Due to the expansion of supermarkets in urban areas, the Honduran retail sector is by far the largest market for imported food.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number:
United States' exporters enjoy an enviable position in the Honduran market and it has improved after the
implementation of the CAFTA-DR agreement in 2006. Due to the expansion of supermarkets in urban
areas, the Honduran retail sector is by far the largest market for imported food. The HRI sector is
developing rapidly and has a tremendous potential for using imported processed products.
I. MARKET OVERVIEW
A. Economic Situation
The Honduran economy has diversified in recent decades and now has a strong export-processing
(maquila) industry primarily focused on assembling textile and apparel goods for re-export to the
United States, as well as automobile wiring harnesses and similar products. However, these industries
were hit hard by the current international economic downturn, with about 7,745 workers losing their
jobs in 2011. Despite the recent economic diversification, there continues to be a large subsistence
farmer population with few economic opportunities. Honduras also has extensive forest, marine, and
The value of remittances has been higher than the revenue generated from the maquila industry and
tourism. The Central Bank of Honduras reported that remittances increased 11.2 percent as of June
2011, as a result of higher levels of employment in the United States. Honduras’ real GDP increased
2.8 percent in 2010, recovering some from the -2.1 percent decline experienced in 2009, which was
largely due to external price shocks, the effects of the global economic slowdown, and the country’s
internal political crisis. Inflation was 6.5 percent at the end of 2010, this increase was a result of the
international high prices of petroleum products. Additionally, the banking system has been
strengthened by alliances with international banks.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) reached US$485.7 million during the first six months of 2011. The
largest percentage of FDI flow registered in 2011 was directed towards transportation and
telecommunication, manufacturing industry, manufactured goods and commerce. The United States
continues to be the largest investor in Honduras, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and
some Caribbean countries.
The United States is the chief trading partner of Honduras: the United States supplied 42.5 percent of
Honduran imports and purchased approximately 34.5 percent of Honduran exports in 2010. As of June
2011 total Honduran exports increased 52.1 percent in comparison to the same period in 2010. The
largest U.S. investments are in the garment assembly sector, tropical fruit production (bananas, melons,
and pineapple), tourism, energy generation, shrimp farming, animal feed production,
telecommunications, fuel distribution, cigar manufacturing, insurance, leasing, food processing, and
furniture manufacturing. More than 150 American companies operate in Honduras, including U.S.
manufacturing operations, U.S. franchises, and other types of industries.
B. Market Growth
Exporters from the United States enjoy a strong position in the Honduran market; a position which was
improved by the Central American-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA-DR). Honduras was the second country to ratify CAFTA-DR, and it entered into force in
Honduras on April 1, 2006. CAFTA-DR eliminates most tariffs and other barriers for U.S. goods
destined for the Central American market, protects U.S. investments and intellectual property, and
creates more transparent rules and procedures for doing business in Central America. CAFTA-DR also
aims to eliminate Central American tariffs, which facilitates increased regional trade that benefits U.S.
companies manufacturing in Honduras.
Honduras is a member of the Central American Common Market (CACM), which also includes
Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Honduras’s tariffs on most goods from outside the
CACM are currently within the zero to 15 percent range. Under CAFTA-DR, about 80 percent of U.S.
industrial and commercial goods can now enter the region duty-free, with the remaining tariffs to be
phased out over ten years. Enhanced by increased market access, U.S. exports over the past decade to
Honduras have increased both in terms of value and market share. Strong prospects for exports of goods
and services are extensive and include: franchising; food processing and packaging equipment; hotel
and restaurant equipment; processed foods, bulk and consumer oriented products, auto parts and
transportation machinery; travel and tourism services; printing and graphic arts equipment; safety and
security equipment; electrical machinery; and electrical power generation/renewable energy equipment.
Overall, Central America and Honduras enjoy relative stability, growing economies, and proximity to
the United States, all of which make these markets attractive for U.S. exports. Further, regional
integration should spur investment, growth, trade, and continued market opportunities for U.S. firms in
the coming years.
