Food, Beverages and Tobacco in Latin America

November 2021

With turnover of USD594.0 billion, Latin America ranked fourth globally in terms of food, beverages and tobacco production in 2020. Following a contraction in 2020 due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 shock, the industry is set to return to growth in 2021. Over the forecast period, Latin America is set to witness stable growth, supported by expanding domestic and overseas demand. Brazil and Mexico remain region’s largest producers, accounting for more than half of industry turnover.

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Key Findings

The industry is forecast to witness stable future growth

As Latin America’s economies gradually recover from the COVID-19 crisis, the industry is poised for stable future development. Soaring food price inflation in 2021 and foodservice reopening will contribute to a spike in revenues over the short term. Long-term growth will be largely driven by robust domestic demand from the region’s expanding population and rising disposable incomes in the post-pandemic environment.

Meat production to remain pivotal for the industry’s future development

Given the region’s strong stance in livestock production, the meat sector will remain the key growth driver in the food industry, with Brazil, Mexico and Argentina being among the world’s top beef producers. Expanding global demand for animal protein, especially from China, will contribute to the sector’s future growth.

Changing lifestyles and preferences to shape future demand

While lower-income population continues to opt for more affordable products and brands, higher-income consumers remained largely resilient to COVID-19 and are set to drive premiumisation in the food and drinks industry. Over the long term, rising demand for convenience and increasing health-awareness will continue to support demand for ready-to-consume, healthier and functional foods, as well as plant-based protein alternatives.

Overall industry concentration remains relatively low

The food, beverages and tobacco industry in Latin America is dominated by small companies, yet large enterprises generate the most revenue. While the food industry remains highly fragmented, the beverage and tobacco industries are highly concentrated across many countries.

Latin America remains a net exporter of food and beverages

Despite temporary beef trade restrictions from China, Brazil is expected to remain one of the largest meat exporters globally. Latin America is anticipated to remain a net food and drinks exporter, yet the heavy reliance among Central American countries on the food supply from the US poses a threat to food security in that part of the region.


Key findings

Production Outlook

The industry is set to record moderate growth over the forecast period
Improving foreign and domestic demand to support industry’s recovery
Meat sector will remain the key growth driver in the food industry
Soft drink s forecast to support beverage industry ’s growth
Mexico is poised for the strongest future growth in absolute terms
Future growth to be driven by expanding meat production
F ood industry structure to remain dominated by meat and meat products
Soft drinks and beer dominate Latin American production of beverages

Competitive Landscape

While s mall firms dominate in numbers, large players lead in revenue

Foreign Trade

Brazil to remain one of the largest meat exporters globally
Central American countries remain heavily reliant on US’s food supply

Country Snapshots

Brazil : Production Context
Brazil : Foreign Trade Landscape
Mexico : Production Context
Mexico : Foreign Trade Landscape
Argentina : Production Context
Argentina : Foreign Trade Landscape
Chile : Production Context
Chile : Foreign Trade Landscape
Colombia : Production Context
Colombia : Foreign Trade Landscape
Peru : Production Context
Peru : Foreign Trade Landscape
Ecuador : Production Context
Ecuador : Foreign Trade Landscape
Puerto Rico : Production Context
Puerto Rico : Foreign Trade Landscape
Costa Rica : Production Context
Costa Rica : Foreign Trade Landscape
Dominican Republic : Production Context
Dominican Republic : Foreign Trade Landscape
Cuba : Production Context
Cuba : Foreign Trade Landscape
Uruguay : Production Context
Uruguay : Foreign Trade Landscape
Panama : Production Context
Panama : Foreign Trade Landscape


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