The 5th edition of the annual Mexican Healthy Products Summit is returning to Puerto Vallarta. This popular and successful trade event will be hosted at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center on January 26-28, 2018.

The Summit offers a cost-effective way to learn how to do business in Mexico. It is a unique networking and education initiative that connects the country’s leading distributors with international suppliers of natural and organic certified products seeking opportunities in the second largest market in Latin America - Mexico has 130 million people, 70 percent living in urban areas. 

Over two and a half days, buyers and suppliers hold one-on-one pre-scheduled business meetings in a beautiful venue by the sea. An educational agenda with expert speakers provide insights into consumer trends and the latest updates related to topics such as certification, labeling, and legislation.

“Mexico is the 7th producer of organic products in the world and the 4th in the Americas. It is the world’s third regarding organic farmers (over 200,000) and a top supplier of organic agave, honey, mango, avocado, cacao and other fruits and vegetables,” said Homero Blas Bustamante, President of the Mexican Society of Organic Production SOMEXPRO and IFOAM - Organics International Latin America.

Mexico has a long tradition growing organically certified foods. Back in the late 1920s, when the Demeter organization emerged in Germany, Mexico was the first country outside Europe where biodynamic farming was put into practice. Irlanda, a farm in Chiapas, started exporting biodynamic Demeter coffee in the 1930s.

Over 80 percent of the Mexican organic production of fruits and vegetables is exported, mainly to the United States. “The US is our major trading partner,” said Mr. Blas. “We are importing more organic foods than the volume that we export. In 2014, Mexico imported $166 m and $154 m in 2015.” Mexico was the leading exporter of organic commodities to the US market in the first six months of 2017, shipping $133.8 m worth of products, a 72% increase over last year. The primary organic export product in 2017 is avocado ($55.8 m) followed by bananas ($20 m) and Arabica coffee ($19.4 m).

Despite its rich culinary tradition, Mexicans have changed their eating habits. Soft drinks and cheap and convenient packaged food and fast food loaded with sugar, salt and fat have been gradually replacing whole meals. As a result, the country has developed a very high rate of obesity and diabetes. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 32.4 percent of the population above the age of 15 years is obese in Mexico. Since 2014 the government has introduced taxes on food and beverages with a high sugar or fat content, a commitment to health education campaigns, and new food nutrition laws prohibiting the sale of junk food in all elementary schools to prevent childhood obesity.

Consumers are gradually becoming better informed and seek healthier low-processed foods that are ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare, but free-from refined sugar, salt, and the main allergens. According to Euromonitor, the total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in Mexico reached US$234.5m in 2015, making it the 16th largest market in the world by value. Organic packaged foods include dairy, snacks, spreads, dressings, sauces, and ready meals.

Demand for better-for-you and functional foods will continue to grow. The local industry has not responded fast enough to the positive lifestyle changes. Instead of developing new healthier lines, the leading food companies often opt to import and add brands to their portfolio that are appealing to health-conscious consumers.

There is an opportunity in Mexico for US, Canadian and other international suppliers that provide consumer goods that meet the demand for nutritious, organic, and low processed packaged foods. Healthier snacks and meals for toddlers and baby food need better alternatives, as well as natural supplements and personal care products.

The Mexican Healthy Products Summit has partnered with The Trade Show Consulting, LLC, experts in consumer and trade shows in Mexico and the United States. According to John Pagliaro, President of The Mexican Healthy Products Summit, international participants to the upcoming edition will meet with over 70 buyers representing six sectors of Mexican retailers, including Supercenters such as Walmart, Costco, and City Club; Supermarkets Soriana, HEB Mexico, Chedraui, and Comercial Mexicana; Specialty Health Food Stores such as GNC, The Green Corner and Origenes Organicos; Pharmacies such as Benavides and Farmacia del Ahorro; Convenience Stores such as Oxxo and 7 Eleven; and Department Stores Liverpool and El Palacio de Hierro.”