Mexico is a giant consumer market with a population of more than 130 million people (10th in the world), which currently imports close to 45% of its food necessities. This places Mexico as the 7th largest food importer worldwide, despite a huge agricultural output and potential. The situation sparked the development of a large number of specialized food importers that cover a wide range of niches.
In the food retail segment, the market is dominated by major US players like Costco and Walmart, with a share of over 50%. The US is also one of Mexico’s main trade partners and Mexican imports of agricultural products from the States had an impressive growth rate of 180% from 2000 to 2017. However, current the political tensions between the two nations could bring major changes.
Top food imports
Mexico imports significant volumes of grains, especially corn, wheat and soy from the United States, meat (beef, pork), processed foods, carbonated beverages and various types of dairy. The fresh fruit and vegetables imports are also dominated by North American companies. Chile is one of the countries present as an increasingly important trade partner and some of the main goods purchased by Mexican importers from this region are fresh fruit – grapes, peaches, as well as wine.
Imports which show promise
The traditional Mexican diet, which was rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, suffered a lot of changes and a large percentage of the population now relies on easy-to-prepare ready and frozen meals. The market has been constantly growing and there’s still room for new products in this segment, especially foods that focus on the health factor.
The sharp increase in diabetes and heart disease in the country fueled various healthy eating trends and the demand for organic and health foods has never been higher. Organic fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, nuts and lower fat meats are all selling well.
Dairy consumption is growing by almost 10% per year but consumers are also looking for less “classic” varieties, like lactose free products or diet friendly options.
Other products that show promise for exporters looking to enter the Mexican food market are beef and lamb, carbonated beverages, food ingredients, chocolate preparations and seafood.
Mexican consumers exhibit a strong brand loyalty and powerful brands from the USA, Canada and Europe continue to dominate their niches. Creating an attractive brand can be key for conquering the Mexican market. Also, having a better understanding of the Mexican culture is very important both on the consumer and business partner level. Importers prefer personal approaches so visiting and investing in a strong personal relationship with them will bring major advantages in the long run.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must also be mentioned when talking about the country’s food market. Since 1994, NAFTA managed to develop one of the largest free trade regions on the globe and countries who are part of it will have a clear trade advantage.
Five food importers: Elizondo Agroalimentos, Comercializadora De Pescados Y Mariscos El Charal, Comercializadora e Importadora de Carnes Palencia, Macor Foods, Hierbas Organicas De México. For an extended list of up to 116 food importers from Mexico you can access one of the BestFoodImporters databases.