Chilean Food Market: Main Opportunities

March 29, 2021
Chilean Food Market: Main Opportunities

Chilean Food Market: Main Opportunities
The Rise in Demand for Animal Based Proteins and its implications
By Global BMT Consulting and SoftPower Connections

Chile is a stable and prosperous country, which consistently ranks high on international indexes´ relating to economic freedom, transparency and competitiveness. Chile also performs well in terms of low inflation, advanced financial market development, low levels of corruption and openness to foreign trade. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Chile maintained its first-place ranking from the previous year in Latin America for competitiveness and is ranked 33rd in the world. The country has a population of more than 18 million people and a GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) that reached USD $15,924 in 2018, reinforcing its incredible growth since 1990, when the figure was just USD $2,494.

Located at the end of South America, Chile is the longest and narrowest country in the world, surrounded by the Atacama Desert, the Andes Mountain and the Pacific Ocean. It shares borders with three countries: Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. It is a country with an unparalleled 17 different climates, and extraordinary geographic and human conditions. Its unique characteristics allow experts to call it a “phytosanitary island” because of its safe, high-quality foods with traceability, international guarantees, natural flavour, a manufacturing industry that meets the strictest international standards, and cutting-edge professional services.

Despite being a relatively unknown country, Chile is a world leader in the production and export of fresh products such as grapes, cherries, blueberries, plums, and dried products such as apples and plums. Chile also has the largest aquaculture industry in the world, and is the number one worldwide exporter of salmon, trout, deep cod and mussels. In 2019, Chile’s total salmon exports were valued at USD $5.1 billion. On the other hand, the main meat export sectors in Chile were pork (USD $0.6 billion) and chicken (USD $0.3 billion).

Both the country´s growth and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new and more diverse habits, surprising the food industry with an increase in consumption of animal proteins. In 2019, meat consumption in Chile was mainly related to beef (USD $1.4 billion), chicken (USD $1.1 billion) and pork (USD $0.7 billion), with beef imports valued at USD $1.6 billion. However, during the current pandemic, beef consumption increased 11% in volume during the period of March- December 2020.

The implications of this are clear: agricultural products such as corn and soy (feed-use for livestock/fish) may have great opportunities in the market. Out of the available corn supply for animal feed, 44% is used for chicken and 28% for pork (corn represents 60% of pork diets). Approximately 50% of the corn used for chicken and pork diets is imported from Argentina, Paraguay and the United States.

Considering Iowa´s agricultural stature and the state’s manufacturing and biotechnology excellence, there are great opportunities for business development in the Chilean market, especially when considering the aquaculture and the animal feeding and genetics sectors.

Exporting to Chile: Next Steps
It is important for a business to be prepared and conduct research when entering a new market. We are ready and available to provide insights into economic conditions, leading market sectors, business-to-business virtual meetings, customs compliance, import/export regulations and how to conduct day-to-day business in Chile.

If you are interested in a free consultation on market research for Chile or other South American markets, please contact Andrea Smith at or 515.348.6240.

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