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Commodity Innovation Series – Snapshot of opportunities in Mexico’s grain and bakery sector

Mexico was the second-largest consumer of bread (US$9.8 billion) in Latin America in 2017.

Market trends

  • Consumer trends toward healthy eating and natural products are increasing the demand for specialty breads with functional ingredients that are high in protein, rich in dietary fibre, and that contain antioxidants such as magnesium, iron, and folate.
  • “Super grains”, such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat, offer companies that produce baked goods and flour a variety of options for taking advantage of current health trends and increasing price-points.

Grain trade

Historic and forecast retail sales

Top processed food categories containing grains in Mexico
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Category Percentage
Bread 67%
Pastries 23%
Cakes 8%
Dessert mixes 2%

The frozen baked goods category experienced the most growth with sales increasing by 35% from 2012 to 2016.

Grains used as an ingredient

From 2012 to 2016, 11,516 products containing grains were launched in Mexico.

Top companies launching the most value-added products from 2012 to 2016 in Mexico
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Company Launches
Bimbo 604
PepsiCo 507
Supermercados Internacionales H-E-B 374
Wal-Mart 320
Kellogg 266

Mexican consumers want healthier alternatives and products with reduced fat and sugar content

Top 5 growing claims

  1. Social media
  2. Low/no/reduced allergen
  3. Wholegrain
  4. No additives/preservatives
  5. Kosher

Top 5 declining claims

  1. Beauty benefits
  2. Interesting packaging
  3. Carbon neutral
  4. Brain and nervous system (functional pet)
  5. Low/no/reduced carbs

Consumers are increasingly seeking products in convenient or miniature formats

Top package types

  1. Skinpack
  2. Tub
  3. Composite
  4. Flexible stand-up pouch
  5. Bottle

Top package materials

  1. Plastic PP (polypropylene)
  2. Plastic HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
  3. Multi-layer board
  4. Multi-laminate
  5. Metallised film

Top innovative markets for grains and bakery products in Latin America

65% of product launches were new products, varieties, ranges and extensions.

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Innovation Criteria Brazil Mexico Colombia Chile Argentina Peru Puerto Rico Venezuela Costa Rica Ecuador
Relaunch Good Good Fair Fair Good Low Fair Fair Fair Low
New product Good Very good Very good Very good Good Excellent Very good Very good Very good Excellent
Product line diversity Excellent Excellent Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good Good
Health & wellness claims Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)

Factors of consideration

Even though Mexico gives preferential access to Canadian exporters under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico has strict import requirements for many products and Canadian exporters are responsible for determining these import conditions by working with their Mexican importers.

Recommendations for entry

It is crucial to develop and maintain close relationships with clients and partners. Mexicans prefer direct communication such as telephone calls or face-to-face meetings, especially in the initial stages of establishing a rapport. Email, however, is widely used and social media apps, such as WhatsApp, are very popular for quick interactions.

How we can help

View our Agri-Food Trade Services for information and support to help you achieve your international business goals.

International Trade Commissioners are also an excellent point of contact for export advice and can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions, and local business contacts.

Our market intelligence services include:

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