-11 category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus.

"We have shaped our category management plan outline as a tool that will be essential for all involved in the trade of fresh asparagus," Priscilla Lleras, PAIA coordinator, said in an April 8 press release. "The plan is comprised with statistics identifying market growth, trends, industry facts and key demographics for 2010, as well as suggested methods to optimize sales within the category."

Fresh Peruvian asparagus imports increased by 10 percent in 2009. The association pointed out in the outline that according to U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau and Foreign Trade Statistics data recorded in 2009, the United States imported more than 344 million pounds of fresh- market asparagus, of which Peru represented nearly 191 million pounds. Furthermore, Peru is leading in quantity supply to the United States with fresh asparagus, and ultimately Peruvian fresh asparagus imports represented 55 percent of the total U.S. supply in 2009.

The 2010-11 category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus specifically includes statistics relating to market summaries, trends, nutritional facts, consumer positioning, food safety, fresh asparagus consumption key demographics, category and merchandising goals.

"The outline equips retailers and industry with the type of information that is necessary to sell more fresh Peruvian asparagus," John-Campbell Barmmer, director of marketing at Chestnut Hill Farms in Miami and East Coast co- chairman of PAIA, added in the press release. "This is our goal -- to inform and to promote the trade as well as offer retailers proposed marketing strategies. Moreover, as an industry, we are continuing in our efforts of developing value-added programs that provide the consumer with options that promote convenience, savings and easy to prepare alternatives for fresh Peruvian asparagus."

Added Chris Martin, president of Gourmet Trading in Los Angeles and West Coast co-chairman of PAIA, "Peru is the leading import source for fresh market asparagus in the United States. U.S. retailers have recognized the advantages of stocking Peruvian asparagus on their shelves, which has resulted in maintaining steady per-capita consumption levels. PAIA importers will continue to work with their customers in an effort to strategically promote this exceptional vegetable -- ensuring asparagus maintains its leadership role among top vegetables."

"It is our objective to promote the category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus, and we are most optimistic the outline will supply retailers and industry at large with information that communicates the health benefits, key demographics and proposed strategies to increase consumption of fresh Peruvian asparagus," Ms. Lleras added.

The plan is available from any member of the Peruvian Asparagus Importer's Association or by contacting Ms. Lleras.

In 2010, the association will focus even greater efforts on spreading the positive word to industry trade press, supermarkets and consumers concerning the benefits of fresh asparagus -- through articles, advertisements, direct-communication, and trade show participation.

The association anticipates increasing consumption and demand for fresh asparagus in 2010.