The growing middle class and increased in minimum wage are the main drivers of the demand for international food and beverage products in Myanmar. International brands like Nestle, Unilever, P&G, F&N, Lotte, Carlsberg, and Heineken currently have a strong presence in Myanmar. Over the 2009-2013 period, Packaged food sales experienced a 12% (Compound Annual Growth Rate) CAGR to reach a market value of US$1.6 billion in 2013. Canned/preserved food and baby food has CAGRs of 24% and 22%, respectively, between 2009 and 2013. Overall packaged food sales will have a CAGR of 15% between 2014 and 2018. Soft drinks experienced a CAGR of 18% in value terms over 2009-2013 reaching a market value of US$264 million. Juice (CAGR 23%) and carbonates (CAGR 14%) were the two largest soft drinks categories, amounting to US$102 million and US$100 million, respectively, in 2013. Value sales of soft drinks are anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 23% over 2014-2018.
Challenges in this sector are related to importing procedures and documentations of the goods.�� Myanmar’s Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for inspecting and clearing imported food at the border. Importers must obtain a food import license from the FDA for each product line. There is a high amount of bureaucracy required for FDA approval and a very long time to receive recommendation letter of the distribution of the products for the public. In addition to delays, food import licenses can only be issued if the importer presents a food safety recommendation for each product. If there are multiple products, the process could be lengthy. With a lot of expats and tourists coming in, Myanmar consumers are being exposed to a lot of international tastes and this is the main driver for demands for international brands. Finding the right agents and established and experienced distributors is important for a successful operation in this sector. The import rules are always changing along with new regulations, restrictions and limitations on products and services, therefore a planned market entry strategy is required to enter Myanmar.
Currently, the Myanmar National Food Law 1997 stipulates the legal requirements for food labelling for pre-packaged food. It was amended in 2013 to keep up with the changes in the consumption of the citizens. Information with Distributor details should also be attached by the manufacturer or supplier prior to import into Myanmar and by the Distributor after the goods have arrived in Myanmar. The regulations for Customs clearance are constantly changing and delays caused by the clearance is a major challenge for food products. Changing import rules and regulations, restrictions and limitations on products and services are current challenges in this sector.
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