Opportunities for Development in Guatemala: A study on the nostalgic trade

˙ Opportunities for My Community

Migrants often purchase products from their country of origin such as food, clothing or handicrafts, a practice which is known as the “nostalgic trade.” 

To better understand this practice, the project surveyed 380 Guatemalans in the United States and visited more than 40 stores that offer Guatemalan nostalgic products.

The results show that there is great potential to link the diaspora with economic development opportunities in Guatemala, particularly by engaging small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In fact, 83% of Guatemalan survey participants living in the United States purchase home-country products, and 67% of the food products they consume come from their country. Overall, this represents a US$1.6 billion market of Guatemalan imports each year.

The Guatemalan nostalgic trade faces certain challenges such as competing with Central American and Mexican products, a limited supply of Guatemalan products, and informality. However, there is an increasing demand for these products that is not completely satisfied, indicating room for growth. The nostalgic trade represents one of many ways that the diaspora is actively engaged with their country and represents an opportunity to contribute to Guatemala’s economic development. 

On October 11, the results of this research were presented at Encuentro de Negocios con el Migrante in Guatemala City. The event was attended by government delegates, representatives of civil society and the private sector, and Guatemalan entrepreneurs living in both Guatemala and the United States


This report is only available in Spanish. Access the report here.