C. Market Opportunities and Competitiveness
The strengths, market opportunities and challenges of U.S. suppliers are illustrated in the following
Close proximity to the United States allows containerized cargo Direct competition from other Central
from gateway cities to be transported to Honduras in 2 - 3 days. American countries, as well as Mexico
With the lowest logistical costs in the region, Honduras also and Chile. Also, Honduras has negotiated
serves as a distribution point for the rest of Central America. a Free Trade Agreement with the
European Union and with Canada.
CAFTA-DR eliminates most tariffs and other barriers to United Maintaining macro-economic stability and
States goods destined for the Central American market, protects fostering an environment for investment.
U.S. investments and intellectual property, and creates more
transparent rules and procedures for doing business.
Consumers have strong preferences for U.S. products. U.S. The current economic situation in the
products enjoy a high-quality image among Hondurans. country limits purchasing power and
Importers prefer trading with U.S. exporters because of customers are price sensitive.
Among the leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment are Relative high duties on some products, as
fast food outlets, casual dining restaurants, and the introduction well as inconsistent customs valuation
of new U.S. hotel chains--including investment in the Bay practices and import procedures make it
Islands and North Coast of Honduras (prime tourist areas)--food more difficult to enter the market.
processing and packaging equipment, processed foods, and
general consumer goods.
Increases in infrastructure and facilities have permitted the year- Occasionally restrictive sanitary and
round availability of U.S. fruits such as apples, grapes, and phytosanitary import requirements.
pears. Direct imports by warehouse outlets have diversified
II. EXPORTER BUSINESS TIPS
A. Business Customs
The Honduran government is generally open to foreign investment and welcomes it. Restrictions and
performance requirements are fairly limited. Relatively low labor costs, proximity to the U.S. market,
and Central America’s best Caribbean port (Puerto Cortés) have also made Honduras increasingly
attractive to investors. Puerto Cortés, the largest deep-water port in the region, is the first port in Latin
America to qualify under both the Megaports and Container Security Initiatives (CSI), which now make
approximately 90 percent of all transatlantic and transpacific cargo imported into the United States
subject to prescreening prior to import.
Under CAFTA-DR, U.S. investors enjoy, in almost all circumstances, the right to establish, acquire,
and operate investments in Honduras on an equal footing with local investors. In the investment chapter
of CAFTA-DR, Honduras committed to provide a higher level of protection for U.S. investors than
under the 2001 Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). The local banking system is traditionally
conservative and generally extends only limited amounts of credit; however, looser monetary policies
and increased competition from regional and international banks, including HSBC and Citigroup, led to
an expansion of consumer credit in 2007. As of fall 2010, the banking system has a liquidity of more
than US$1.7 billion dollars. Recently, the Honduran National Banking and Insurance Commission
(CNBS) announced that it is considering increasing required reserves for banks which will lead to
higher interest rates. United States exporters that offer attractive financing terms on sales to Honduran
traders have the best chance of gaining market share.
As in most Latin American countries, a good personal relationship with prospective customers is basic
to penetrate the market. While it may take a little longer to establish a business relationship than is
customary in the United States, the investment in time can pay off in long-lasting and mutually
profitable alliances. Although a U.S. firm may export directly to Honduran companies, U.S. suppliers
are strongly recommended to have a local representative or a distributor who can personally travel to
B. Consumer Tastes and Preferences
Honduran preference for U.S. products has increased in a steady and upward level over the years
tremendously. The number of U.S. franchises operating in Honduras has grown rapidly. About 65
foreign firms now operate in Honduras. Most of these firms are U.S. fast-food and casual restaurants. In
addition, Hondurans had traditionally prefer over various decades the quality, convenience and
wholesomeness of American products. Some companies are combining Honduran and American foods
as an attractive tool in restaurants.
