Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

Discover the Americas

Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas while seeking the riches of the East Indies in Asia. Brand owners will discover many lucrative markets in the Americas, bursting with more potential than the new frontiers of India and Asia. High priority Latin American markets are “next door” for USA exporters. The countries of South America share many cultural and eating practices with Europe. The USA market opportunity is “Bigger than BRIC” for all international brands.

One Billion Consumers
The Americas stretch 8,500 miles from Canada in the North to Chile at the tip of South America. Current population of 960 million extends across more than 30 countries and island nations. USA, Brazil, and Mexico, represent three of the world’s top eleven most populous countries. The USA and Brazil each added more than 30 million people since 2000, with Mexico surging by 20 million. These new consumers fuel a positive outlook, as citizens continue to eat better and live longer. Latin America enjoys a period of economic prosperity, with GDP growth projected at 3.5 % for 2013. USA growth is a respectable 2.5 %. These dynamics create an attractive platform for brands looking for new sales in expanding countries.

World of Walmart
Walmart is the leading retailer in Mexico,Central America, South America, and of course the USA. This includes dominant market shares in Mexico and Chile and an important presence in Brazil and Canada. Experts predict that  Walmart will ultimately expand its multi format, footprint throughout the Americas . Normally, the preferred  approach is to sell Walmart locally, as part of a plan to service all market customers. Some brands elect to sell to Walmart centrally through the USA. This strategy is possible, but generates mixed results due to lack of local marketing and in store merchandising coverage. Cencosud is a $20 Billion retailer with an impressive presence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru plus a recent acquisition of Carrefour’s 92 stores in Colombia.

Regional Differences
Supermarkets in Central America and the Caribbean feature a wide assortment of “Made in the USA” products. Tourism is a primary industry, with minimal local production of food and consumer brands. As a result, these countries are highly dependent on brands supplied from the USA .
Brazil, Mexico and larger South American countries offer a mix of strong local products with global brands manufactured in -country. International brands maintain niche status but sales are growing rapidly due to increased consumer affluence. Brazil and Argentina are proud of their historical links with Portugal, Italy, and Spain. These relationships translate to demand for European food products sourced from these leading food regions.

Brazil & Mexico:Opportunities and Barriers
Brazil’s 200 million people plan to welcome millions of visitors through the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Many Brazilians benefit from new spending power due to infrastructure investments and the Bolsa Familia program which provides cash transfers to the poor. Brazil can be challenging to penetrate due to high logistics costs and complex tax structures resulting in super premium pricing for imported brands. Mexico’s 115 million people serve as close neighbors to the USA. Many industrial companies shifted manufacturing to Northern Mexico to supply the USA across the border. Building your brand in Mexico also has implications for marketing to the 35 million people of Mexican roots residing in the USA. Success in Mexico remains tough due to unique eating habits and food choices.

USA- Bigger Than BRIC
The USA and Canada are cultural melting pots, open to food from every corner of the world. These affluent consumer oriented societies can afford premium, international brands if they understand the unique product benefits. Most European companies sell to the USA, but achieve only niche results, far below potential. A common issue is that these brands treat the USA as another “export” market, with no local presence or proportional commitment to marketing investment. Barilla is a great example who succeeded by building a factory in the USA, hired a USA team,  and transformed their business from niche to the dominant category leader.

Strategic Focus
A winning strategy in the Americas requires a three tier approach.
Invest to win in the Strategic markets of the USA, Brazil, and Mexico. Pick one of three strategic countries and focus your attention and investment.
Priority markets include the three C’s : Canada, Chile, & Colombia. Good growing countries with innovative retailers and attractive populations.
Central America and Caribbean countries represent excellent “low hanging fruit” opportunities. Strong distributors and  low complexity make these countries natural choices for profitable, incremental business.

1,500 Distributors- Americas
Export Solutions Distributor Database covers every country in the Americas ! We track 1,500 distributors from Chile to Canada even including small countries like Belize, Bermuda, and Bahamas. Our database has been recognized for broad coverage of Brazil ( 91 Distributors) plus more than 120 Mexican distributors. In the USA and Canada,we cover more than 470 importers and distributors of every type of product specialty plus leading food brokers as well.

Export Solutions Can Help !
Export Solutions maintains 19 years of experience in Latin America.
Greg Seminara speaks Spanish and has lived and worked  in South America. Importantly, we have long term business and personal relationships with leading distributors everywhere. This year, we are helping several important European brands on activities to take their USA business to the next level. Looking to grow your business in the Americas ? Contact us at (001)-404-255-8387 or