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HomePARTNER ARTICLES2022 – a year of opportunity for food imports from the US

2022 – a year of opportunity for food imports from the US

As the world opens up – and New Zealand opens up to the world – finding that point of difference to make your business stand out to customers will be crucial.

If you’re in the market for food ingredients, processed foods, or specialty foods, as well as pet foods and agricultural feed ingredients, the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and Food Export USA – Northeast can connect you to a wide variety of innovative and high quality products and suppliers based in the US.

Food Export is a non-profit organisation which, at no cost to businesses, can help importers discover the diverse product offerings available from US suppliers. It can facilitate one-on-one meetings with those suppliers either here in New Zealand or via expenses-paid trade missions to trade shows in the US. Food Export also keeps New Zealand buyers informed about US market trends, and can provide information about promotional funding opportunities to help establish imports from the US.

Food Export’s in-market representative for New Zealand John Arnold says in the wake of two years of Covid disruption to international borders and supply chains, 2022 is shaping up as an important year of recovery for many buyers, importers and retailers in the food, and agricultural supplies, sectors.

“Over the past two years many importers or retail businesses have been focused on navigating challenges and disruption, whether that’s come from lockdowns, supply chain issues or other pandemic related issues.

“As the world opens up again, and particularly as New Zealand’s borders open up, proactive business owners will be looking for new opportunities, and new products that will help give them a competitive edge in the post-Covid recovery period,” John says. “At Food Export, we can help with that by helping businesses source innovative, high quality, exciting new products.”

A method of doing that, that has proven very effective pre-pandemic, is hosting New Zealand buyers and importers on missions to US trade shows. Food Export covers the travel and accommodation costs of buyers attending the missions and arranges an itinerary which will revolve around a specific trade show, but will also include retail tours, marketing briefings and one-on-one sessions with potential suppliers.

“It’s been called speed dating for suppliers and importers,” John says. “It’s a chance for suppliers to really pitch their products, and for buyers and importers to get a clear idea of how those products might fit with their business.

“There’s no obligation for buyers on these missions, other than to make the most of the opportunity to connect with suppliers,” John says. “We’ve seen some really great success stories from these missions where buyers have come across a product that might not seem an immediate fit for their business, but they just really love it, and find a way to make it work.

“It’s all about opportunity, seeing the potential in something new and making great connections. Food Export’s role is to simply be a catalyst to help make that happen,” he says.

Some of the buyer missions coming up in the US in 2022 include :

  • Specialty Food Buyers Mission at Summer Fancy Food Show, June 24 – 25, New York City.
  • Food Ingredients Buyers Mission at the Institute of Food Technologists Show, July 10 -11, Chicago.  
  • Midwest Buyers Mission, July 25 – 28, Grand Rapids, Columbus, Chicago.
  • Bakery Ingredients Buyers Mission at IBIE, September 18, Las Vegas.
  • Natural Products Buyers Mission at Natural Products Expo East, September 21 – 22, Philadelphia.
  • Food Ingredients Buyers Mission at Supply Side West, November 1 -2, Las Vegas. 

“Huge events like these have been on hold or run virtually over the past two years, and while that worked as a temporary measure, there is a real desire to connect in-person and discover the products that have been in development for the past two years.

“New Zealand buyers have the opportunity to be a part of that,” John says.

Once those connections are made Food Export can also New Zealand businesses with accessing funds available through US suppliers for marketing and promotion of US products

in the New Zealand market. This can include creating product packaging and labelling to comply with local requirements, producing marketing materials, demonstrations and merchandising, and social media or ad campaigns.

“Food Export exists to facilitate those connections with US suppliers, but also to help make sure they’re successful in market,” says John.

“We’re a resource that’s here to be used for everything from resourcing high-end gourmet food products, through to high volume agricultural commodities and pet food.

“We can help make connections that add value to businesses whether it’s a large supermarket chain, smaller food retailers, restaurant suppliers or agricultural and pet suppliers.

“After a tough couple of years we are excited about the potential for all those businesses, as well as our US suppliers as world markets start to open and grow.”

For more on how Food Export can help you, contact John Arnold via email john.arnold@cxfood.com.au or give him a call on +61 415 375 558.

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Kerri Jackson is a freelance writer, content strategist, PR consultant, communications specialist.