The market for chili peppers in Colombia is growing. Our sales of fermented and mashed habanero, jalapeño and cayenne have increased fivefold in the last ten years, with more than one hundred new clients, mostly producers of hot sauces. In Colombia, hot sauce was exclusively used for empanadas, with a salsa of onions, coriander, vinegar and a touch of chili pepper. Today consumption is much more sophisticated with spicy dishes and sauces, new generations are not afraid of pungency: they want to live new experiences and flavors. With this, the gastronomic growth we see a proliferation of restaurants in cities like Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla. Without leaving behind smaller cities that every day work to provide their diners with new dishes and recipes from around the world.
Despite the fact that sales in Colombia do not exceed 2% of the total sales of Hugo Restrepo y Cía., a company dedicated to the production of fermented ground chili peppers for the food industry, the amount of these is not negligible for the local market. Countries with the highest consumption by tradition have been our main objective. We have grown satisfactorily for 45 years in the United States, in Europe and others in Asia. Our entry into the Mexican and Central American markets was an important achievement during 2022; countries that produce, consume and export chili peppers, and that due to their high demand, have decided to cover the shortage of some varieties with Colombian chili peppers, thanks to the quality and 365 days of availability. In a business like this, challenges arise every day and today we are facing a new one: serving smaller industries with our products. We want to reach local businesses in Mexico and Central America with a structure similar to the one we use in Colombia of distributors. We want those industries that do not have the capacity to buy containers of ground chili peppers, to be able to receive our products in smaller presentations that suit their needs. Like this, we can bring the best of Colombian chili peppers from small farms of various Colombian regions which receive all our technical support to achieve good quality chili peppers. We want to continue growing as a chili exporting country, we want to continue growing as a company, and we want to continue seeing our clients grow.