Most of the products sold in local stores are labelled "Industria Argentina" meaning that they were made right here in this country. Argentina actively protects its own manufacturing enterprises and doesn't allow imported goods to dominate the market. The current trade dispute
with China is a case in point; Argentina imposed anti-dumping measures to stop cheap Chinese shoes and textiles from competing with domestic products, a move which prompted China to retaliate by refusing to buy soybean oil from Argentina. Although the repercussions for the soy producers are serious as the soybean oil sits in storage going rancid, we have to applaud Argentina's Ministry of Industry for banning low cost Chinese goods that will only end up threatening local jobs. The Wal-Mart effect is the last thing that Argentina's economy needs. Instead of seeking low prices and dumbed-down foreign merchandise at the big chain stores, we try to support the small shops in San Rafael that stock genuine "made in Argentina" products. Here are three examples of good domestic products that are produced from natural ingredients and offer health and beauty benefits for the consumer.
Union Bio mate is a refreshing natural drink with a difference. It's the standard mate tea laced with prebiotics that help digestion with a dietary fibre called inulin, a starchy fructose compound. Yerba mate is known to contain cholesterol-lowering properties, anti-oxidant polyphenols, vitamins, minerals and calcium. It has a stimulating effect on the brain, improving cognition and memory, but unlike coffee, mate does not cause jittery nerves or sleeplessness. It is used as an anti-diabetic herb, a weight-loss aid and a natural remedy for hypertension. The Union
brand is grown and processed in the province of Corrientes. A 500 gram bag costs 9.50 pesos.
You don't need to use heaping spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten the mate, as the company Dulri
provides a natural alternative sweetener made from the herb stevia. A native plant of Paraguay, stevia is related to lettuce, marigold and chicory. It has zero calories and no chemical taste, and can be added to food or drink as a replacement for the toxic white stuff. This product has not yet been approved by Health Canada, or the U.S. F.D.A., but has been used safely for over 1000 years by Guarani natives in South America. The manufacturers of Nutrasweet (aspartame) have effectively lobbied government agencies to prevent the approval of stevia in North America. I find that 10 drops of liquid stevia is about equivalent in sweetness to a teaspoon of white sugar. A 120 ml bottle costs 16.95 pesos.
This is absolutely the most effective skin cleanser I've ever used, a product that is not only economical but eco-friendly too. Uvas is made in San Rafael from the marc left over from the wine industry, the grape skins and seeds that are skimmed off after fermentation. A rich, creamy lotion that effortlessly removes even the toughest make-up, leche de limpieza is a non-irritating cleanser full of anti-oxidants for soothing and rejuvenating the skin. The Uvas line also includes a hand and body lotion, a night moisturizing cream and a toner. Note the modest, no-frills packaging, in contrast to big name cosmetics that are dressed up to seduce the consumer, and end up costing more for a fancy image. The cleanser sells for 11 pesos.