Although organic farming in Chile started in the early 1980s, the sector only took off in the mid-1990s. Having been a supplier of off-season fresh and frozen fruit mainly for countries in the northern hemisphere, large conventional fruit and wine companies with export experience launched organic production in the late 1990s, attracted by demand in Europe and the USA.
Chile has a wide range of climates suitable for a variety of agricultural products, thanks to its north-south length of more than 4,000 kilometres. Isolated by natural barriers, the Andean highlands in the east, the Atacama Desert in the north, and the Pacific Ocean in the west, several Chilean areas enjoy a natural fertile soil with clean water ideal for organic farming. These barriers also prevent and control the spread of agricultural pests and disease.
Initially, the country’s organic offer included mainly apples, strawberries, blueberries, rose hip, kiwi and asparagus. With increased international demand for organic products, the Chilean organic offer and exports also have grown, especially in the past decade.
Today, Chile exports more than 40 organic products. Its supply includes fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, wine, olive oil, honey, medicinal herbs, essential oils, and certain super foods such as quinoa and Maqui berry. Chile’s main exported organic products are fresh blueberries, followed by fresh apples and frozen raspberries, according to an ODEPA report. Chilean organic products are appreciated in more than 100 countries, especially in the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany. According to ProChile’s Intelligence Department, based on the Central Bank of Chile, the organics export to the US represented over 50% of total organic exports that in 2013 were valued at US$170 million, US$175 million in 2012. Although this represents a slight decline versus the previous year, it is interesting to note how products such as blueberries, raspberries, apples and rosehip oil reached, for the same period, double digits growth.
With the enforcement of the new National Customs Tariff in January 2012, Chile is now one of the few countries with import/export statistics of certified organic products.
In respect to organic wine, the results are certainly very positive. Overall Chile stands today as the eighth largest wine producer in the world and is widely recognized for the number of wineries and quality of its products. Aware of global consumer trends demanding more organic certified products, the wine sector has strengthen its presence and reputation
abroad as strong supplier of organic wines reaching a 29% export growth in 2013.
Organic main exports last year were red and white wine blends and wine grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
Chilean organic exporters have taken part at BioFach in Germany and other international fairs. Lately, organic food companies have exhibited mainly at the winter and summer Fancy Food Shows in San Francisco and New York, and at the Fresh Ideas Marketplace, part of the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, the most important event in the
“Chile and California share similar geographic conditions and climate in opposite seasons,” said Francisco Correa, trade commissioner of ProChile in Los Angeles. “California represents a great mariket to introduce Chilean quality products with added value, such as organic certified foods.”
Over the past four years, ProChile has become an anchor pavilion at Fresh Ideas. In 2014 seven Chilean companies including four organic vineyards and the umbrella promotion
organization Wines of Chile will display their lines at Fresh Ideas:
Altadena OMG! Food Co.
Introducing an attractive line of fine organic super food ingredients in powder and unique blends: Maqui berry, acerola, camu camu, acai, quinoa, maca and more.
An attractive and convenient line of dried baby food made with organic fruits and vegetables, including the Patagonian native Maqui berry.
Specialized supplier of conventional and baby food grade purees and Spotlight on Chile Chile is one of the few countries with import/export statistics of certified organic
products. fruit sauces in a facility that is HACCP, ISO 9001certified. It also enjoys British Retail Council certification (2011). Pulp processing under cold extraction at low temperatures
and flash pasteurization to ensure safe and nutritious end products. Services include private label, co-manufacturing, co-packing and an in-house R&D department.
The first vineyard to embark in organic production in Chile
Converted into a 100% organic and biodynamic certified vineyard and winery over a decade ago.
Produces wine with its own organic certified grapes from the Apalta Valley of Colchagua, one of Chile’s best terroirs, keeping traceability from the field to the end product. Viña Pargua will present Anka 2009 (“full moon’s belly”) a complex red blend made up of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Carmenère, and 1% Petit Verdot. This
exclusive wine was obtained from 100% estate-grown and organically farmed grapes,
with a limited quantity of less than 2,500 cases available.