Coffee, cacao, (fresh and processed) fruit and vegetables, as well as fish and seafood: they are a few of the most demanded products on the European food market. They are also among the most important export products for Central America. As such, many exporters in the region are still looking for opportunities and often dream of Europe as key market. Europe is perceived as an ideal destination for high-quality products and premium prices. 

Also, European buyers show great interest in products from Central America:

  • The region furnishes complex, high-altitude Arabica coffees with multiple social and ecological certifications which match European market trends.
  • Central American cacao has nutty and complex flavour characteristics that are sought after in the high-quality chocolate market, which is the fastest-growing segment in Europe.
  • The European market for juices, dried, frozen, canned or otherwise processed fruits and vegetables offers many opportunities for Central American suppliers, especially sugar and additive-free products.
  • Central America offers some of the most commonly consumed fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe such as bananas and pineapples, as well as products which show staggering market growth such as avocados and exotic fruit.
  • The fish and seafood offer from Central America faces strong competition on the European market, but at the same time presents enormous growth potential for safe and sustainably-sourced products.

Multisectoral Value Chain Analysis in five countries

As part of the Central American Regional Economic Integration (INTEC) project, financed by the European Commission and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) contracted ProFound – Advisers In Development to conduct a Multisectoral Value Chain Analysis covering the following export sectors in Central America:

  • Specialty Coffee
  • Cacao & Derivatives
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
  • Processed Fruit and Vegetables
  • Fish & Seafood

A deep knowledge of value chains, combined with an extensive network of European buyers, are key assets at ProFound. They allow us to verify whether the ideas and assumptions of (potential) exporters match the real demands of the European market. Years of experience on this market also allow us to identify bottlenecks and opportunities, and to design the roadmap for sector associations, companies and other value chain actors in tackling those.

The importance of local partner collaboration

Key to collect data for the value chain analysis in six different Central American countries was the collaboration with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). In each country, ProFound and CATIE’s experts engaged with SMEs and sector organisations to provide their views and experiences on the sectors.


Do you want to learn more about these sectors in Central America? Contact Gustavo Ferro: gferro@thisisprofound.com