Chile – a new major player in the health and wellness industry - Export Britain

Export Britain

Chile – a new major player in the health and wellness industry

Chile has seen a worrying increase in the number of people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol as a result of being obese or overweight. The country has one of the highest obesity rates in Latin America; the OECD ranks Chile in sixth place regarding child obesity amongst member countries of the organisation. 

Recent years have seen a huge surge in health and wellbeing products all over the world; in fact, the industry has been doing so well that Euromonitor, a leading market intelligence firm, estimates that the industry will reach USD$ 1trillion by 2017.

The industry’s success is, of course, not only due to people becoming increasingly conscious about their health and seeking products to support their new lifestyle but also, as Nielsen (2015) reports, strong sales growth that is heavily benefitting from developing regions that previously did not have the economic resources to invest in such products. Chile is one of the strongest economies in Latin America with Chileans’ individual disposable income steadily increasing - it now has the highest disposable income per capita in Latin America at USD$25,908 a year (OECD).

The past five years of positive economic growth in Chile has led to rising consumer health awareness and increasing interest among consumers regarding health issues such as obesity, diabetes, arterial hypertension and other concerns related to poor eating habits. This has resulted in health and wellness products being able to record a steady growth over the last five years in Chile – with energy boosting products being the absolute winner with an 805% increase in sales growth between 2009-2014.

Chile has seen a worrying increase in the number of people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol as a result of being obese or overweight. The country has one of the highest obesity rates in Latin America; the OECD ranks Chile in sixth place regarding child obesity amongst member countries of the organisation. These alarming factors resulted in growing health concerns amongst Chileans who felt the need to improve their lifestyle habits urgently. Thus products that are a healthier option and can replace products such as sugary drinks and snacks, white rice and white flours are most welcome in the Chilean market.

As the Chilean government has realised the long term complications and healthcare costs of a population facing more chronic diseases, they have started several campaigns to encourage a healthier lifestyle and higher awareness of healthy options and replacements. Chileans are increasingly willing to pay premium prices for good quality in their quest for fresh, natural and minimally processed foods. The “less is more” attributes are particularly appealing in this region, including low/no cholesterol, low/no fat and low salt/sodium. The region also exceeds the global average for the importance of calcium- and vitamin-fortified foods (Nielsen, 2015).

Lastly, Chile has passed labeling regulations that require manufacturers to mark packages with warning labels if their food is high in sugar, salt, calories or fat – similar to the UK “traffic light” labelling system where high content is displayed in red, medium in yellow and low in green. These initiatives may increase consumer awareness about what is in their food and encourage more informed decision-making.

Outlook:

The trend of searching for ways to stay healthy and be in good shape is likely to continue and increase. This is expected to result in not only more consumers practicing sports, running, and going to the gym but also in more people buying products for weight management, sports nutrition, vitamins and dietary supplements. Healthy “Superfoods”, be they natural or engineered, are the next frontier of the food industry, with the UK being one of the leading countries in developing their retail value. As this market establishes itself further and consolidates its position in the eyes of the consumer, there is a great opportunity to be a first mover here in Chile within this industry, and the UK is one of the best bets to help that happen. The UK retail brand is held in high esteem – thus products affecting health and wellbeing from the UK are expected to do very well in Chile.

Further information:

If your company deals with such products and you would like more information on how your product could do in Chile – please contact Ninh Hao, Marketing & Communications Manager at Britcham Chile Services: ninh.hao@britcham.cl

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