The dramatic economic transformations occurring in the South American subcontinent are reshaping the country outlook and are bringing them into the global economy. Leader of the economic change is Chile, countries like Argentina and Mexico started to follow with policies of deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation. Brazil and Peru were to follow reluctantly and now all Latin American countries follow an outward oriented policy.
The South American food industry may be segmented into two main groups: very large companies (including multinationals and regional companies) which dominate the market, and many small-manufacturing companies. This contrast with the European food industrial situation, in which the middle sized companies are much more significant to the whole market.
The food ingredients offered in the South American market are practically the same as they are in Europe, although innovation may face several difficulties in some countries, where an old-fashioned food law may delay or hinder innovations. Further, import tariffs may vary depending on the country’s internal supply. In Brazil, for example, the entry duty for milk powder varies between 15% and 32% depending on whether local availability is low or high.
Almost all of the food industry sectors are, in one way or another, milk ingredient consumers. It constitutes a major category of additive inasmuch as the texture, appearances and nutritional aspects of foods are often important factors for the end consumer in deciding on the Freshness, the harmlessness and the quality of products.