From the Field: In-Market Representative Report – May 2021

May 2021 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 improve your international exporting efforts. 


In 2020, sales of healthy food reached over $19 billion in Brazil, according to Euromonitor. More than ever before Brazilian consumers have been concerned with healthy foods, a trend that has increased during the course of the pandemic.  And functional foods have been a stand out category during the past year. The increase in demand for healthy food in restaurants has forced the food service industry to introduce more healthy options to their menus.


In March 2021 customs data shows that China imported 1.02 million tons of meat, the highest since January 2020. This large amount is likely a record and reflects the fact that the market is still suffering from a substantial meat shortage after a new Swine Fever outbreak over the winter that wiped out 20% of the breeding heard in Northern China.

Seafood Update

China’s national dietary advisory body recently suggested the country needs to eat more seafood in order to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes which are on the rise. Securing a cheap and abundant seafood supply has now become a top priority for China.


For the first time in history, the European Union (EU) has approved insects for human consumption. While an official statement is yet to come, the EU Commission announced yellow mealworms will be accredited for import, production and sale in Europe. American producers active in the alternative animal protein segment could take advantage of this by increasing their efforts within the EU.


COVID-19 Update

While the COVID-19 vaccine is readily available in Hong Kong, only about 11% of the population is vaccinated with at least one dose. In an effort to encourage more people to get vaccinated new regulations were recently announced.

Bars, nightclubs, and karaoke parlors will be reopened to anyone that has been vaccinated with at least one shot. The new regulations will allow these establishments to stay open until 2 a.m. and will allow two people per table and four people per karaoke room.


The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) reported on April 22nd that 27.7% of Korean families (6.4 million families) had pets at home.  That is half a million more families than the previous year. Dogs were the leading animal kept as a pet at 81.6%, followed by cats with 28.6%. This data was collected from a national survey conducted in October 2020.


The European Parliament has ratified the post-Brexit-UK trade deal to ensure that tariff and quota free trade continues.  The trade and co-operation agreement (TCA) has operated provisionally since the beginning of 2021.  Since the ratification, fishing agreements (due to expire in 2026) have seen rising tensions, most recently between the French and the British.  It has been claimed that the island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency situated in the Channel Islands, has restricted licenses for small boat to operate within 12 miles of its shores in a breach of the terms of the Brexit agreement. Authorization to fish is only given to those that can prove they have historical links to the fishing grounds as required under the Brexit deal.

Annick Girardin, the French maritime minister, has warned that Paris might shut down three undersea cables that provide Jersey with 95% of its electricity if the dispute is not resolved.