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Travel the World with SUSTA's Consultants


First of all, season’s greetings to all. We here at SUSTA wish you and yours the very best, and a healthy and prosperous new year.

As this newsletter goes out, we are convening our annual winter meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. This is an important gathering each year as our in-country consultants offer updates on market conditions and how U.S. agricultural and food products generally – and Southern U.S. products specifically, are faring.

Indeed, a cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy is choosing the right products for the market and keeping up on the key trends and opportunities. I’m happy to pass along some of those insights, but you can also learn more directly by participating in SUSTA’s virtual consultations with our in-country consultants. Each market has its own unique circumstances, so virtual consultations with SUSTA’s in-country team are a great way to prepare your market entry strategy.

First, Europe. Those products with the best fit in the European market include traditional American-style items like barbeque sauces and seasonings, condiments and dressings, appetizers, snacks, and beverages - both non-alcohol and alcoholic beverages like craft beer and spirits. Sweets and bakery products are also a good fit. Another fast growing niche is “free-from” products.  Certain additives, flavorings, or GM ingredients are not a good fit in Europe.

Of course, Europe is home to some of the world’s top trade exhibitions, such as Fruit Logistica for produce, IPM Essen for horticulture, and Seafood Expo Global. These shows bring buyers not just from Europe, but from around the world, resulting in sales in Asia, the Middle East, India, Latin America and 15 different countries in Europe.

Next, Canada, where more than 80 percent of the country’s consumers live within 100 miles of the U.S. border. Opportunities can be found within the key trends in the Canadian market place, such as healthful products, convenience, and high quality products. Fresh produce – especially uniquely Southern U.S. products - beer, wine and spirits, and premium grocery products can all find demand in Canada.

Then there is the fast growing Latin America and Caribbean market. Over the past few years, the growth in export sales has been tremendous. Much of the success is due to the unique combination of proximity, existing free trade agreements with Central American countries, growing economies, and the region’s strong tourism industry. There is opportunity across the board, from value-added consumer-oriented packaged goods, to food service, to ingredients for the food processing sector.

As I shared in last month’s newsletter, SUSTA has a new in region representative in Africa. For a number of years, SUSTA has conducted a successful South Africa initiative, but under the 50% CostShare program there has been noticeable success in countries across the continent. From 2019 through last year, 50% CostShare company sales have averaged more than $5 million annually, and we believe there is more growth to be achieved.

While China and Hong Kong are still recovering from extended COVID restrictions, there are opportunities to be had. Fruit products, sauces, pet food, and spirits have growth potential. Moreover, post-pandemic, natural and health related products are in demand, and U.S. products fit the profile of food safety and quality that are increasingly important.

India is the most populous country in the world with 1.4 billion people, including a large and growing young working population with increasing spending power. The middle class is the fastest growing segment of the consumer base in India in both absolute and percentage terms. Snacks, vegetable based protein products, confectionery, and drink mixes, like cocktail mixes, energy drinks and convenience products are all growing categories.

Finally, Mexico, a major market with many logistical advantages, similar to Central America and the Caribbean, in proximity and an existing free trade agreement. Additionally, given the volume of shipments across the border, there are many opportunities for consolidation of shipments. Growth categories include premium gourmet and frozen products, as well as snacks, and nuts.

In addition to the countries listed above, SUSTA has activities scheduled in 2024 for Australia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, the Middle East, Japan and beyond. SUSTA is here to support your export marketing plans in 2024.