Nuevo León is punching above its weight in terms of export earnings and it’s not just heavy industry that is contributing to the state’s success.
Just 5% of Mexico’s total population call the northern border state home but more than US $34 billion or 11% of Mexico’s total exports originate there.
According to Samuel Peña Guzmán and José Cantú, who work in export promotion for the Nuevo León state government, a lot of the growth can be attributed to small and medium-sized companies.
Foods including packaged tortillas and tostadas, craft beer, traditional candy, citrus fruits and salsas are among items that are increasingly being sold by smaller enterprises in international markets.
One such company is Monterrey-based Alimentos Tres G, a business that only uses local supplies and completes all of its production within the state.
While the company initially started manufacturing food for other brands 20 years ago, since 2002 it has also made products under its own brand name – Zaaschila.
Now, 60 salsas and dressings are made and marketed under that name and the business is so successful that it supports 60 families, says its director of operations, Orlando Garza.
The company started off focusing its export efforts on the United States because of the large number of people there who have Mexican ancestry and a taste for spicy food, but now it also exports to countries in Central America and to Spain and Germany. Italy will soon be added to the list.
However, the U.S. continues to be its main international market, consuming eight of every 10 products it exports.
Part of the company’s international success can be attributed to its tailoring of products to suit the tastes of different markets. For salsas that means changing the spice level by using more or less of the chile varieties habanero, piquín and jalapeño.
One example is their salsa casera, or homemade salsa. While the chipotle salsa is the bestseller in the Mexican market, in the United States the habanero version is the most popular.
“It’s already an icon of the brand,” says Garza. “It’s the product we started with and we have a gourmet line that we export to the United States.”
Still, the domestic market remains very important as 70% of the company’s products are sold in Mexico, and efforts are being made to grow it further through the development of new products and other strategies.
Salsas for kids made with chamoy and tamarind are examples that Alimentos Tres G hopes will also reach an international market.
Source: El Universal (sp)