The strong presence of rice in traditional Latin American cuisine contributes to overall positive category growth. However, the economic crises in various countries has made affordability a top priority for many consumers, further benefiting leading local brands. As both urbanisation and the health and wellness trend expand across the region, the demand for innovative products that meet modern convenience and nutritional preferences continues to grow.
Latin Americans’ consumer preference for affordability has resulted in them often opting for lower-priced options within rice, pasta, and noodles. The economic crises certain countries have experienced, have largely fuelled this attraction to lower-priced products. This makes cost-effective local and private label brands well positioned for continued growth.
Local players are most prevalent and remain the leaders in rice, pasta, and noodles. In part, due to consumer preference for affordability, many higher-priced imported brands have historically found it difficult to compete. However, some international players are gaining relevance; imported brands now offering convenience have seen significant growth, despite having higher unit prices.
As consumers lead busier lives, they are increasingly drawn to products and channels that offer convenience. For example, instant noodle cups, which are often both convenient and cost-effective meals, are gaining popularity, particularly among young people on the go. Brazil is also seeing convenience stores and mixed retailers steal share from more traditional supermarkets/hypermarkets.
These initiatives have resulted in greater public interest surrounding healthy versus unhealthy ingredients and portion sizes. Since most rice and pasta are free of any negative labels, this may benefit the category.
As consumers become more aware of the link between their health and the food they consume, there is an increased interest in choosing products deemed as healthy. In response to this health trend, manufacturers are expected to continue to innovate and launch new products with added health and wellness features.
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