From the Field: In-Market Representative Reports – September 2023

September 2023 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.

This month we examine captivating developments in Vietnam, South Korea, Germany, and the Middle East, shedding light on how these changes are shaping economies, lifestyles, and global initiatives.

Germany: Food Supplement Regulations in Flux

The debate surrounding maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals in food supplements continues in the European Union. While the supplement market flourishes, the absence of uniform regulations remains a challenge. Some EU countries are pursuing their own programs to control food supplements, potentially leading to varied regulations. Larger markets like Germany, France, and the Benelux region are striving for clear restrictions and guidelines. For American manufacturers, it’s crucial to closely monitor these developments, as differences in regulations among EU countries and maximum amount restrictions may necessitate recipe adjustments.

Middle East: Saudi Arabia’s Global Water Sustainability Initiative

Saudi Arabia is taking the lead in addressing global water supply challenges. It has been announced that an establishment of a Global Water Organization is headquartered in Riyadh. This initiative aims to foster collaboration between governments and organizations, integrating efforts for global water sustainability. It will promote innovation, research, high-priority projects, and accessibility to water resources worldwide. As global water demand is projected to double by 2050, this initiative showcases Saudi Arabia’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its role in advancing global water solutions. The organization seeks to collaborate with nations facing water-related challenges, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation to ensure global water sustainability for all.

South Korea: The Rise of ‘Healthy Pleasure’

A new trend called ‘healthy pleasure’ is sweeping across the younger generation. This concept combines the joy of eating with healthcare, and ‘low-spec’ food and beverages are gaining popularity. To cater to this trend, companies are introducing wellness-themed products that offer both flavor and health benefits. Ready-to-eat meals are emerging as a balanced solution for those seeking weight management. As health-conscious living becomes a lifestyle choice, we can anticipate more products aligning with this trend, fostering a healthier food culture for individuals in their 20s and 30s.

Vietnam: Adapting to the New Retail Reality 

The Vietnamese retail landscape has been transformed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are now shopping less frequently but making larger purchases, challenging retailers to rethink the shopping experience. Traditional corner stores and markets are giving way to modern trade and online platforms, with minimarkets, specialty stores, and pharmacies leading the charge. Urban and rural shoppers have unique priorities, prompting retailers to provide diverse product offerings and specialized experiences. Loyalty to one store is fading as shoppers explore different avenues, intensifying competition and the need for collaboration in the quest for customer loyalty.

These snapshots from Vietnam, South Korea, Germany, and the Middle East reveal the dynamic and diverse nature of global developments.