C. Food Standards and Import Regulations
The Honduran Government (GOH) agencies which are responsible for food safety matters are the
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The main regulatory
agencies regarding food safety are SAG’s National Plant and Animal Health Service (SENASA) and
the MOH’s Sanitary Regulation Directorate (SRD). As a general rule, SENASA is responsible for the
inspection of agricultural products that enter Honduras, such as imports of raw materials and the
process for consumer ready food products. The SRD is responsible for securing the safety of processed food
products sold to the consumer.
Demonstrating Eligibility for Preferential Tariff Treatment
In relation to the United States-Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA-DR), Honduras requires a special Certificate of Origin for imports from the United States to
be submitted. The main purpose of the document is to certify that the product originated in the United
States, which in turn allows the product to receive the preferential tariff treatment agreed upon in
CAFTA-DR. The producer, exporter, importer or Chambers of Commerce could provide the certificate
with all the required information. A sample of this certificate can be found at:
CAFTA_TLC_Estados_Unidos.sflb.ashx. The CAFTA-DR certificate is required by the Customs Tax
In some situations, multiple shipments of identical goods are being sent to the same CAFTA-DR
importer. In these cases, it is not necessary to create a new written or electronic certification for each
individual shipment. The importer may maintain one “blanket" certificate to be presented to the
customs authority, if requested. The "blanket period" may not exceed one year.
Sanitary Registration for Products
The Sanitary Registration Number is the established procedure through which processed foods are
approved to be sold, i.e. is the processed product registration. Procedures to obtain the Sanitary
Registration Number (SRN), as well as sanitary inscription or renewal, can be carried out by any person
or company. It is not necessary to be a lawyer; however, it is suggested that if there is a problem during
the process of registration, the importer should utilize a lawyer. The following information must be
submitted to the SRD to obtain a SRN:
Applicant’s information: Name, Honduran ID or passport number (in the case of Honduras);
name of legal representative, Honduran ID or passport number, address, phone, fax, e-mail, and
address; phone, fax, and e-mail of the warehouse or distributor.
Sanitary License: The Sanitary License applies only to Honduran establishments. Through the
license, the SRD authorizes the establishments to manufacture or import and store processed
food products, based on their compliance with food safety and hygiene requirements.
Manufacturer’s information: Name of factory or warehouse in the United States, address,
phone, fax, and e-mail.
Product Information: Name of product to be registered, product trademark, type of product, net
content, sanitary registration number for renewals, and country of origin.
Certificate of Free Sale for processed food products. The certificate indicates that the exporter
has an annual food permit to produce, manufacture, distribute and pack food products for human
consumption. It states that the plant where the product has been produced or processed is
regularly inspected for compliance with all health and sanitation requirements. It also certifies
that the products are freely sold and consumed in the United States, as well as exported. The
certificate is issued by the appropriate state-level health authorities or the Chamber of
Commerce of the United States.
The certificate is requested to register the processed food product with the SRD. For registration
purposes, the Free Sale Certificate (FSC) should be accompanied by a document that provides an
endorsement of the signatures that appear on the FSC. This
document can be any of the following: An apostille that certifies that the FSC has been
signed by a notary public of the state of origin of the FSC or by an authentication of the
FSC by the Honduran Consulate. In both cases, the apostille or authentication should be provided with
an official translation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honduras.
Original label of the imported product. If the label is not in Spanish, a complementary label with
the translation must accompany.
Proof of payment of the laboratory analysis.
Sample of the product when analysis is done prior to registration. Products are divided in three
Category “A” for products is the highest risk. These products are the easiest to contaminate and are
consumed by a high level of the population. The category includes the following products: raw and
processed meats of all kinds, eggs (powder and liquid), milk (powder and liquid), cheese, cream, butter,
yogurt, bottled water, ice, and raw and processed seafood of all kinds.
Category “B” is medium risk, such as flour, sugar, and salt.
Category “C” has the least risk, such as candy and cookies.
Sample analysis is conducted only on Category A products. The registration of products under the B
and C categories does not need a sample of the product. Samples are required only in cases when there
is an alert or outbreak of a B or C category product.
