Brazil food importers and food import trends 2020

4 min read
Food Importers, Trends
4 min read

Brazil accounts for more than a third of the Latin American market and continues to be an attractive consumer market, with a well-developed, highly competitive and dynamic food sector for producers, distributors and importers.

In 2019, Brazil spent US$26 billion on health and wellness. Following this global trend, Brazilians are increasingly shifting to a healthier, more natural, and environmental-friendly lifestyle, due to greater access to information and fitness influencers.

Best prospects in this category in Brazil are products enriched with supplements, nutrients, and vitamins, products high in protein, probiotics, diet and light food, as well as organic items and high-value ingredients.

Once with gym closure, sales in protein powder took the biggest hit in the sports nutrition category, but creatine and glutamine showed great performance during 2020 for their boosting immunisation properties.

Plant-based alternatives of high interest
Moreover, a trend that seems to grow from year to year is niche products like gluten-free, lactose-free, and plant-based alternatives for meat and dairy that seem to become the norm for middle classes.

The Brazilian market size for plant-based items can no longer be overlooked as its creating competition for traditional foods and a plethora of opportunities for exporters. Nuts like walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are highly consumed as vegetable proteins are of high demand in Brazil, as well as plant-based dairy substitutes like milk alternatives, plant-based yoghurt or ice-cream.

Despite price-sensitive consumers, players in the market are excited as they see great growth in this segment, although COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the growth rate in 2020.

Cheese: Cheese imports in Brazil come mainly from neighbouring countries, Argentina (18.57 thousand tons) and Uruguay (6.6 thousand tons) in 2019. Smaller manufacturers can top competitors as there is a growing demand for diversity and high-quality cheeses.

Coffee capsules: Foreign producers and distributors have a lot of opportunities as Brazil shows great desire to follow the Western world into the niche market of coffee capsules. Brazilians have a high coffee consumption rate that together with better economic situations lead to a gradual shift from regular to premium coffee. Young consumers are the engine of the market in their search for new experiences, innovative formats, attractive branding, competitive prices and origin information.

This sector is avid for investments and new market players, as there`s a positive outlook for both at-home and out-of-home consumption, with a portfolio of over 13 000 coffee shops, specialized and non-specialized, most relevant in big cities.

Wheat: Although Brazil is a major producer of cereals, as a result of quality issues, pricing and climate instability, there is a demand for higher quality wheat, to be blended with locally produced ones.

Brazilians seem to enjoy imported food, as supermarkets have sectors dedicated to these items. Around 80% of the distribution happens through retail stores, offering product diversity and country-wide coverage, especially in the most urbanized and populated regions like the south-east areas.

E-commerce, a growing trend worldwide, shows a positive performance and great potential but remains a challenge as consumers prefer to inspect groceries before purchasing and are concerned about delivery issues.

High-end consumers are usually interested in food from popular brands, that bring innovation and represent new trends, while Brazilian food importers look for new foodstuffs to stay ahead of the competition and enlarge their portfolios, by ordering a wide variety in small quantities to test the market.

Mercosul countries (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) remain Brazil`s main exporter due to the beneficial tariffs, however, the connection with European suppliers is well established, with negotiation as common business etiquette.

Imported food reaches shelves at a premium price category, which is a challenge for some consumers, but added value and innovation are perceived as a competitive advantage. Economic development and trade with the European Union intensified the Brazilian interest in premium and gourmet products.

Food packaging has seen two trends: a movement towards smaller, travel-size, packaging among products like chocolates, or water and also a trend of family size packages.

Manufacturers and distribution agents should take into consideration that customers are increasingly interested in transparency, and clear labels regarding ingredients.

Convenience is another main driver on the Brazilian food market. Busier lifestyles and growing middle class formed an important demand for convenient products and connectivity in terms of distribution.

3 Food Importers from Brazil:

  1. Atlantica Foods
    Rua Jose Storani N 75, Conj. 501, Vila Virgínia, SP
    +55 11 4586-1226
  2. Calimp Importação E Exportação Ltda.
    Address: Al. Oceania, 85, Tamboré
    Phone: +55 11 4152-6161
  3. Diza Importadora
    Address: Av. Caf N. 236, Rio Claro
    Phone: +55 19 3522-1720

To get access to a list of more active food importers from Brazil, you can access one of the BestFoodImporters databases.

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