The export markets of North America, Latin America and South Africa remain key to growth for Brazilian confectioners, according to the Brazilian Association of Cacao, Chocolates, Candies and Byproducts (ABICAB).

Exhibiting at this years ISM confectionery show in Cologne, ABICAB export manager Rodrigo Solano told just-food that the US is “one of the most important markets for Brazilian products”.

“South America, the US and Africa, would be the main markets for Brazil, but one of the most important is the US for Brazilian products. There are many companies in our sector who are already exporting to far away countries like Saudi Arabia, even South Korea and China. Of course, I’m not talking about big amounts. Those are focused in South America, North America and Africa.”

Solano said the strategy of the majority of Brazilian confectioners is to focus on the key US, South America and Africa markets, but he added: “We would never say no to any other countries. We are open to exporting to other countries.

“We currently are exporting to around 140 countries and even though there has been this great scenario globally with countries experiencing problems with exports, it is incredible that we didn’t lose any export markets.”

He suggested that the key for Brazilian exporters will be to build on the success already enjoyed in these markets.

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“Our main intention is to consolidate our markets of North America, South Africa, Africa, Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Arabic markets, given these are our primary markets. These are countries that are very important to Brazilian confectioners.”

In 2012, for the period January to September, Brazilian confectionery exports to the US grew by 22%, in Peru by 55%, Angola by 17% and Saudi Arabia by 15%.

Solano says the way to attract new markets and consumers is through innovation in flavour and ingredients.

Ingredients such as Amazonian cacao feature in around 90 of the product launches at this year’s ISM confectionery show in Cologne where ABICAB is exhibiting, along with around Brazilian confectionery companies including Bel, Chocolates Garoto, Docile, Dori and Embaré.

“This year we will have 19 companies from Brazil [exhibiting]. More and more in Brazil, this sector has been focusing on a different strategy: to focus on typical flavours and products from Brazil. This is one of the main markets for confectionery and what we would like to do is, little by little, step by step, show it to the world,” Solano says.

“There are great opportunities for companies around the world and consumers to become familiarised with different flavours from different countries. It’s already happening, we are in a global world with different cultures.”