Latin America is hungry for novel food and beverage products: seize the opportunity


In maxiaNET’s view, the Latin American region is a case to be studied. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) recently announced that this year the region as a whole will face great challenges to grow and counteract the costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, countries with more stable economies show an interesting appetite for innovative products, even if these are not low-cost.

A compelling example is the growth of the alcoholic beverage industry: we see a significant increase in specialization and the creation of handcrafted, high-quality products. Add to this the fact that in the consumer goods sector, particularly in the food industry, there have been significant changes, including an increase in the number of buyers willing to pay an extra for premium products. Therefore, new opportunities for the sale of higher-priced products become evident.

It is worth mentioning that the trend for artisanal products is linked to a generalized interest in more natural products and is not limited to the beverage sector. In fact, according to Nielsen, among the products that Latino consumers want to see more of in their cupboards are those that are 100% natural, with 68%; followed by low-fat, 60%; low-sugar, 59%; low-sodium, 49%; organic, 49%; and lactose-free, 48%.

Some consumers with greater purchasing power are looking for local products with specific characteristics: small-scale production, organic and seasonal foods, free-range, and free of hormones and antibiotics. This presents a challenge that requires rethinking business opportunities and traditional supply chains for companies in the sector.

The desire for more exclusive products is related to economic indicators. The middle class is growing significantly throughout most of the region. These are individuals and families eager to consume innovative, good-quality products that offer different and more satisfying experiences.

With this in mind, an expansion into Latin America represents tangible benefits. This growth expectation is based on the opportunities presented by a high-potential market, both in social and economic terms. With a population of more than 160 million people, Latin America is living the last decades of its demographic bonus. In 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.3%, a better forecast than the 4.4% made by the World Bank at the beginning of the year. 

In maxiaNET’s experience, the crucial factors for a successful expansion into the region are the following:

+ Market knowledge. We have noticed that by approaching each country as a challenge in itself, it is possible to study the consumption habits of the target market and, at the same time, benefit from insights from the rest of the region. In addition, it is important to know the different regulations that exist in terms of import, packaging, and even transportation of goods.

+ The ability to build satisfying experiences. maxiaNET is fortunate to work with several craft beer producers and has noticed an increase in the consumption of craft beer in the region; even in times of the harshest confinement. This speaks to us of a growing interest in trying high-quality products that are not common in the market.

Interest in adding value. Today, as markets around the world begin to reopen, it is clear that more educated consumers are consuming healthier products whose manufacturers take care of their employees and, above all, can commit to the environment and their communities of origin. Those global brands that meet these requirements have a better chance of succeeding.

maxiaNET has over 30 years of experience developing global brands in Latin America; during all this time, it has built a network of partners capable of supporting ambitious expansion plans. Our team of specialists will be very excited to design with you a strategy to develop new markets for your company in Latin America.

I América Latina y el Caribe desacelerará su crecimiento. CEPAL, January 2022, consulted on March 2022.

II Middle Class Reset in Latin America. Euromonitor International, December 2021, consulted on March 2022.

III Tendencias globales de alimentos y bebidas 2021. Mintel Group, 2020, consulted on March 2022.

IV La revolución de los alimentos en América Latina. Nielsen 2017, consulted on March 2022.

V Después del COVID, éstas serán las tendencias del mercado en Latinoamérica. BCG, January 2022, consulted on March 2022.

VI Juventud. ECLAC, January 2022, consulted on March 2022.VII América Latina y el Caribe: panorama general. Banco Mundial, October 2021, consulted on March 2022.

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