Having recently travelled to Chile as part of Santander’s export trade mission, here at The Food Marketing Expert, we are fully immersed in the world of export. Too many brands shy away from exports and don’t fully explore this lucrative market, but we feel that now is the time to do so.
As part of a delegation of British food and drink brands, assembled and led by Santander, we travelled the 7,277 miles to Santiago to explore the market and meet a selection of buyers and distributors in the Chilean capital. Over the 4 day trip the 11 brands to part in 76 meetings which saw us traveling across the city to factory’s, warehouses and networking events including the Embassy and the Ambassador’s reception gathering which was a great showcase opportunity for all the producers.
Santander are actively working on many more trade mission across different sectors of industry using their connections and gaining exiting opportunities for those on the missions. On this occasion, they partnered up with their colleagues in Chile, DIT and the chamber in Chile to connect with buyers.
Chile was chosen as a growing market. The country has 18 million with 35% living in the capital Chile. The market has a growing appetite for British artisan products and values the core values of British brands.
Chile is the fifth-largest economy in Latin America but has the highest level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the region. Its economy has more than doubled in size since 2004, thanks to strengths such as:
- A strong and diversified economy with a positive outlook for 2017 – it is expected to grow by 2%-2.5%
- An open economy with no net national debt
- A deep commitment to free trade
- A well-developed financial market and economic infrastructure
- A founding member of the Pacific Alliance – the bloc represents 36% of Latin America GDP
So, what did we learn about the Chilean market?
They are similar to the UK in terms of having a number of key players in the supermarket and convenience store sectors.
They are not as heavily into coffee as we are! They do have Starbucks but it is more evident in the financial district than other parts of the city. A large number of the coffee shops don’t have seats, they offer long bar style counters that you can have coffee and chat at. They are also big fans of the cake, biscuits and desserts and have a sweet tooth.
They have a number of high street bakeries and cookie shops offering a wide variety of cookies which always seemed very busy. They also have a great array of street food sellers selling everything from spiralizers (yes you did read that correctly) to toys and a wide array of fruit and pre-prepared fruit pots.
Whilst on our visit we visited Jumbo one of the key supermarket chains in the county who had an interesting new marketing campaign (please see the picture left) it is designed to help combat the growing obesity problem the country is having. It would appear obesity is a global problem and that it is a very big issue in the Chilean children, we were advised this was largely due to the sweet tooth they have. It is very common apparently to see a child with a cake and a surgery drink in hand which would in-part explain the growth in reduced sugar products and health food products. The government have also recently introduced a new label scheme similar to our traffic light system, but their system is black labels declaring High in Salt, High in sugar, High in fat, High in Calories.
Chile is packed with a variety of fantastic places to eat out, ranging from Wendy’s to amazing local and very trendy eateries. We enjoyed a number of great meals, immersing ourselves in traditional Chilean dishes and drinks such as Steak and red wine. It was great to try the Camnerea grape which is now died out in Europe, to Chile’s benefit, which offered a really lovely fruit red wine and the delicious Pisco sours which are the big drink choice, their equivalent of our Gin and Tonic market.
Towards the end of our trip we visited a wonderful restaurant called Mulato in the trendy part of Santiago. It was a great venue with a lively feel with amazing food. We started with empanadas, a wonderful prawn dish called Ceviche then the owner came out with these heavy black pestle and mortar with a smokey spicy dip that we were advised to have with the homemade bread. We then tucked in a wonderful array of beef and fish dishes.
On our last morning, post buyer meetings, we attended a Chilean food festival, it was great to see British brands already having a strong presence and it was a lovely way to conclude the amazing trip – seeing artisan producers, street food and big brands all part of the vibrant food festival.
So, in summary get out and explore the export market for your products and drive sales on a global platform. The below links are fabulous resources to use:
Santander Trade Portal free a trial period for https://en.santandertrade.com/