June 16, 2021

From the Field: In-Market Representative Report - June 2021

Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast have developed a network of uniquely experienced 19 overseas In-Market Representatives around the globe.  These local marketing experts with food industry experience provide on-the-ground help in assisting Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast to implement our various programs and services.   

In addition, through regular trade servicing, these local representatives are aware of issues, trends and opportunities for international buyers to connect with suppliers of U.S. agricultural and food products.  Every month we will share with you some of the top market information from the trade servicing reports we receive to help you improve your international exporting efforts. 

AUSTRALIA

COVID-19 Update

The Australian government recently announced that their borders will remain closed to international travelers until 2022.

Similar to other parts of the world both Australia and New Zealand are facing significant shipping delays. More than a year since the pandemic began, travel restrictions and lockdowns continue and the global supply chain is still struggling to catch up. These impacts have been further compounded with the ongoing port and container handling issues in both countries. Reports have indicated that the delays could continue until the end of 2021.

There is fear of price increases for consumers for a variety of products. Prolonged border closures and shipping delays seems to be reducing the appetite for introducing new products, especially chilled or frozen products as the cost of refrigerated containers is high and delays are costly.

COLOMBIA

In April 2021, processed food products exported from the U.S. to Colombia reached $35.83 million.

The top 5 U.S. imported processed food products to Colombia in April were:

  • Food Preparations with other processed foods, ingredients & beverage bases
  • Dog or Cat food
  • Cream & Powdered/Condensed Milk
  • Bottled Drinks (Incl. Soda, Juice Mixes, etc.)
  • Cheese

E-commerce purchases from local restaurants grew 35% on lockdown days compared to days without restrictions. According to the most recent report from the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CCCE), e-commerce experienced accelerated growth in 2020 with increases of up to 11% per week in the most critical moments of the quarantine.

EUROPE

COVID-19 Update

After almost 16 months of lockdowns, closed restaurants, postponed events and slowed down public life, it seems that Europe is returning to a new normal. With the vaccination campaigns finally showing good progress in most markets, countries are opening up again.

Germany just recently decided to open regular retail and outdoor gastronomy. Austrian restaurants are also back in business. France ended the last lockdown re-starting public life for summer.

Travels are now allowed between most European markets only requiring negative test results, full vaccination or immunization through a former infection. Hopes are up that in fall, most activities will be possible again.

It is expected that the ANUGA show this fall will take place and that it will include an in-person event. If nothing changes, this show would be one of the first EU trade events to take place since 2019 and is projected to be extremely busy as companies are eager to get started again.


HONG KONG

Hong Kong has suspended a variety of poultry imports from regions of Germany, Lithuania, Vietnam and South Africa due to bird flu fears, the H5N8 flu in Germany and Lithuania, and the H5N1 flu in Vietnam and South Africa.


JAPAN

Japan is experiencing significant shipping delays.  Containers arriving from the US are experiencing more delays than containers arriving from Oceania and the EU.

Restaurant industry sales increased 36.7% in April versus the same period in 2020 as people start to eat-out more frequently. However, sales were still 19.4% below the same period two years ago, pre-COVID.

COVID-19 Update

The Japanese government’s state of emergency declaration was extended in May due to surges in new COVID cases and currently covers 70% of the country’s population.  The current emergency declaration, originally scheduled to be lifted on May 31st, has now been extended to June 20th. The government is still planning to hold the Olympics from July 23rd. 


SOUTH KOREA

According to reports released by Statistics Korea and the food industry, the food delivery service market grew 71.9% in the first quarter of 2021 as Koreans grow more accustomed to dining at home instead of going out for meals amid social restrictions.

Retail sales in South Korea maintained a double-digit year-over-year growth on strengthening consumer sentiment on the back of signs of economic recovery. The combined sales of the nation’s major online and offline retailers jumped 13.7 percent in April from the same month a year ago, according to the data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.


UNITED KINGDOM

The EU has decided not to implement Amendment 171, which comprised harsh restrictions over the use of dairy-related references and marketing terms. For example, plant-based brands would have been prevented from using allergen information, such as ‘lactose-free alternative to dairy milk’ and marketing terms such as ‘creamy’.

Essentially the law would have disallowed plant-based manufacturers from clarifying what their product was, making it harder for consumers who wished to switch to a plant-based alternatives, to make informed choices.

Article 171 was opposed not only by the plant-based industry, but consumers too. Over 450,000 people had signed a petition calling for the legislation to be scrapped.

However, the EU’s decision on Article 171 remains a compromise. It will still prohibit plant-based suppliers from using direct terms such as ‘milk’, ‘butter’ or ‘yoghurt’ on their products, even if the description clearly indicates the product is non-dairy, for example oat milk.