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Cooking Ingredients and Meals: Health Imperative for Future Growth in Latin America

1/28/2021
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Analysis and key data findings on all Latin America countries are now available for the 2022 edition of Cooking Ingredients and Meals. These reports provide an in-depth understanding of national market dynamics and offer essential local insight unavailable elsewhere, for all 16 research countries in Latin America. 

According to Euromonitor’s latest research, demand for cooking ingredients remains buoyant, despite economic challenges and the disruption posed by Coronavirus across the region. But health is clearly an area that needs to be addressed to sustain future growth.

Prolonged disruption of Coronavirus keeps demand high

According to the latest data, particularly high value gains in 2021 can be seen in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Chile. Home seclusion has continued to have a positive impact on demand for cooking ingredients across these countries, with only a partial return to foodservice evident.

While the surge in home cooking seen in 2020 has started to ease, recovery from the pandemic remains slow and unpredictable across the region. In Mexico, for example, schools and universities remained closed for much of the year, and working from home remains the norm, to the direct benefit of demand for cooking ingredients and meals.
imagezoava.pngSource: Euromonitor International. Data at fixed 2021 US$ exchange rates.

Rising costs inflate value gains

Value growth across the region is also testament to the escalating cost of raw materials. This was particularly evident in Argentina and Uruguay, but also more generally a sign of steep price increases for corn, soy and sunflower oil across countries. Manufacturing costs were a further spur to rising prices, continuing into 2021 – packaging for products such as pasta sauces, for example, prompted a shortage of cartons and glass in Brazil, driving end prices up further.

However, high domestic prices and low consumer confidence in many countries such as Argentina and Chile were partially offset by ongoing government support packages, serving to either maintain or stimulate demand, albeit typically concentrated in economy alternatives.

Health positioning and product labelling key to future growth

Economic volatility and slower than expected recovery from Coronavirus in Latin America potentially stand to benefit demand for cooking ingredients and meals further. In Argentina, high levels of unemployment and ongoing economic instability exacerbated by the evolving disruption of the pandemic are expected to drive discounting and private label growth, stimulating overall demand through low pricing strategies, a pattern echoed to varying degrees elsewhere in the region.

Furthermore, many experiences in 2020 are continuing into 2021 and can be expected to direct future demand. In Colombia, for example, there is a clear trend towards more regular home cooking, even with the partial reopening of cafes and restaurants, as many people have enjoyed cooking at home, despite being prompted to do this initially through adversity of enforced lockdown.

Health is likely to prove key to growth prospects, not least due to government initiatives in a number of countries ready to force the issue. In October 2021, Argentina approved The Law to Promote Healthy Food law, requiring warning labels on all food packaging to indicate excessive sugar, fat or salt content. Similar frontal nutrition labelling was seen in Columbia, with the introduction of Resolution 819 in 2021, and in Mexico and Brazil in October 2020. Obesity and diabetes are growing concerns across the region and these legislative measures can be expected to raise awareness and prompt a surge in healthier alternatives, where before many products have relied predominantly on low pricing and convenience.

For further detail, please see the dedicated reports covering each country, which can be found here.

 

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