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

Taiwan: Ten Trends Shaping Taiwanese Consumer Behavior

1. Food: As inflation subsides in 2024, the Taiwanese food market is expected to grow, driven by new buyers. Although the demand for FMCG food decreased in 2023 due to the pandemic’s end and inflation, it remains above pre-pandemic levels.

2. Beverage: Health-conscious consumers will drive beverage sales, particularly functional milk drinks. The rebound in demand will be fueled by the appeal of healthy products and increased consumption of packaged beverages from convenience stores.

3. Health Care: Despite a decline in 2023, health food demand remains robust, with over 50% of Taiwanese consumers purchasing health food products. Innovative formats like jelly are particularly popular, showing a 20% increase in annual sales.

4. Beauty: Taiwan’s beauty market continues to expand, with significant growth in makeup, sunscreen, and fragrance categories. Increased social gatherings have led to double-digit sales growth in these products.

5. Home Care: While the overall household goods market stagnated post-pandemic, categories like laundry capsules, dishwashing detergents, and home fragrances have seen notable growth due to their convenience and continued demand.

6. Baby Products: The Year of the Dragon in 2024 is expected to boost the baby product market, with an estimated 9% increase in newborns. Premiumization trends are evident, with significant increases in the cost of baby diapers and the purchase volume of baby milk powder.

7. Pet Food: With one in five households owning a pet, the pet food market is thriving. Pet owners in Taiwan are increasingly willing to invest in their pets’ health, reflecting a shift in how pets are perceived.

8. Offline Channels: Physical store footfall is expected to recover, especially in beauty products, despite flat growth in FMCG food demand. Personal care stores will benefit from increased beauty product demand.

9. E-commerce: Online shopping continues to shape consumer habits across all age groups, with significant growth in FMCG products. Popular channels include official websites, C2C platforms, social online shopping, and O2O home delivery.

10. Gifting: Health and happiness are key themes in gifting, with a significant increase in the sales of health-related gifts during Lunar New Year. Consumers are increasingly focused on health, environmental friendliness, quality of life, and convenience.

Mexico: Rejection of USDA’s “Product of USA” Labeling Rule

Mexico has rejected the USDA’s recent “Product of USA” labeling rule, which restricts the label to products entirely originating in the United States. The Secretariat of Economy (SE) argues that this measure is discriminatory and could negatively impact bilateral trade, contravening the principles of economic integration established in the USMCA. Mexico recalls a similar previous measure declared inadmissible by the WTO, resulting in damages to Mexican products. The SE urges U.S. authorities to reconsider the rule and engage in constructive dialogue to avoid negative trade repercussions, emphasizing fair trade and non-discrimination.

Brazil: Import Measures in Response to Crop Losses

Brazil plans to import rice and beans to offset crop losses caused by severe flooding in Rio Grande do Sul. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced the import initiative to maintain affordable food prices amidst the crisis. The Brazilian National Supply Company (Conab) has been authorized to import up to 1 million tons of rice in 2024. Additionally, the flooding has affected soybean and corn harvests, crucial for animal feed, leading to projections of increased grain imports.

South Korea: Trends in Fruit Imports and Health Drinks

South Korea has increased fruit imports due to high domestic prices, implementing allocated tariffs on various fruits to alleviate consumer burdens. From January to March, fruit imports increased by 25.1% compared to the previous year, leading to noticeable price decreases for major imported fruits.

In parallel, health drink sales in South Korean convenience stores are surging, driven by a trend combining health consciousness with enjoyment, particularly post-COVID-19. Protein drinks are leading this boom, with significant sales increases reported by convenience stores like CU. This trend reflects a societal shift towards prioritizing health, with convenience stores launching their own health drink lines to capitalize on the growing demand.

Conclusion: These insights highlight diverse market dynamics and consumer trends across Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea. Businesses can leverage these trends by adapting to evolving consumer preferences, regulatory landscapes, and market opportunities to drive growth and sustainability in these regions.