Packaged Food in Latin America: 10 Opportunities for a New Normal

December 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has radically transformed the economic and consumer landscape of Latin America. It has changed the way consumers live, work and shop. Increased time at home, price-sensitive consumers, a focus on mental wellbeing and sustainability, as well as reliance on e-commerce are all themes discussed in this report. This “new normal” will present packaged food companies with significant challenges but also opportunities for innovation and growth.

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Key findings

Every meal is an opportunity! Various aspects of consumer behaviour will be permanently altered, with consumers spending more time at home

Restrictions on foodservice outlets, increased working/learning from home and a lack of disposable income will continue to shift meal occasions into the home. This translates to more time dedicated to breakfasts, a heightened need for convenience in preparing lunch and dinner, and an entirely new generation of “chefs” to support and inspire.

Health is a priority for consumers, and it involves physical, mental and emotional wellbeing

Health has become a holistic concept. While functional foods that support immune health offer potential, so do those that bring enjoyment through permissible indulgence or that foster emotional wellbeing by helping to support the community.

Value for money becomes key for a region with high levels of poverty

Latin America will not experience a full economic recovery, and its biggest losers will be the region’s lower middle classes, who are in danger of falling into poverty. Reduced disposable income and increased unemployment mean that a segment of consumers will prefer value for money options, private label, and economy products. Discounters in the region will also be set for growth.

The e-commerce boom and digital reliance will impact marketing and sales

E-commerce in Latin America has expanded more in 2020 than was forecast for the next decade. Consumers increasingly value the ability to shop from home while social distancing, and the migration to digital will remain. Packaged food companies should embrace digital culture for e-commerce and marketing.

Local is a hot trend but growth opportunities will exist outside Latin America

Latin America is the region of the world most affected by the pandemic economically. Therefore, identifying new export markets will provide opportunities for growth. And although many consumers will prefer local products, others will look to replace international travel with imported food.


Key findings

Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Latin America

Latin America expected to suffer the highest decline in GDP in 2020
However, channel shifts towards retail have benefited packaged food
Increased time at home means new consumption patterns
A new normal: the pandemic will permanently alter consumer behaviour

Opportunities for a New Normal

#1: provide convenience
Case studies: providing convenience
#2: join the breakfast expansion
Case studies: joining the breakfast expansion
#3: a new generation of chefs is born
Case studies: a new generation of chefs is born
#4: support local communities
Case studies: supporting local communities
#5: products aimed at preventative health
Case studies: products aimed at preventative health
#6: affordable luxury and permissible indulgence
Case studies: providing affordable luxury and permissible indulgence
#7: value for money brands and products
Case studies: value for Money brands and products
#8: make the most of e-commerce
Case studies: making the most of e-commerce
#9: embrace digital culture
Case studies: embracing digital culture
#10: expand to other regions
Case studies: expanding to other regions


Summary 1 opportunities for the new normal in Latin America

Packaged food in latin America: 10 Opportunities for a New Normal

Appendix: definitions
Appendix: C19 Baseline Scenario Assumptions
Appendix: C19 Pessimistic 1 Scenario Assumptions
Appendix: Overview of Lifestyles Survey
Appendix: Overview of Health and Nutrition Survey


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