From the Field – In-Market Representative Report – September 2020

September 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. 


COVID-19 Update

Many Caribbean islands are in the process of reopening however border reopenings are not uniform. Some islands are not accepting arrivals from the U.S., others have not opened at all, and some have reopened only to scale back.

Most reopenings are accompanied by strict new public health protocols and procedures and many require a negative COVID test. Some of these plans have changed as the numbers of U.S. cases rise and test results are delayed or tough to obtain.



Most Guatemalans have had a decrease in their salaries or incomes and because of that their eating habits have changed. Fresh products such as vegetables and poultry are no longer a priority. Instead, they are consuming canned products or products with a long shelf life to avoid waste and save money.



Low-sodium is set to become the latest trend along with terms like low-sugar and low-fat. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests a daily intake of no more than 5 grams of salt, but Chinese consumers average a daily salt intake of 12-14 grams.

Chinese culture relies heavily on sauces and condiments for taste which typically have a lot of sodium. The rapid growth of the snack market in China means consumers are eating more sodium through their snacks. The five fastest growing snack categories include brined, extruded, roasted or preserved goods and all of those contain salt. Mintel shows that 11% of the world’s new salty snacks are products from China.



E-commerce continues to boom amid pandemic. European webshops are reporting around 260 million orders which equals about 27 Billion USD.  A study from Bain & Company predicts that 45% of current sales will remain. For U.S. suppliers, this means that online shops will become more important in Europe in the upcoming decade.



COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 is massively affecting the hospitality industry in Germany. About 60% of the operators of hotels and restaurants fear for their economic existence. This was the result of a current survey in August 2020 by the DEHOGA German Hotel and Restaurant Association among 7,200 restaurateurs and hoteliers. From January to July, the companies complain about an average turnover loss of 60.1%.

The losses in March were 63.0%, in April 86.8%, in May 73.7%, in June 52.2% and in July 43.2%. In relation to the year as a whole, the respondents expect an average decline in sales of at least 51.0%.



COVID-19 Update

Dubai’s hospitality sector is experiencing a strong rebound after the restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, with staycations underpinning the solid recovery coupled with the return of international tourists.

Hotels in Dubai opened their doors to residents in May and opened to the world on July 7th. In the first week of reopening to international tourists, online bookings doubled from the previous week.



COVID-19 Update

South Korean food companies scored massive sales growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the demands increased for products that can be consumed at homes, in both domestic and overseas markets.

In Quarter 2 this year, CJ CheilJedang recorded an operating profit of 384.9 billion won, up 119.5% from the same time last year. The top three Korean department store chains, Lotte, Shinsegae and Huyndai, reported that their cash-register sales continued to recover in June and July to their 2019 level. 

The popularity of on-line sales continues to increase in South Korea. For example, Shinsegae reported that its on-line sales accounted for 11.3% of overall sales this year, up from 7.7% in 2018.



Seafood Update

Seafood consumption seems to have stabilized in Spain although it is lower than it was last year. Consumption outside the home has increased compared to previous months, especially in the tourist regions. They are already predicting negative signs for Fall, as holiday season ends and restrictions on restaurants are increasing again and a number of them will close again in September. Processing companies are preparing frozen, pre-cooked, cheaper and more affordable products.



As a tactic to help the foodservice industry, the UK government launched a campaign called “Eat Out to Help Out” which gives diners 50% discounts up to £10 on sit down meals from Monday – Wednesday. The discount cannot be applied to alcohol.

Around 64 million discounted meals were claimed in the first four weeks. Many eateries have found this to be so successful that they are continuing to run their own version through September.