by Edna Alcantara and Wu Hao
ZAPOPAN, Mexico, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Now that Chinese consumers are familiar with Mexican avocados, a Mexican exporter thinks it's time to introduce another typical Mexican product to the Asian market, avocado oil.
Versatile and nutritious, avocado oil should find a responsive market among the growing number of health-conscious Chinese, according to Grupo Sesajal, which presented the product at this year's China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
Avocado oil is "for those who want to eat healthier and also enhance flavors," Alejandro Alaniz, the company's sales manager for the Asia-Pacific region, recently told Xinhua.
The green vegetable-like fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, and minerals like calcium and potassium. It also helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol in the body.
However, "its main characteristic is its smoking point," or the temperature at which the oil begins to burn, "which is 270 degrees centigrade, conserving all of its properties: omega 3 and omega 9, in addition to vitamin E," Alaniz said.
Company executives went to the CIIE with a special recipe for cooking with avocado oil, he said.
"Avocado oil is so versatile that you can eat it cold, as a dressing for salads, smoothies, humus or a slice of bread, or cook with it, because it doesn't lose its beneficial properties or flavor when exposed to high temperatures," said Alaniz.
The oil is also used by the cosmetics industry to make treatments for hands and feet, body and face creams, and hair products.
Alaniz said his company is eyeing sales to Chinese companies interested in packaging or bottling the oil under their own brands for the local market, or to the restaurant or food-processing sectors to use as cooking oil.
"Thanks to the opening up of the import market in China," the opportunities are there, he added.
At last year's expo, Grupo Sesajal received several orders for chia seeds, which it sees as a foundation for doing business, including eventually establishing a warehouse to serve online sales.
To cultivate its fledgling ties in China, the company maintains a representative there along with a translator.
"We know the Asian market is not a one-time thing. You have to build ties of trust between the client and supplier, a friendly relationship marked by confidence, followed by a competitive quality product," said Alaniz.
The family-owned Grupo Sesajal has been in business for more than 30 years, and exports to over 20 countries, mainly to the United States and Europe.