Peruvians cashing in on low-carbon livestock alternative

Global Business

Peruvians cashing in on low-carbon livestock alternative

Eating guinea pigs is an age-old custom in Peru. A new plan is helping breeders produce organically-fed guinea pigs at low cost to reach high-end restaurants.

What’s more the taste for ‘cuy’ as the animal is known in Peru is tempting Peruvians who live abroad. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports.

Peruvians cashing in on low-carbon livestock alternative

Peruvians cashing in on low-carbon livestock alternative

Eating guinea pigs is an age-old custom in Peru. A new plan is helping breeders produce organically-fed guinea pigs at low cost to reach high-end restaurants. What’s more the taste for ‘cuy’ as the animal is known in Peru is tempting Peruvians who live abroad. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reports.

They’re cute, cuddly, easy to feed and care for- qualities which make them ideal family pets.

But combined with their rapid growth and speedy breeding that’s also what has made the guinea pigs a delicacy in this part of the world.

Now in the age of global warming, the ‘cuy’, as it’s known, is seen as a low-carbon alternative to big livestock.

For some, eating guinea pigs are not appealing but for many Peruvians and other Latin Americans living abroad, ‘cuy’ is the taste of home, and they’re prepared to pay a little bit extra for it.

That market – principally in the United States is already being tapped into. Air freight shipping costs mean one animal – whole, hairless and frozen – costs around $12 on the supermarket shelf.

Classed as an exotic meat, exporters have had to overcome some obstacles. Cheap in Peru, the price in the U.S. means consuming guinea pig is for special occasions.

Sales are rising, but except for a few adventurous diners, this high-protein, low fat Andean delicacy has yet to get that cross-over appeal.