August 2020 monthly update from our global network of In-Market Representatives about what's going on in markets around the world.
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 better your international exporting efforts.
Plant Based Products Update
China is the world’s biggest market for meat consumption, and they have seen a growing demand for plant-based protein. Plant based protein has been popular in China due to the country’s Buddhist community. Beyond Meat’s ‘Beyond Burger’ has arrived in Alibaba’s grocery stores. Beyond Meat’s competitor (Impossible Foods) may have a hard time entering the market due to the modified soy ingredients.
China has been testing imported food for COVID-19. There was a major outbreak among people working at and visiting a major food market in Beijing last month. This testing has caused the ports to limit their shipments and now the ports are working at capacity. China has temporarily banned shrimp imports from Ecuador after finding COVID on packaging for the shrimp.
Plant Based Products Update
France started publishing a law which prohibits names such as “sausage” and “meatball” for vegetarian and vegan alternatives. The new regulation is meant to protect the consumers of falsely purchasing wrong products due to misleading names. The EU fancies the concept of prohibiting any meat related names for plant-based foods. This means that U.S. suppliers will have to be careful when creating brands for the French and EU markets.
The government reported that 90% of schools will have shortened summer holidays to make up for lost school days during the COVID closure. The number of visitors reached a record low with only 2600 visitors in June. That is down from 99.9% from last year.
New Zealand is seeing a spike in cases over the last week after reporting no new cases for over 100 days. As of now it is not clear where the first people to test positive recently contracted the virus. One of the theories is that it could have come from an imported frozen food shipment. This has not been proven yet but the Director General of Health for New Zealand Ashley Bloomfield says that it is highly unlikely that was the source.
Self-driving food delivery robots will be tested out in an apartment complex and shopping mall next to it starting in August. Residents can order food and drinks by scanning a QR code on their app and then Dilly will deliver up to 12 cups or 6 sandwiches at once. There is no minimum order or delivery charge. Store owners expect growth through this service.
Online purchases have increased and there is a clear tendency to consume frozen seafood. There has been an increase in the last few weeks (perhaps because of the summer and vacation season) to purchase fresh. Importers are now more optimistic for the last four months of the year and rely on sales for the Christmas season.
A recent survey done by UUPON reached out 4,000 members island-wide, aged 20-60, with regard to their post-pandemic consumer behaviors:
According to the survey, despite of well-controlled prevention measures in Taiwan, surveyed consumers have shifted more from physical to virtual channel, off-line to online in the life prospects of shopping. As a result, consumption at brick & mortar stores declined by 43.7%.
Many Taiwanese consumers now prefer risk-preventive shopping at home. While over 70% shopped via multi-brand online portals, only 47% still shopped at brick & mortar stores in-person. Among the online shopping categories, led by 44.5% for sanitary products exceeding online traditional category of beauty/facial care, which had only 21.9%.
According to another consumer survey recently conducted, among all product categories being shopped during the pandemic outbreak (March-May), only household items (soap, sanitizer, etc.) had 12.5 – 18.9% increase, medical items/ health foods had 12.7 – 17.7% increase, packaged foods had 10.1 – 10.8% increase, and 1.2% increase for consumer electronics.
Promotions such as BOGO (buy one, get one) are banned from prominent features such as end caps and at checkout, if they relate to foods that are High in Fat, Sugar or Salt (HFSS). This could cost the industry 700 million pounds annually.
Products impacted will include cakes, biscuits (cookies), chocolate/confectionery, cereal, crisps (chips) and popcorn. TV ads for HFSS products will also be banned before 9pm and there is prospect that this ban may be extended to 24/7 to online ads. This could also extend to foodservice ads.
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