ENEXPRO FOOD: Commercial Opportunities in India Shape the Event

ENEXPRO FOOD: Commercial Opportunities in India Shape the Event

With explosive growth and an emerging middle-class society seeking new experiences and high-value-added products, India has sparked Chile's interest as a strategic ally to penetrate the South Asian market.

The world of opportunities presented by India for Chile set the tone for the inauguration of Enexpro Food ProChile 2023 – the first in-person edition since 2019. More than 20 importers from various destinations, including South Korea, the United States, Brazil, and, of course, India, traveled to Chile to meet with over 200 exporters participating in the business meetings on June 6th and 7th.

According to ProChile data, Chilean agri-food exports to India reached a total of US$133 million in 2022, a figure that has already reached US$21 million in the period from January to April 2023. Notable products include fresh apples, fresh kiwis, and nuts, while others such as dried plums are starting to gain ground, paving the way for the entry of other products.

During her presentation, Marcela Zuñiga, commercial director of ProChile in New Delhi, emphasized the importance of investing in India and committing to the market in order to gain the loyalty of the local population. She stated, “India is a challenge. It requires study, exploration, and our exporters building relationships with their importers to grow and establish themselves in the market. Today, local consumers are demanding high-value-added products that are healthy, considering the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high rate of diabetes affecting the population.” She added, “The invitation is to explore the market, get to know it, and rely on the two commercial offices that ProChile has in New Delhi and Mumbai.”

India is a vast market, but it should be clear that imported products do not reach all 1.4 billion inhabitants; they target a niche market. The consumers who purchase imported products are from the middle and upper-middle class, those who can afford the taxes imposed on imported goods.

India is a market that requires building trust and establishing long-term commitments. Zuñiga points out, “With India, you don’t develop commercial relationships; you develop a marriage. It’s not just about agreeing on a price, but mainly about the next step, how to expand to another region. The Indian market is waiting for us; it is a very attractive and important market that needs Chilean products,” emphasizes the commercial director of ProChile.

Marketing campaign is needed

Regarding India’s demand for cherries, Marcela Zuñiga emphasizes the need for marketing efforts. “It is important to understand that although cherry imports are growing in India, it is not China. Cherries are still a niche product in India and are in the process of growth and development. If campaigns are conducted to promote their consumption, we must show Indian consumers how to incorporate cherries into their diet, in sweet preparations or meals. We can stimulate this consumption and make it grow.”

Kanish Gupta, owner of Supreme Enterprises, with a distribution chain in strategic markets such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, has been importing fresh Chilean fruit for a year, responding to a strong demand for good and healthy products. “We are currently importing Chilean blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Once in India, we distribute them throughout the country. I think there is great potential. Educating Indian customers on how to use these fruits will help us. The current price is very attractive for the Indian market. There is great potential to move forward,” Gupta stated.

“The challenge we see is logistics; it takes 75 days to arrive in India. Secondly, we see in Chile or in the United States different applications for these fruits, such as smoothies or juices, but Indian manufacturers don’t know how to make these products, so perhaps someone can help us with that, and it would increase Chile’s market share in India,” explained Gupta.

Prospecting Trip to India

India will be the focus of the next public-private trip organized by SOFOFA and ProChile, with the participation of industry guilds.

Ivan Marambio, President at Chilean Exporters Association (Asoex) provided details: “During the week of June 19th, we have a prospecting trip to India with a busy agenda, including visits to wholesalers, retailers, promotion companies, logistics firms, ports, and more. Everything is focused on supporting the import of our fruit.”

It is important to highlight that India has become the world’s fastest-growing major economy. It is expected to be one of the top three economic powers in the next 10 to 15 years.

Claudia Soler, Manager of the Cherry Committee at Asoex, stated, “Chile and India share a special trade relationship, and many Chilean products can be imported into India with preferential customs duties. Specifically, Chilean cherries have great potential since the import tariff in India is 0%. In comparison, the import tax for cherries from other origins is 30%.”

“India is a growing market for imported cherries. Cherry imports are increasing year after year. Although the current volume is limited, there are enormous opportunities. India produces a small amount of cherries consumed in August and September, so it does not compete with the Chilean supply,” Soler added.

Evolution of Chilean cherry exports to India in tons, per season:

2019/20: 126 tons

2020/21: 255 tons

2021/22: 393 tons

2022/23: 460 tons

Growth in the last year: 16.95%

The main challenges raised by Asoex are:

  • There is a significant logistical challenge. There is no optimized maritime route, so air routes mean high freight costs and a high price for consumers.
  • The lack of an integrated cold chain, especially at the retail level and for the secondary distribution of products, hinders product quality and reach.

“India could become the new China as long as the market’s challenges are overcome,” concluded Soler.

More information about ENEXPRO FOOD at ProChile. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

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