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Nogales sees more ethnic items

Growth has carried over for Nogales, AZ, importers on ethnic produce, such as cactus for the Hispanic market.

The definition of ethnic produce is fluid however; mangos and avocados were once considered ethnic products and are now mainstays.

Matt Mandel, vice president of operations at SunFed, said that while locally in Nogales there has always been a demand for ethnic produce catering to the Hispanic population, he is now seeing more demand during his travels nationwide.

“It seems more of the retail buying community is asking about those different products, whereas they may not have previously,” he said.

Martinez also sees more people experimenting with different flavors, especially hot peppers, including both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers.

Christian H. Rivas, managing member of C.H. Rivas, LLC, is also monitoring the demand shifts, both subtle and dramatic.

“It seems every year interest in organic and ethnic produce is on the rise,” he said, as more shippers in Nogales are offering new items, including organics. “We believe this trend is still in the beginning stages and will evolve into a bigger opportunity for our local area.”

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full supplement.