All processed food products imported into Honduras must be registered with the SRD. The exporter
should confirm that the importer complies with two SRD requirements: 1) The importer must have a
valid Sanitary License, and 2) the importer must register the product and obtain a SRN or Sanitary
Processed products must have a SRN issued by the SRD prior to entering the country. Only food
samples to be used for the registration process will be allowed to enter the country without such a
number. SRD regulations allow up to 30 working days to provide a SRN. The importer’s
representative should regularly check with the SRD to verify the status of the process—regular
checking will insure that importers know if a document is missing or if the SRD requires further
Central America Customs Union (CACU) members agreed that for the products produced or processed
in their countries, when a product obtains a SRN in a CACU country, it does not need to be registered
in another. Products produced in the U.S. are not eligible for the registration exemption. However, it is
important to note that the origin of the product is considered to be a CACU country if the product is
processed in a CACU country, even if the raw material is not from a CACU member country.
Unlabeled containers of food inputs waiting to be processed, labeled, or repacked, do not need SRNs.
However, the packer or processor has to have a Sanitary License issued by the SRD. When the
processed or packed food product is to be sold to the consumer, it needs a SRN. It should also have the
expiration date, the name of the manufacturer and the name of the processor or packer. Meat products,
processed or raw, are sold at the retail level in packages or bags must have a SRN.
The Sanitary Inscription is the authorization granted to an importer or distributor of a previously
Food Product Import Permits
Import permits of raw and processed food products, additives, pesticides, and inputs used in food
processing must comply with SENASA requirements. In order to get an import permit, all importers
should submit the request with the following documents to SENASA:
a. Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate
b. Certificate of Origin
c. Photocopy of Pro-forma Commercial Invoice
The above mentioned documents and the import request should be clear and show the same amounts,
description, origin and point of departure of the products to be brought. The request of an import
permit is done when the importer has already complied with the procedures of obtaining the SRN from
The import permit application forms can be accessed at: http://www.senasa-sag.gob.hn under “requests
for permits”. The import permit process in SENASA takes from 24 to 72 hours if all documents are in
order. The permit is applied to one shipment and is valid for 30 days. In case the permit is not used
within 30 days of issuance, the importer requests that SENASA renew the import permit.
The documents required to be submitted with the import permit during the import process at the port of
entry are described below.
a. Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate
SENASA requests that the Phyto or Zoosanitary Certificate be issued by the U.S. federal government
authority that inspects the conditions of the plant where the product has been produced or processed
such as: the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), as well as the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA). A Certificate of Free Sale issued by a state-level health authority or a chamber
of commerce is accepted for other types of processed products. SENASA, however, does not accept
documents from commercial trading companies.
The above mentioned documents certify the inspections done by federal or state authorities. Under
CAFTA-DR, Honduras recognized the United States inspection services as equivalent to the one in
Honduras. This equivalence eliminates the requirement of a pre-certification of the U.S. exporter’s
Imports of U.S. fresh/frozen poultry products must come with an FSIS Certificate (Form 9060-5).
SENASA has requested that USDA add an Additional Declaration (AD) to the phytozoo-sanitary
certificates. The AD should indicate that “All fresh/frozen poultry meat, including mechanically
deboned meat (MDM), comes from an area free of high or low pathogenic Avian Influenza". APHIS
provides updates to SENASA concerning outbreaks by state as well as their current status. However,
SENASA has emphasized that it is the importers’ as well as the exporters’ responsibility to stay abreast
of outbreaks so they can assure SENASA of the health status of the area of origination.
Imports of cooked poultry products must come with an FSIS Certificate (Form 9060-5) which includes
also the AD indicating that “All fresh/frozen poultry meat, including mechanically deboned meat
(MDM), comes from an area free of high or low pathogenic Avian Influenza".
