Voluntary and free-to-use for Argentinian companies whose products comply with certain standards, the logo was jointly developed by both public and private sector actors and launched in 2005.
According to figures from the National Directorate of Food and Drink, products bearing the quality seal were worth almost US$16m (US$15,812,847 free on board (FOB) value) in the first quarter of this year, compared to just over US$5m ($5,182,755) last year.
This increase in value is also due to the depreciation of the Argentinian peso, which has lost more than three times its value against the euro in the past two years. However, exports in volume terms also increased from 5,389 tons to 9,204.98t.
More products in the basket
The number of products bearing the logo also expanded and now includes olive oil, blueberries, frozen cooked beef fillets, organic honey, concentrated grape
must, frozen pre-fried potatoes and pistachios, in addition to lemons, raisins, and yerba mate.
Compliance with its standards is monitored by independent third parties, said Maria Celeste Barcus, head of the Argentinian Food Quality Seal program at the governmental National Directorate of Food and Drink.
“This seal follows the trend to offer consumers more information regarding the food they buy. It allows them to easily identify the Argentinian origin, which is beneficial given the excellent production conditions and abundance of resources that our country offers,” she said.
Products bearing the logo are exported to the rest of Latin America, Europe, the Middle East (a major buyer of yerba mate, particularly Syria), the US and Asia.
Jorge Saludes is the director of international projects at Spanish technical center AINIA, which works with food companies and institutions across Latin America. AINIA is currently involved in a project developing baby food products with an Argentinean manufacturer.
Saludes said Argentinian agri-food products are known for their quality and diversity in Latin America, from fresh fruit to wine, beef to enjoy a positive reputation,
“The country is also making a big effort to add value to some of its products that, despite the quality, are under the risk of commoditization when competing with others from neighboring countries such as Chile, Uruguay or Brazil.
“We can say, from our experience, that Argentina is very active in R&D projects, for example with the EU system EUREKA [an intergovernmental open platform for international cooperation in innovation] and their food products are in permanent innovation.”
Measuring the value: Is less more?
John Price, managing director of market research firm Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), told FoodNavigator-LATAM there is value in countries having national ‘quality food’ front-of-pack labels for their exports “if limited to well-regarded products, whose reputation is measured by some form of quantifiable method.
“Otherwise, if left in the hands of politicians, these designations tend to be lent to too many products to please more producers, thereby diluting the designation,” Price added.