Did you know?
Six thousand years ago hot peppers were cultivated in the area we now call Peru and Ecuador. They have been traded for centuries for the flavor and heat, and have added an irreplaceable twist to cuisines all over the world.
But this is changing.
Like other crops, many unique pepper varieties are disappearing due to monoculture and industrial agricultural practices. Peppers that were essential to early communities and their way of life are currently becoming phased out by mass-market production that relies upon unsustainable production techniques.
UCHU is a family-owned company with a long tradition of producing hot peppers.
In 1967, our family began growing peppers for export to the USA.
Since 1993, we have operated out of Ecuador, and later expanded our pepper business to Perú. Through our experience throughout the Andean region, we have specialized in high quality production and processing of hot peppers, sourced from our network of smallholder suppliers.
In addition to eight popular varieties of peppers, we produce heirloom and specialty varieties with unique flavor and heat profiles.
We work with over 300 smallholder farming families throughout Ecuador and Peru to increase quality, yields, and adapt sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. Uchu also offers transparent, fair, and guaranteed prices. Through these efforts, we seek to improve the economic livelihoods of smallholders, who are able to generate additional income to complement subsistence farming.
We are deeply dedicated to our craft for a social mission, in part because we see an opportunity to supply peppers to a global market, but also in response to a situation we saw: peppers were disappearing, farmers weren’t being supported, a global economy was creating ripples of impact throughout an ancient food system. We knew how to change this.
Our mission is to bring prosperity to our community, and deliver a delightful flavor to our client’s products and ingredients.
History of UCHU
Family members first grow and export hot peppers to the USA.
Proaji is founded in Ecuador and exports hot pepper mash to the USA.
Proaji begins to process Habanero and Jalapeño peppers.
Proaji Peru, later renamed Pizca Foods, is founded and exports hot peppers.
Dehydration production line is developed in Ecuador.
Ecuador operations earn ISO 22000 certification.
Expansion of drying capacity, increased research into unique and heirloom pepper varieties.
Dehydration production line begins in Peru.
FSSC 22000 certification for Ecuador production.
Research facility, seed bank, and model farm established.
Expansion of processing plant capacity.