From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – April 2024

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 19 uniquely experienced In-Market Representatives around the globe. These local marketing experts in the food industry provide Food Export with on-the-ground assistance to implement our various programs and services.

In addition, through regular trade servicing, these local representatives report on local issues, trends, and opportunities for international buyers to connect with suppliers of U.S. agricultural and food products. Every month we share with you some of the top market insight from the trade servicing reports we receive in order to improve your international export efforts.

China: Evolution of Supermarkets in a Growing Middle Class

With the rise of the middle class, the supermarket landscape is witnessing a transformation characterized by fierce competition among newly emerged members’ clubs catering to this demographic. Players like Sam’s Club, Costco, Hema, M Club, and Metro are vying for the attention of this burgeoning consumer segment. While Sam’s Club and Costco target high-income groups with quality goods, emotional value, and social capital, others like Metro and M Club focus on tailoring products for specific consumer segments. Despite concerns about “consumption downgrade” amid the pandemic, market visits and interviews reveal that “upgrading consumption” remains a prevailing trend in China, reflecting the pursuit of a better quality of life.

Australia: Dairy Industry Faces Export Challenges

Celene Ignacio – Inside FMCG

Australia’s dairy industry grapples with declining milk production, leading to reduced export competitiveness and an increase in imports. Despite producing 8.129 billion liters of milk in 2022/2023, the country’s milk supply for manufacturing hit its lowest levels since the 1990s. This decline has opened export opportunities for U.S. suppliers of butter and skim milk powder. The doubling of Australia’s milk import volume between 2013 and 2023 underscores the challenges facing the domestic dairy sector and the need for strategic interventions to bolster production and competitiveness.

Colombia: Plant-Based Beverages Market Flourishes

Colombia’s market for plant-based beverages is experiencing robust growth, driven by increasing health consciousness and environmental concerns among consumers, particularly among younger populations. Soy-based beverages dominate the market, followed by almond, coconut, and oats variants. Companies like Alquería, Alpina, Pomar, and retailers’ private label brands are introducing new plant-based products and investing in marketing strategies to capitalize on this growing trend. Regulatory efforts to establish standards and ensure product quality reflect the maturation of the industry and its potential for significant expansion.

Middle East: Advancements in Food Trade Infrastructure

The Middle East is witnessing advancements in food trade infrastructure, marked by the launch of the Abu Dhabi Food Hub at KEZAD. The region boasts advanced infrastructure, regional market access, and reliable logistics, positioning the UAE as a key hub for global food trade. Etihad Cargo’s commitment to the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 underscores the strategic importance of the region in facilitating two-way food trade. The collaboration aims to enhance multi-modal capabilities, leverage technology, and support the UAE’s food security agenda, signaling a bold step towards diversification and growth in food imports and exports.

From the evolution of supermarket models in China to the challenges facing Australia’s dairy industry, and the flourishing market for plant-based beverages in Colombia, these insights offer a glimpse into the dynamic landscape of global markets. As the Middle East positions itself as a strategic hub for food trade, opportunities abound for businesses to navigate evolving consumer trends, regulatory landscapes, and trade dynamics to drive growth and innovation in their respective industries.