Food safety high on the agenda for Brazilian consumers
The Brazilian fruit and vegetable market continues to go from strength to strength. Many countries fall short of the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended daily intake of 400 grams; not Brazil however, according to one consultant, who cites an average consumption of 750 gram.
"There is also strong population growth. We have 200 million people but the population is getting older - as in all parts of the world - so there is a search for healthier food, and of course that's linked to the consumption of fruits and vegetables," said marketing and retail specialist Leonardo Miyao.
But where do Brazilians get their produce? Miyao, who took part in the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fruittrade Latin America event in Chile this month, said consumption was highly concentrated in supermarkets.
"83% of the fruits and vegetables sold in Brazil are in stores. Every day some 25 million people go to the supermarket to do their shopping," Miyao said.
Improvements in the supply chain have led many growers to direct a large part of their volumes to domestic supermarket chains instead of the central markets, which sometimes do not have the necessary infrastructure.
"You know in a more certain way where you will sell and for how much," he said.
"Another point is the concentration of open air markets in São Paulo, Río de Janeiro and a bit in Minas Gerais,..in the end, there is no infrastructure in the market, there is no cooling, no food safety, prices are high...so consumers took the decision to keep going to supermarkets.
"But, the open air market is cultural so I think it'll never cease to exist, but if you look at a market that used to have 10 blocks, today it has three. It's still there but it's much smaller."
Miyao added that specialized fruit and vegetable stores were gaining space in the market too, with dedicated operations focused on quality, a great deal of variety and daily sales.
The consultant concluded that Brazilian consumers were increasingly paying more attention to food safety.
"Every year the Brazilian food regulator publishes a directory that shows products and distributors that have problems with agrichemicals," Miyao said.
"Having a traceability system in the chain is mandatory."