When it comes to Peruvian sweet onions, in the U.S. at least, the scales tip decidedly in favor of retail over foodservice, importers said.
Peruvian onions exported to the U.S. typically are slated for retail markets, said Jill Phillips, vice president of DeBruyn Produce Co., Zeeland, Mich.
There’s a very good reason, she said, that more don’t go to foodservice. Peruvian onions tend to go to retail because they’re flat — the geometry doesn’t make peeling them very efficient, she said.
None of the sweet onions Bland Farms LLC, Glennville, Ga., brings in from Peru are slated for foodservice, said Richard Pazderski, director of sales and marketing.
And there’s a very good reason why.
“They don’t want to pay the premium,” he said.
Delbert Bland, the company’s president, offers another reason.
“It’s flat — you don’t get the tonnage out of it when you cut it up,” he said.
“You wind up throwing a bunch away.”
In the sweet category, restaurateurs will make an exception when it comes to Vidalias, Bland said. They’re willing to put up with the inconvenience and shrink if they can entice patrons with the word “Vidalia” printed on their menus.
And even though the Peruvian sweet is “about as close to a Vidalia as you can get,” it doesn’t have the same name recognition, Bland said.