In the case of imports of animal products, SENASA’s Food Safety Department (DIA) has a registry of
Honduran import establishments which they have inspected (and have made eligible for the importation
of these products). The Honduran establishments must comply with good agricultural and
manufacturing practices (GAPs and GMPs) to keep the imported product safe.
b. Certificate of Origin
The certificate is from the place where the product was produced or manufactured. Products made in
the United States, and shipped from any port must have a certificate indicating the United States as the
country of origin. In the case of products not made in the United States, but distributed by U.S.
companies, the United States Chambers of Commerce can issue a Certificate of Origin which indicates
the country of origin of the product. SENASA reports that often importers are confused about “origin”
and “point of shipping”. This might cause errors in the documents presented for the import permit.
c. Photocopy of Pro-Forma Commercial Invoice
SENASA requires that this document shows the same amounts, description, origin and point of
d. Photocopy of Sanitary Registration
SENASA and the SRD are working together to assure that imported consumer-ready products destined
for consumers will be stored and handled properly, as stated by the Health Code. SENASA requires
that the importer have a consumer-ready Sanitary Registration Number (SRN) to issue the import
permit. SENASA needs a copy of this document only for imports of consumer-ready products.
e. Photocopy of Import License
Importers of dairy products with the Harmonized Code (HC) from 04.01 to 04.06 and 1901.10.1 and
1901.90.20 should have an import license issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (SIC). The HCs
are for milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheeses, baby formula and powdered milk. Importers will need to
be registered only once. The license will have a 60-day validity and can be extended at the request of
the importer. In order to issue the import license, SIC needs to have copy of the Import Permit that
SENASA issues to the importer.
For further information, please see the Honduras GAIN Report on Food and Agricultural Import
Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) Country Report at www.fas.usda.gov or contact FAS Tegucigalpa
at email@example.com. Alternatively, U.S. exporters may contact SENASA and the Ministry of
Health offices by visiting the following websites: http://www.senasa-sag.gob.hn
d. General Import and Inspection Procedures
Labeling requirements are also set by the Ministry of Health through the Sanitary Regulations
Directorate (SRD). In general, labels of all consumer-oriented products are required to include the
following basic information:
1. Name of the product
2. Name of the manufacturer or distributor
3. Country of origin
4. List of ingredients
5. Net content
6. Lot number
7. Manufacturing and expiration dates
8. Complementary labeling
9. Sanitary registration number
10. Any applicable health warnings
Food products must also adhere to the following labeling requirements:
1. Labels may be made of paper or any other material that can be attached or permanently printed
on the package or container.
2. All writing on labels shall be made in a clear and legible manner and shall not fade under normal
3. The label must be translated into Spanish with the same information that is given in the foreign
4. When applicable, the label must state: “refrigerate after opening”, "for immediate consumption
after opening”, "keep frozen", "artificial", and "treated with radiation".
5. The “Recommended Daily Allowance” (RDA) of certain additives may be included on the
label. RDA standards may vary from those in the United States since Honduras follows those of
6. Labels must be affixed prior to customs clearance and at the time of product registration in the
way the product will be sold.
Legally, products cannot be imported into Honduras with just the standard U.S. label. Stick-on labels
are allowed to fully comply with Honduran labeling requirements on product information, but not to
indicate the manufacturing or expiration date. Stick-on labels for the manufacturing or expiration date
are not accepted because they can easily be altered. The manufacturing and/or expiration date can only
be displayed with stick-on labels authorized by the SRD.
Labels should not indicate the product has therapeutic, healing, or any other attributes not normally
associated with the product. While enforcement of such health claims is often difficult, the SRD takes
special care in ensuring this is the case with products that are widely used by the population and require
added ingredients to increase their nutritional value such as the case of flour, salt, and sugar. By law,
sugar for human consumption must be fortified with vitamin A. Salt must be fortified with iodine, and
wheat flour with iron, folic acid, vitamins B1 and B2, and niacin. The SRD oversees that these
products are properly labeled as fortified.
SAG has delegated the responsibility of all quarantine inspections and treatments of agricultural
imports to the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA). OIRSA’s
Plant and Animal Protection Service (SEPA) inspectors are located at the borders, ports, and airports.
