La Plaza: "Authentic Salvadoran Flavor"

Welcome to Alejandro Lazo's weekly blog-within-a-blog on the region's Latino business community.

By Alejandro Lazo

You might be familiar with the slogan "Made in the U.S.A.;" well now the government of El Salvador is trying to promote its native brands for Salvadorans living in this country using a similar strategy.

From pupusas to soft drinks to staples like rice and beans, ethnic foods produced in El Salvador and exported to the United States will now carry a stamp with a light blue logo carrying the words "Autentico Sabor SalvadoreƱo," meaning "authentic Salvadoran flavor."

It is all part of an initiative by the Salvadoran government to boost exports and create jobs back home.

"The greatest challenge of our generation is that of employment," Ana Vilma Albanez de Escobar, the country's first female vice president, said in an interview.

The new logo.

Albanez was in town this week, visiting grocery stores and meeting with local importers who sell the Salvadoran brands to kick off the marketing campaign. In addition to the logo, "Siente el Sabor de Tu Tierra" or "taste the flavor of your land," is one of the slogans the government will use to promote its food.

El Salvador is already highly reliant on the vast Diaspora of its fellow countrymen who live in the United States. In 2007, Salvadoran immigrants sent about $3.7 billion back to their homeland, with much of that currency coming from the United States.

Salvadorans are the biggest immigrant group in the Washington area, with an estimated 133,000 people born in the tiny Central American country now living here. The Salvadoran Embassy estimates that if U.S.-born children of Salvadoran citizens are counted, about 1.7 million Salvadorans, or 20 percent of the nation's population, live in the United States, with about 500,000 locally.

JosuƩ Alvarado, the owner of the export company Rio Grande Food Products in Laurel, said he hopes the Salvadoran effort will help increase sales by generating publicity for some of the ethnic foods he distributes.

"We are the pioneers of this and we hope now to produce and create more opportunities for more people," Alvarado said.

By Dan Beyers  |  September 25, 2008; 7:30 PM ET  | Category:  La Plaza
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