In May of this year, Export Connect – in partnership with Investment NSW and the Department for Trade and Investment South Australia – hosted an inbound buyer mission featuring the CEO and Business Development Director from Macroscopic Taiwan. Following the Market Insights Presentations in Sydney and Adelaide, valuable first-hand insights were shared during a Q&A session with Macroscopic about the Taiwan market.
About the Buyer: Macroscopic
Macroscopic, established in Taiwan in 2006, is a food importer and distributor that specialises in sourcing and importing gourmet food products from around the world. Their portfolio includes regional specialties, natural healthy goods, and a variety of gourmet products mainly from Europe, the US, Australia, and Southeast Asia. They cater to a diverse customer base, including high-end supermarkets, hypermarkets, retailers, hotels, transport catering, and e-commerce. Currently, they offer over 2,000 items from more than 30 brands globally.
Q&A Session Insights
Question 1: From your perspective, what are the key economic factors, consumer trends and channel trends in Taiwan?
Consumer trends in Taiwan are quite similar to Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Like most global markets, there is definitely a growing market within the healthy, natural and organic space in terms of food and beverage. Australia is one of six global markets where their organic certification is recognised in Taiwan – which has proven to be a great advantage for Australian exporters.
Question 2: Which food and beverage categories present the strongest opportunities in Taiwan?
In Taiwan, consumer preferences for healthy and organic foods, drinks and supplements are growing. As a result, the market for high-end products in Taiwan is on the rise, and retailers have responded by offering a variety of high-end imported food products that are not only high-quality, but also organic and naturally healthy. There is also an increasing focus on premiumisation within the Taiwan market. Australian exporters, in particular, may capitalise on this trend by promoting their premium products to meet the demand for healthy and organic alternatives.
In addition, Taiwan imports a lot of meat and beef products from Australia – 93% of beef is imported from either Australia or the United States.
Question 3: What are the biggest challenges and barriers for Australian food and beverage exporters seeking to enter the Taiwanese market?
From experience, one challenge worth noting for exporters is that Taiwan has quite strict regulations and standards. Typically, before we can gain approval for selling the product in the Taiwanese market, there may be some back-and-forth with the government to ensure you meet all the requirements and have completed your paperwork correctly. Generally, you may be asked for detailed ingredient lists and everything will need to be translated into Chinese before submission. It is crucial you research and understand the requirements before entering the Taiwanese market to ensure a smooth export process.
Furthermore, if your product contains unique or new ingredients that are not prominent within the Taiwanese market, the government may ask for specific information to support. For example, when we were looking to import curry products into the market, the government required the supplier to provide information about a specific “root” in their meals. The whole process took about 6 months before we were finally able to import their product.
It is also crucial to understand labelling requirements in Taiwan. There are regulations around the size of the font used as well as the fact that stickers need to be translated into Chinese where necessary. If labelling requirements are not adhered to, this can be quite costly for the business and can prolong the export process.
Question 4: What advice would you give to a potential exporter seeking to enter the Taiwanese market?
Continuing on the topic of labelling, it is important to find out what products are actually permitted into the market. For example, and like other global markets, some fruits may not be permitted as we have our own agricultural standards to adhere to.
Additionally, sustainability is also a topic worth touching on. Australia is known for its clean and green products and the care that suppliers put into their products. Sustainability, whilst not yet at the forefront of consumers’ minds, is a growing concern with the Taiwan market, so this is something Australian producers can capitalise on. Also consider marketing material and content, as solely relying on the distributor to market your products is often ineffective.
Unlike Hong Kong for example, Taiwan has a well-established food and beverage manufacturing space. Despite being a relatively small market, Taiwan offers unique potential for both high-end products as well as raw materials that can be used in domestic manufacturing.
We hope you’ve found these insights on the Taiwanese market helpful. As always, if you’ve got any questions or want to discuss export opportunities for your company, feel free to drop us a line at Export Connect – we’d love to hear from you.