November 22, 2021

From the Field: In-Market Representative Report - November 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 & NEW ZEALAND

COVID-19 Update

Following the end of lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne in October, Australian borders will reopen in November, 20 months after they were first closed. For returning Australian citizens that are fully vaccinated there will be no requirement for hotel quarantine (unvaccinated travelers will still have to quarantine). The Australian government has not set a date for when citizens from other countries can enter, it is likely to be early 2022.

With the large number of case counts in many parts of Australia there is concern that supermarkets will struggle to have an adequate numbers of staff to keep shelves stocked.  Read more about it in this online article from Food and Beverage Industry News.

The New Zealand government is planning to end lockdowns completely starting in November and move to a ‘traffic light system’ to try and control the spread of C0VID-19. The traffic light categories include:

  • Green
    • Normal life
  • Yellow
    • Close to normal life for vaccinated
    • Mask wearing
    • Some venue capacity limits
  • Red
    • Working from home recommended
    • Hospitality, retail and gatherings allowed with some limitations

The new system is dependent on having 90% of citizens fully vaccinated. Some parts of New Zealand are not set to achieve this rate until the end of January 2022 so it will be a very slow process.  Similar to Australia there is currently no time frame for when citizens and visa holders from other countries will be allowed to enter New Zealand.


BRAZIL

Private labels in Brazil registered growth of over 70% in retail between January and September 2021.

Compared to the same period in 2020, private label sales increased:

  • 72.5% for industrialized bread
  • 68% for rice
  • 64% for coffee
  • 39% for soups and broths
  • 24% for frozen vegetables
  • 14% for sweet cookies
  • 13% for noodles

By 2021, supermarkets will have launched approximately 1,500 new private label items, compared to almost 1,000 last year.


CANADA

Canada’s food prices rose nearly 4% in September 2021, with more increases expected in the next few months. Meat products rose 9.5%, seafood 6.2%, chicken 10.3%, butter 6.3%, cheese 4.6% and eggs at 5.4%. Throughout October prices continued to climb. With Canada’s growing season now over, it is anticipated produce will see heavy price increases due to the shortage of trucks and the container issues continuing at the ports.

COVID-19 Update

The Canadian U.S. land border crossing is now open.

Canadians entering the U.S. must be fully vaccinated which includes those with mixed vaccines and those with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been a problem for those Canadians travelling to other destinations.

U.S travelers must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada and must have a PCR test up to 72 hours before departure whether arriving by land or air. Upon arrival by air, passengers are held on international planes to help ease customs clearance and are let off in groups of 50. As well, random passengers are selected for a rapid antigen test before leaving the airport.

 

COLOMBIA

In September 2021, processed food products exported from the U.S. to Colombia reached $38 Million. Top 5 U.S. imported processed food products in August were:

  1. Other Processed Foods, Ingredients & Bvg Bases, 20.10%
  2. Cream & Powdered/Condensed Milk, 8.78%
  3. Dog Or Cat Food, 8.42%
  4. Prepared/Preserved Poultry, 7.81%
  5. Cheese, 5.26

Colombia is taking measures to face the worldwide supply chain and shipping issues. As the worldwide logistics crisis is still heavily impacting the foreign commerce with costs rising as high as 250% (going from an average freight cost of $550 before the pandemic to $2,500 currently) and a shortage of containers, the Colombian government has expanded the list of free tariff products, to increase the flux of imports, especially for inputs and raw materials.

Now the list covers 3,822 0% tariff products (2,879 raw materials and 943 other goods). This measure aims to ease the associated costs for importing products and benefit the economic reactivation.

 

INDONESIA

Plant-based fast food is becoming more popular across Indonesia, prompted by greater consumer awareness of health, sustainability, and animal welfare, with many food chains across the country jumping on the trend. The list includes: Starbucks, Burger King, Abuba Steaks and Pepperlunch.

 

MEXICO

Total retail sales are expected to increase 40% in the next five years. A higher percentage than the 15 points forecasted for the region, along with a growth of 58% in total e-commerce sales, according to a study by Euromonitor for Google Mexico, that included Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. They highlighted that Mexico’s e-commerce will grow 226% in the next five years, and 24% of all retail sales will happen through e-commerce by 2025.

The Mexican Secretary of Agriculture, Victor Villalobos, recently stated that Mexico will not limit the imports of GMO corn from the United States, during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Iowa.

At the end of 2020, Mexico published a decree that stated they intended to eliminate corn imports, especially banning GMO corn for human consumption.  However, the decree did not specify which products were included, which generated much confusion within the industry.

Mexico is the second most important U.S corn importer after China. Secretary Villalobos stressed the fact that Mexico will not allow the planting of GMO corn, but will continue importing corn from the USA. He said that Mexico depends on the U.S corn for industrial use.

Through a joint statement, both secretaries declared that there is “an exceptional agricultural trade relationship between the two countries, therefore a commitment to support the rural prosperity and a healthy, accessible and secure food supply for consumers in both countries.”

 

SPAIN

The Spanish government recently announced that a new law regulating marketing and advertisement of sweets, confectionaries, and beverages containing high amounts of sugar will come into place in 2022.

The legislation is meant to counter growing obesity in the country that especially effects children and teenagers from lower-income backgrounds. The goal is to reduce amounts of sugar consumed and support a healthier lifestyle and diet.

The law follows similar approaches seen in Norway or Germany that recently declared that advertisement for sweets targeting children below the age of 14 is not allowed to include any call to action and request to purchase.

It is expected that other EU countries will follow in upcoming years which of course will also affect US suppliers that are strong in the sweets, snacks and confectionary market. Generally, awareness of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, fat and salt is increasing and it is recommended that producers prepare for new requirements. Adding lower fat or sugar-free alternatives to their assortment could be beneficial in the future.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

A recent overhaul of the UK’s alcohol duty system was announced by The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his October budget speech in the House of Commons.

New alcohol duty rates will be applicable starting in February 2023. The current main duty rates are to be slashed from 15 to 6, with the aim of both simplifying and adopting a commonsense principle, that the stronger the drink, the higher the rate should be.