From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – June 2022

June 2022 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.



Hong Kong began easing COVID-19 restrictions for indoor dining at the end of April, allowing restaurants to resume dinner service between 6pm and 10pm.  The President of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, Simon Wong, recently stated that some restaurants have already increased business between 60% – 70%. In early April residents were given consumption vouchers to help motivate more spending on dining out, which is considered part of the reason for the increase in business.



Japan is beginning to ease its COVID-19 entry restrictions for international tourists from around 100 low-risk countries and regions.  Visitors from these locations will not have to be tested upon arrival, but they will be asked to comply with basic COVID-19 prevention measures while in country, such as wearing masks. Japan plans to raise the cap on international arrivals from 10,000 people per day to 20,000 sometime in June.



The worldwide supply chain and container shortage issues are beginning to cause major issues and delays in Latin America. Most of these disruptions are linked to shipments coming from and destined for Asian markets. A faster-than-expected rebound in demand for goods in the U.S. is considered to blame for the imbalance in the availability of containers. The U.S. jumped from importing USD 170 billion in June 2020 to importing USD 239 billion in June 2021, a 40% increase.

Local exporters face severe delays in their shipments as well as substantial increases in freight costs. According to the Freights Baltic Index (FBX) data, the Global Container Freight Index rose from USD 2,000 to USD 6,000 between June 2020 and June 2021 for China-U.S. routes, this is a 300% increase in prices.



South Korea’s market for non-alcoholic beer is growing rapidly. BGF Retail, the operator of the convenience store CU, reported that non-alcoholic beer sales between April 1 and May 12 of 2022 have doubled from the same period in 2021. They report that the demand of alcoholic beverages is diversifying at the same time non-alcoholic beverage consumption is on the rise.

According to Euromonitor, the domestic non-alcoholic beer market has increased 247% since 2014. In 2021 the market was valued at $20 million up from $8.1 billion in 2014. It is believed that one of the main reasons for this increase is that health concerns soared during the pandemic and many people are choosing now to enjoy the taste of beer without getting drunk.



Three of the major supermarkets in the U.K., Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons and Co-op are testing a prototype of the retail industry’s first harmonized front-of-pack environmental label or eco-label. The initiative is seen as a significant advance in transparency regarding a products environmental impact on climate change, land use, water use and water quality.

This initial trial is planned for this summer with a further roll out following to encompass additional retailers, potentially in 2023. The label’s format is not yet finalized but it is expected that it will incorporate an eco-score system utilizing color-codes much like the health labelling that has become familiar to consumers.