In the Gulf countries, Italian festive sweets shine, while premium chocolates and functional snacks are growing in South America. In the East, the emphasis is on fresh and ready-made products of quality.
From their direct point of view, the buyers of large international companies, with which TUTTOFOOD holds a constant dialogue, noticed how lockdowns pushed the consumption of comfort food, but also confirmed the search for fresh and ready-made solutions of quality.
"In the Gulf countries there is strong demand for Italian festive sweets, from panettone to colomba," says Daniele Margheri, an independent F&B broker. "Here, too, consumers are starting to pay attention to the issues of naturalness, healthiness and sustainability. And here the demand for sustainability is also translating into the demand for larger formats, to save not only on costs but also on the packaging used."
Even in South America, an emerging market that has numerous niches with great development potential, recreational foods are experiencing a differentiation already seen in mature markets, as Riccardo Bonuccelli, importer from Zona Sul (Brazil), points out: "We see strong growth in chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa and bitter flavours, which are very attractive to an adult audience. In the Sweets sector, however, there is also a growing focus on healthier products with functional features, such as sugar-free or low-sugar products.
But there is also life beyond comfort food. "Here, too, people spent more time indoors because of the pandemic and therefore had more time to cook. As a result,sales of fresh produce have increased considerably,” says Diana Velasquez, buyer at Hong Kong-based chain City Super. "In our market, the focus on health foods and sustainability was already high before the pandemic. In the future we will continue to expand all the fresh products, both by increasing volumes and by adding new ones, and we also plan to add new products for ready meals, another product category that has been in high demand in the past months at home".