While the US market remains to be lucrative despite its economic difficulties, investors are best advised to target US millennials as their main market due to their strong purchasing power and high numbers that consist of more than a fourth of the country’s total population.
Born between 1982 and 2000, these millennials presently number over 80 million and represent a future driver of consumer spending which total nearly US$200 billion in annual buying power.
According to Nicholas Johnson, president and CEO of Asia Etc., organic and all-natural foods are very popular products in the US due to the consumers’ demand for healthy living and strict market standards.
“Asian food is growing a lot in the US. Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese restaurants are multiplying all over the place. Delis are a big hit, especially if they carry healthy foodstuffs and products,” Johnson stated in a forum on “Market Opportunities in the US for Fast Moving Goods,” held at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
However, he cautioned that suppliers and investors be aware of the strict US standards on the nutritional data on the packaging since the country is very protective of consumer rights and welfare.
“We also guard against GMO, or genetically modified organisms. The source of ingredients and certain certifications are also important factors. Regarding expiration dates, 14 months is a safe factor since it takes an average of two months for authorities to examine and certify a product as having passed US standards,” Johnson revealed.
GMOs are a global concern due to the unknown health defects of the artificially-enhanced products as produced by chemicals which lead to its rapid growth.
On the positive side, coconuts are a popular product, especially the bestseller virgin coconut oil which has been proven to carry several medicinal and health benefits from the coconut, probably the Philippines’ most abundant fruit.
Coconut water has even been utilized as a fitting substitute to dextrose liquids by many hospitals due to its natural curative abilities against many diseases and ailments.
Seafood is better off frozen and categorized in clear labels to guard against possible contamination since the product is quite perishable, he advised.
“All labels should be in English to be safe and avoid being misunderstood. There should be different labels and prices for ethnic markets. Best also to have product name that can be pronounced easily by the average consumer,” Johnson continued.
Another precaution is to apply for a trademark beforehand to avoid complications and to enhance the safeguarding of your product before possible piracy of your design and physical appearance occurs.
The speaker suggests that interested parties first consult the US counterpart of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry before anything else to minimize complications and clarify legalities for a smoother entry to the US market.
By RICHARD RAMOS