In its latest industry report, food and beverage export development agency, Incite, found that for 75 per cent of Asian importers and distributors, less than 25 per cent of products pitched to them convert into partnerships.
In its fifth year, more than 2500 agents were surveyed about the export environment for food and beverage companies looking to export to South-East Asia.
Incite partner and head of client growth, Cameron Gordon, said distributors are not only looking for products they can put on supermarket shelves, but on the potential to maintain and grow its demand.
"To cut through the noise and competition, brands need to be presenting compelling and well thought out commercial propositions that take local market dynamics into consideration," Gordon said.
Those surveyed were based in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea.
The market is healthy, with 95 per cent of respondents saying they were reviewing new food and beverage distribution opportunities right now, with 84 per cent saying they are pitched new products on a weekly to monthly basis.
Sixty-four per cent are importing from Europe, 59 per cent from the US, 51 per cent from Australia, and 41 per cent from New Zealand.
Almost all (90 per cent) said price was the most important factor, followed by taste/quality (87 per cent) and shelf life (77 per cent). The majority (76 per cent) said price promotions were important, but in-store demos/sampling, and social media were also ranked highly.
"Traditional in-store activations (price promotions, demos, sampling) remain important, especially in the early stages of launching a brand in a new market.
"Digital marketing has evolved significantly. Market activation helps educate consumers online where they browse, collect information and shop.
"Ideally, in-trade marketing and digital marketing efforts should complement and talk to each other to give optimal results," Gordon said.
While 82 per cent said their biggest challenge was rising operational costs, both the grocery and food service sectors had a positive outlook for the next twelve months.
For the full report click here.