Viva Tierra Organic's Chris Ford Talks Up and Coming Peruvian Fair Trade Organic Ginger Supply
PERU - As ginger continues to climb the grocery list ladder, I connected with long-time industry advocate, fair trade expert, and Business Development and Marketing Manager for Viva Tierra Organic Chris Ford on a region also climbing the ladder: Peru.
“The Peruvian ginger industry is very young, less than 20 years old, but taking the most impressive steps to deliver the highest-quality product,” Chris tells me, explaining how he and his team led the charge to ensure absolute transparency as the Peruvian ginger market strengthens its position. “Our ginger operation is Organic and Fair Trade Certified, adding value by building loyalty, driving sales, ensuring safe and healthy working conditions, and strengthening brand credibility.”
The Fair Trade sticker is becoming increasingly valuable in its own right as retailers seek to be proactive and protected among increasing transparency practices.
“Transparency is huge, and we know in detail that our supply comes from hundreds of small-scale growers. Packing takes place over 200 miles east of Lima over the Andes in the transition zone between mountains and rainforest, a 12-hour drive. Because of the region’s difficult geography—mountain combined with rainforest—it is not possible to mechanize production methods, every aspect of labor on the farms is done by hand, it takes time and it’s expensive—not all ginger is created equal,” Chris points out, adding that while it may initially register as a higher cost, what it really means is a better benefit to the buyer.
High quality, visible fair trade, and traceable practices are all the pieces spelling out repeat purchases as consumers gain a better understanding of the ginger market and what they want. As for the buy-side, Chris explains how this is a cross-merchandising key for retail.
“Ginger, being a durable root vegetable, allows endless cross-merchandising opportunities outside the traditional cold case in the produce department; think seltzer, meat counter (it pairs great with chicken, salmon, and beef dishes), the juice bar, bakery, and more,” he lists off. “And packaging ginger in our ReadyCycle® retail unit allows the customer to explore all the diverse uses for ginger, as well as ensuring a larger transaction for the retailer compared to having a small bulk offering.”
Not only is Viva Tierra’s ginger packaging 100 percent recyclable, with no wax or plastic, home compostable, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified, but ensuring that the product is packed guarantees coded rings for what is usually a loose object.
Peruvian ginger is year-round, with peak volume July–March, and Viva Tierra is developing additional geographies to supplement the more challenging window of April–June.
“We experience increased consumer demand heading into the winter months. Ginger is a superfood that has powerful health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, contains a high density of nutrients and bioactive compounds, plus it is very versatile to use to make tea, juicing, smoothies, stir-fry, cocktails, and more,” Chris concludes.
With Fair Trade month just around the corner and ginger flavor rising in demand, this is the perfect time to bring the superroot to your produce departments and beyond.