They follow SENASA’s instructions to enforce the import requirements of raw animal and plant
products, as well as processed foods imports at the time of entry.
SEPA and Customs inspectors are involved in clearing imports of these products. SEPA requires at the
port-of-entry the documents indicated by SENASA in the import permit such as: the original import
permit approved by SENASA, the original Phyto or Zoosanitary or Export Certificate, and the original
Certificate of Origin. SEPA also requires a copy of any other document that the import permit indicates
such as the Pro-Forma Commercial Invoice. In cases of consumer-ready products, a copy of the
Sanitary Registration document, issued by the SRD at the Ministry of Health, should be included.
Please note that SEPA reviews that the origin of the product is the same in the documents and in the
label of the product entering the country. This is required by SENASA since often importers are
confused about “origin” and “point of shipping.”
Prior to granting customs clearance, the SEPA inspector reviews all the documents provided and
conducts an inspection of the product. The entry of animal products and by-products depends on the
food safety conditions of the product itself. It also depends on the exporting country’s current animal
health status. The customs clearance is usually granted within a short period of time; however,
depending on the work load at the port and whether or not all of SENASA’s requirements are complete,
the time period can range from a few hours to a couple of days.
In special cases, shipment of products that did not go through SENASA’s import permit process are
normally detained at the port of entry where product sampling is conducted. The samples are later
subjected to laboratory analysis to check the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the
product. If the laboratory analysis indicates that the product does not meet acceptable standards, the
product may be confiscated and later destroyed, re-exported, or tagged for animal consumption,
depending on its condition and characteristics as determined by the authorities.
For additional information on Import Permissions one can access the following websites:
http://www.senasa-sag.gob.hn:8080/senasaextranet and http://www.senasa-
III. MARKET SECTOR – STRUCTURE AND TRENDS
U.S. exporters should keep in mind the relatively small size of the Honduran market and the high
elasticity of demand for consumer products when devising marketing strategies. Price is one of the
most important elements that influence the receptivity score of most Honduran imports. In many cases,
Honduran business people buy directly from abroad if they feel that the cost of imports available in the
local market is too high. U.S. exporters should carefully analyze both their cost approach and market
approach when making pricing decisions.
U.S. exporters that offer attractive financing terms on sales to Honduran traders have the best chances
of gaining market share. This is particularly true for large-scale projects. It is important to emphasize,
however, that international firms must exercise due caution when granting credit to Honduran trading
partners. U.S. firms should investigate the creditworthiness and reputation of potential partners before
Under CAFTA-DR, tariffs on a wide range of consumer-oriented products for U.S. products were
eliminated, and market demand for U.S. products in this sector looks promising. The category of other
consumer-oriented products has witnessed significant increases in the past few years for products such
as red meats, fresh fruit, vegetable and animal oil/fats; pop corn; preparations for sauces; and sauces,
spices, mustard. Other consumer-oriented products offering good export opportunities are snack foods,
packaged and canned foods, breakfast cereals, food additives, dairy products, wine, and pet foods.
B. Food Retail Market
Honduras's retail food sector is by far the largest market for imported food. Retail sales of imported
consumer-oriented products are conducted mostly by supermarkets, mini-markets and convenience
stores. The supermarket retailing industry is growing rapidly. Supermarkets have opened stores in
various urban locations and most populated cities in the country. Most of the regularly employed
population takes advantage of promotions and buys their food at these supermarkets. Many
supermarket chains are also expanding, remodeling, and modernizing.
Easter, besides being a religious holiday, is also “summer vacation" time for the vast majority of
Hondurans. This vacation period begins well before, and extends well beyond, the two-day holiday.
Christmas gift baskets are also increasingly popular. In recent years, it has become common to include
a high percentage of U.S. products in these baskets. Most commonly included are traditional favorites
such as candy, nuts, whiskey, and wines. Easter and Christmas are the main peaks for retail sales. By
law, in June and December of every year, the government and private sector must provide a bonus to
their employees. This bonus is equivalent to a month’s salary. Many families make special purchases
or buy quality products at this time.
