Which food products yield better international business opportunities for Caribbean exporters?
The global food market is a rapidly changing sector in international markets. In fact, most export transactions tend to be related to issues closely tied to prices, changes and variations in supply and demand in those countries that set prices. As a result, low-value-added products are the most greatly affected.
Given this reality—and the current international scenario—it is important that Caribbean food exporters spot the business opportunities arising from current world trade so they can exploit them and diversify their business transactions in international markets.
Today, husked rice is a Caribbean food product export in high demand. Sales volumes have been on the rise for the past two years, with the main buyers located in several countries, representing a positive trend of diversity. Venezuela has been the main buyer for the past five years, in spite of a decline in purchases since 2014.
Jamaica, on the other hand, is the most stable destination for husked rice imports. In the period 2016-2017, demand rose 2%. Panama is the third largest destination. Imports to this Central American country have demonstrated more disparate behavior, with a 23% decline in purchases in the same period.
Sales performance of frozen sea lobster is similar to rice exports. In the period 2016-2017, the product demonstrated interesting growth, with clear opportunities to consolidate sales in other markets emerging. For this product, the main destination market is the United States, purchasing 59.74% of Caribbean lobster exports. France is a market that is increasing buying Caribbean lobster, with a 2% increase from 2015 to 2016, and another 2% for the period 2016-2017. This increment reflects a genuine interest in the product. Furthermore, this increase highlights the important task for exporters to offer differential products in order to continue capturing the attention of French consumers.
Canada with approximately 4% share accumulated in the past five years, is the third largest buyer of Caribbean sea lobster exports. Sales to this country in the period 2016-2017 also showed positive signs of growth. Overall, it can be said that the entire industry is undergoing a process of improvement in its level of international competitiveness. In addition, Belgium with a 2.96% share of Caribbean sea lobster purchases is another solid destination with a positive trend in imports for the period 2016-2017.
Sauces and preparations are another food export product that has enjoyed sustained growth over the past three years, marking a clearly positive trend for Caribbean exporters. Again, the United States is the main destination market with a cumulative share of sales of 54% in the last five years; furthermore, sales have risen steadily in the past three years. With a 6.6% share of purchases of this Caribbean export product, sales to Canadian buyers, much like in the case of the United States, have grown continuously over the last three years. Another destination that may be of interest to new exporters in the sauces and preparations sector is Japan, where approximately 2% of exports are sent. This market has also increased its purchase volumes over the last three years.
A promising destination that is emerging for these products in France. Although this European country imports just 1% of total sales of Caribbean sauces and preparations worldwide, purchases have increased continuously every year over the period 2013-2017. This positive trend has not gone unnoticed by Caribbean exporters of sauces and preparations.
Finally, fresh or chilled fish sales are also demonstrating a strong performance in world markets, consolidating its positioning internationally. Although 49% is exported to the United States, there has been a strong jump in sales to China, which has purchased 7% of total fresh or chilled fish export sales in the last five years, especially since the purchase of these products has led to steady increase in their consumption in the last four years. Vietnam, the fourth largest destination, buying 5.3% of Caribbean fresh or chilled fish exports, has a similar purchasing profile.
France again emerges as an interesting destination for Caribbean exports to analyze. At the end of 2017, France—like its neighbor Germany—began importing fresh or chilled fish, albeit initial volumes are still low.
Ideally trade opportunities emerge out of increased trade flows between countries. We also believe that in the event that a company wants to begin to export, careful planning is needed to identify the best route to take. For this reason, it is important for Caribbean exporters to know that as cardholders of a Mastercard Business card, they have access to several foreign trade services at no charge. Among these services, RGX can determine which market best fits a company’s export product(s), or identify potential buyers in a specific destination, either through a verified list of buyers, or by arranging business meeting agendas in a destination market. All cardholders need to do is request their free service today.