From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – February 2021

February 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 better your international exporting efforts. 


Brazilian consumers are becoming more health conscious than ever before. According to a survey recently performed by Kantar, a market research company, the following statistics were gathered about Brazilian consumers

  • 75% of consumers are looking for products with lower fat content
  • 70% of consumers are looking for products with less sugar
  • 69% of consumers are looking for products without additives, such as dyes or preservatives
  • 33% of consumers claim to be attentive to vitamin content
  • 33% of consumers claim to be attentive to sugar content
  • 32% of consumers claim to be attentive to fat content
  • 32% of consumers claim to be attentive to calories and nutritional value
  • 30% of consumers claim to be attentive to sodium content


On February 2, 2021, Health Canada gave an update on the status of the upcoming Canadian labelling regulation changes for the Nutrition Facts Table and list of ingredients.

These changes were originally published December 14, 2016 and had a five-year transition period which ends on December 14, 2021 for companies to be compliant. This transition period was created to allow sufficient time for companies to make the necessary label changes on their products and to use up existing stock of labels already in print.

Health Canada has now advised that the end of the transition period will still be December 14, 2021. However, they also recognize that they need to provide some flexibility due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for the food industry. From December 15, 2021 to December 14, 2022, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CHIA) will focus on education and compliance promotion.

From December 15, 2022 onwards, CHIA will verify compliance and apply enforcement discretion in cases where non-compliant companies have detailed plans showing how they intend to meet the new requirements at the earliest time possible.


U.S. startup Eat Just said in January that Dicos, one of China’s largest fast-food chains, has added plant-based egg products supplied by the San Francisco firm to menus at more than 500 outlets across China. Dicos will replace its conventional egg patty in items like breakfast burgers and bagels with the U.S. firm’s “Just Egg” – made from mung beans – at restaurants in cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

Though still a tiny portion compared to China’s giant animal-based supply chain, vegetarian alternatives to meat, dairy, and seafood are rapidly gaining in popularity. Euromonitor International predicts that China’s meat substitutes market would be worth $12.3 billion by 2025 up from $10.8 billion in 2020.

Seafood Update

The Chinese authorities have stated that tougher requirements are justified in response to the way the pandemic is spreading in certain parts of the world. Businesses can still use existing health certificates until details of a new certificate have been agreed, but Beijing is demanding that companies list their entire seafood production chain. This means that many companies will have to register before the new certificates can be issues. Those who are already listed will also have to re-register if they want to continue doing business with China.

In addition, production volumes and other export details of seafood sent to China during the past 12 months will have to be stated. The new requirements for health certificates demand that the entire production chain must be stated on the certificate and that includes names of fish farms or trawlers, freezer and reefer vessels, processing sites and storage sites. Packaging and methods of transport (trucks, ships, aircraft, etc) must be thoroughly disinfected to prevent the spread of COVID- 19. Packaging should also be able to withstand disinfectant treatments.



Burger King recently launched its first 100% vegan burger called the Veggie Whopper, in Colombia. This burger is made out of a 100% vegan formula that offers the same texture and flavor of the traditional meat burger. The aim of this new product is to bring more new consumers to the restaurants, so that meat easters and vegans can share meals together, while the flexitarian trend (a style of eating that encourages mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation) is also gaining traction in the country. The vegan burger is offered at 31 restaurants in top cities such as Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla.



Seafood Update

The European Union (EU) has effectively banned the import of live clams from Great Britain.  Since January 1, 2021, live mussels, oysters, clams and scallops with classification “B” may only be imported if they have been cleaned beforehand. In practice, however, this has only been done so far in cleaning systems on the continent. The British mussel industry does not have enough clarification tanks, and prior cleaning would slow down exports and reduce the survivability of the shellfish. The new regulation applies for an unlimited period of time. The British mussel industry is now looking to the future accordingly pessimistic.



Foodpanda Hong Kong (a food and grocery delivery service) has debuted a collaboration with waste management company Baguio iRecycle to arrange free of cost door-to-door recycling to customers. This initiative is in line with Foodpanda’s sustainability goals to tackle the plastic waste generated from increasing takeout trends that use single-use plastics for delivery of food, especially during the pandemic.

Prior to the partnership, Baguio iRecycle only recycled plastic and glass containers. Thanks to this new collaboration, the company will now include the recycling of plastic food containers. Moving forward, Foodpanda Hong Kong wants to start offering sustainable packaging to its partner restaurants to reduce plastic waste by exploring the use of reusable tableware for deliveries.



Sales of snacks, frozen food products, and coffee beans have risen sharply as more people eat and drink at home during the prolonged coronavirus pandemic. Snack sales are normally highest during the summer as people look for something to eat while drinking beer on those long summer evenings.



The UK government has formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The application is seen as strategic in that this would move the UK closer to the U.S. in trading terms in the event the U.S. itself decided to join the CPTPP, which currently includes Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.