Various marketing approaches could be developed for the different sectors. It is always important to
appoint a local distributor in Honduras that can provide a good market presence. However, many U.S.
suppliers are discouraged by small initial volumes, and do not provide the needed support. U.S.
exporters looking to establish and maintain a share of the market should be willing to go the extra mile
in developing sales from the ground up and servicing their growing markets. They should work with
their customers to satisfy local manufacturing and expiration date requirements, and additionally
provide their customers with competitive pricing, credit alternatives, catalogs, and samples to test the
market. They should also be willing to consider sharing advertising costs for launching new brands.
Moreover, they should also be willing to provide technical and sales support, as well as training in
various areas such as category management, merchandising, and product handling.
C. Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Sector
The tourism industry in Honduras has experienced substantial growth supported by the interest of the
Government of Honduras (GOH) and the private sector in developing the industry.
Total visitors increased from 1.59 million in 2008 to 1.62 million in 2009
Food and drink establishments remained at 5,381 in 2009
The number of Hotels remained at 949 in 2009
US Dollar income from tourists increased from US$620 million in 2008 to US$616 million in
Cruise ship visitors decreased from 434,221 in 2008 to 429,829 in 2009
Whether for interest in historic attractions, sporting activities, or relaxation, tourism plays a significant
role in nearly all of the Central American economies, something which has stimulated growth in the
hotel and restaurant industries. U.S food products geared toward the hotel, restaurant, and institutional
(HRI) sector are therefore increasing in demand.
The hotel industry is rapidly expanding into urban and rural tourism. Among the new projects are those
with bungalow-type resorts, apartment-hotels, cabins, hostels, and inns. Convention traffic is also
increasing, and the restaurant industry is growing at an even faster rate. Many first-class restaurants,
fast-food chains, and franchises are opening due to attractive incentives. Honduras has the largest
number of U.S. fast food and casual dining franchises in Central America. The development of modern
shopping malls and commercial centers has prompted the establishment of an increasing number of
restaurants as well.
The U.S. franchises are in need of raw materials, and the local market cannot always fulfill their needs.
Also, some of the franchise agreements require U.S. raw materials as part of the contract. The
following U.S. franchises and casual dining establishment operate in Honduras:
America’s Favorite Chicken
Little Caesar’s Pizza
Honduras is also carrying out projects to enhance tourism which may provide opportunities for U.S.
food products. One example is the Tela Bay project which is a major priority in the country’s tourism
development strategy. The project, known as “Los Micos Beach and Golf Resort,” is located in
Honduras within driving distance from San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, two of its three largest cities. The
property set aside for the project covers 312 hectares of land with beach, forest, and lagoon access. It is
majority owned by the Honduran Institute of Tourism, but the Honduran private sector has also made
large investments in the project. The physical, social, and cultural characteristics of the project zone, in
addition to its careful planning, give the Tela Bay project everything it needs to become a sustainable
tourism destination where profitability and nature are well balanced. The first phase of the project
consists of the construction of an international 250 rooms four-star hotel, a 150 rooms international
five-star hotel, an eighteen-hole signature championship golf course and clubhouse (PGA grade), and
real estate offerings consisting of 437 residential units. Additional amenities include a retail village, an
equestrian club, and private beach clubs. Areas have also been set aside for recreational activities,
administration, and public services. All development criteria have been designed to remain flexible.
Basic infrastructure is currently being developed for this project.
D. Food Processing Sector
The total market for food processing in Honduras has increased steadily over the past few years and
further increases are expected in the years to come. The United States continues to be Honduras’ largest
supplier of food processing ingredients enjoying a high level of acceptance and reputation for high
Honduran exporters are pursuing expansion plans to increase production and improve the quality of
their exports, particularly non-traditional agricultural products such as melons, watermelons, mangoes,
winter vegetables, shrimp, jalapeno peppers, fruits, and flowers. With CAFTA-DR, producers are
looking forward to opportunities of exporting new products to the U.S. market. Every day, more and
more companies are offering processed products such as tortillas, processed wheat, soy or oats, and
dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
IV. BEST CONSUMER ORIENTED PRODUCTS PROSPECTS
The following is a list of product categories with the best export potential for U.S. suppliers based on
recent export performance, relative ease of entry, and developing trends.
