Mexico exports of agrifood products hit a 29-year high in the first five months of 2021, highlighting the strong investment opportunities available in food and drink production in the North American country.
Agrifood products — including both fresh produce and processed goods — brought in $18.7 billion between January and May this year, while imports of such goods stood close to $14.5 billion, representing a surplus of more than $4.2 billion, which Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry was reported to have stated is the fourth highest in 27 years (all figures in USD).
The earnings from such exports for the period reportedly exceeded those generated by either petroleum exports or foreign tourism, pointing to the significance of the industry to the Mexican economy.
Major growth was seen in exports of certain products, with flower exports reportedly increasing 94% on the same period last year, while natural honey exports grew 83.2%, tobacco increased 60.7%, and citrus exports were 57.5% higher.
The following four agrifood products each brought in more than a billion dollars between January and May, and with more growth expected in the future, offer significant opportunities to investors.
4 key Mexico exports driving record agrifood exports
- Beer ($2.2 billion)
Mexico is well-known for its large beer industry, with a large number of brands exported around the world. The industry was heavily influenced by German and Austrian immigrants, who established the first breweries in the 19th Century. Today, Mexico’s beer industry sees more than $23 billion in annual revenues, while over 13,000 people are employed in beer production.
While beer production is dominated by two major conglomerates — Cervecería Modelo/Grupo Modelo and Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma/FEMSA — the country’s craft and artisanal beer market has been growing exponentially in recent years, offering major opportunities to investors.
- Avocados ($1.3 billion)
Mexico is famed for being the number one producer of avocados globally, and is the source of approximately 45% of the supply of the tropical fruit sold on the international market. Growing demand has seen avocado production more than double in less than a decade, from 1.11 metric tons in 2010 to 2.39 metric tons in 2020.
While the state of Michoacán is the biggest producer of avocados, the neighboring state of Jalisco is a fast growing producer, while the fruit is also cultivated in states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Nayarit, and Yucatan.
With avocados slated to be the most widely sold tropical fruit globally by 2030, production can be expected to continue to grow and further drive Mexico exports into the future.
- Tequila and mezcal ($1.1 billion)
Arguably one of Mexico’s most famous products is tequila, a distilled spirit made from blue agave. Along with mezcal, a similar product that can be made from a wider variety of agave, exports of these distilled liquors exceeded $1.1 billion in the first five months of 2021.
Tequila is almost exclusively produced in the state of Jalisco, although some production is seen in nearby Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Meanwhile, approximately 70% of mezcal is made in the state of Oaxaca.
As well as being one of the most famous products produced by the country, tequila has also witnessed increasing demand in recent years, with Mexico exports of the liquor more than quadrupling between 1995 and 2020.
- Tomatoes ($1.1 billion)
The final product among Mexico exports to generate more than $1 billion in sales in the first five months of the year is tomatoes, with the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month reporting that it expects Mexico to set its all-time record for tomato exports in 2021.
The states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Puebla, and Querétaro see the highest yields from tomato production, while Sinaloa is the largest tomato producing state. Other key producers are the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur.
Tomatoes are produced year-round in Mexico, with a fall/winter cycle and a spring/summer cycle. The key destination for Mexican tomatoes is the United States, where more than 99% of Mexico exports of the fruit are destined for.
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