By: Justin Bachman
Despite the strictures of U.S. law, chicken exports to Cuba have remained strong. Cuba’s import agency, Empresa Cubana Importadora de Alimentos (Alimport), considers the quality of U.S. broilers superior to those from Brazil and other Latin American sources, said Lee Ann Evans, a senior policy advisor at Engage Cuba, a trade association of large U.S. companies pressing for expanded commercial ties. Most of the U.S. chicken quarters—the most affordable protein available to Cuban consumers—end up in a variety of state-run and private food shops.
As U.S. policy adjusts and more Americans travel to Cuba, chicken producers and exporters are stirred by the idea of expanding their Cuba trade to new products. Among them: breast meat and the kinds of boneless, skinless cuts that dominate U.S. supermarkets. The communist nation can also expect to eventually discover the culinary joys of highly processed—and higher margin—chicken products such as “nuggets” and wings.
“The only limitations on the amount of product that goes there is limits on Cuba’s economy,” Sumner said. “So as we see Cuba’s economy improve and prosper, we would see more product going down.”