2010 K Market Attractiveness ey Constraints
P Imports from USA roduct Category Import Tariff Rate Over Market
(U.S.$ in Development
Red Meat/ 44,997 Immediate tariff Competition from Consumers have
Fresh/Chilled/Frozen elimination of Prime Nicaragua, and strong preferences
and Choice cuts. Costa Rica for U.S. products.
All other tariffs on
beef and beef 0% duty for U.S.
products will be premium meat cuts.
eliminated within 15
years. Rapidly developing
Fresh Fruits 16,967 Almost all U.S. Competition from retail & HRI sector.
fresh fruits are tariff Chile, Mexico,
free, except for Guatemala, Costa Strong presence
Oranges Rica, Nicaragua, and growth of U.S.
(10 yrs). España and Peru fast food outlets.
Dairy Products 13,807 All dairy products Competition from
Milk Powder, New Zealand, Tourism is growing
Butter, Cheese, Ice Costa Rica, at a fast pace.
Cream and Other Australia,
Dairy Products will Guatemala, El
A Developing food
be tariff free within Salvador, processing industry
20 years. Nicaragua and
in need of quality
Snack Foods 13,026 All U.S. snack foods Competition from
are tariff free Guatemala, El
Rica and Mexico
Processed Fruit & 13,613 All U.S. vegetables Competition from
Vegetables are tariff free, except Costa Rica,
for the following: Guatemala, Chile,
vegetables (10 yrs) El Salvador and
and mixed México
vegetables (5 yrs)
Poultry Meat 11,159 All Central Competition from
American tariffs on Costa Rica
poultry and poultry
products will be
eliminated within 18
years. Chicken leg
quarters are at 0%
Breakfast Cereals 5,711 All tariffs on Competition from
breakfast cereals Mexico, El
will be eliminated Salvador, Costa
within 10 years, Rica, Guatemala
except for rice
cereals which are
Fruit & Vegetable 3,261 All Fruit and Competition from
Juices Vegetable Juices are Costa Rica, El
tariff free. Salvador,
VI. KEY CONTACTS
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG)
National Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (SENASA)
Dr. José Heriberto Amador, General Director
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG)
Blvd. Miraflores, Avenida La FAO
Phone: (504) 2231-0786
Fax: (504) 2231-0786
Ministry of Health
Sanitary Regulations Directorate (SRD)
Lic. Enrique Sabillón, General Director
Anexo #1, Esquina opuesta a Farmacia Regis
Phone: (504) 2237-7659
Fax: (504) 2237-2726
Other important Specialist Contacts:
National Service of Plant and Animal Health (SENASA)
Animal Health Sub-Director
Dr. Ranfis Bolivar Mercado
Blvd. Miraflores, Avenida La FAO
Phone: (504) 2231-0786
Fax: (504) 2231-0786
Food Safety Department
Dr. Juan Ramón Velásquez
Blvd. Miraflores, Avenida La FAO
Phone: (504) 2235-8425
Fax: (504) 2231-0786
Use and Control of Pesticides Department
Ing. Edgardo José Lobo
Blvd. Miraflores, Avenida La FAO
Phone: (504) 2232-6213
Fax: (504) 2231-0786
If you have any questions regarding this report or need assistance exporting to Honduras, please contact
the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Offices at the following addresses.
Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy
Avenida La Paz, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Phone: (504) 2236-9320, Ext. 4354.4544
Fax: (504) 2236-8342
Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy
Avenida Reforma 7-01 Zona 10
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Phone: (502) 2332-4030
Fax: (502) 2331-8293