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Food Export Blog

From Natural Products, to Seafood, to Pet Food and More: March 2019 Recap

by Sarah Larson | Apr 03, 2019

Food Show PLUS! at FOODEX Japan

Toyko, Japan
March 2 – 8

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast Executive Director Tim Hamilton traveled to Tokyo, Japan at the beginning of March to help administer our Food Show PLUS!™ services at FOODEX JAPAN 2019. FOODEX JAPAN is a 4 day exhibition showcasing 85,000+ buyers from food service, distribution, and trading companies around the world. 

We had 13 U.S. suppliers that took advantage of the program and used it to enhance their trade show experience.  The Food Show PLUS!™ service is customizable per company and event and is offered at trade shows all around the world.  Services can include introductions to qualified buyers, a retail tour, an interpreter during show hours, post-show lead qualifications and more!  More details and a full list of available tradeshows for our Food Show PLUS!™ services can be found on our website.

FOODEX - Show Floor - Entrance
FOODEX JAPAN 2019 entrance

FOODEX - Show Floor From Above
View of the USA Pavilion from above

FOODEX - Show Floor - Before 2
Show Floor - Before 

FOODEX - Show Floor - After 5
Show Floor - After

FOODEX - Food Export Booth
Food Export - Midwest & Food Export - Northeast Booth 

FOODEX - Plastic Food 2
Plastic food - a typical Japanese way that restaurants advertise their options.  The food comes out looking EXACTLY like the plastic version.

FOODEX - Subway Map
Complicated Tokyo Subway Map



Street View of Tokyo

Food Show PLUS! at ExpoANTAD & Alimentaria
Guadalajara, Mexico
March 4 – 7

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast had a booth and administered our Food Show PLUS! services at this year’s ExpoANTAD & Alimentaria.  Our In-Market Representative for Mexico Raul was at the show to facilitate the program for our 4 U.S. suppliers exhibiting at the show.

We had a very special surprise visitor stop by the booth, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney!  Secretary McKinney is very familiar with Food Export’s programs and services as he is a past Food Export – Midwest Board President from his time as Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

ExpoANTAD - Ted McKinney and Raul
In-Market Representative Raul with Under Secretary Ted McKinney

ExpoANTAD - Ted McKinney visits FE Booth 1
Under Secretary Ted McKinney visiting the Food Export booth and seeing some U.S. products on display

International Restaurant Show
New York, New York
March 3 – 5

The International Restaurant Show took place from March 3-5 in New York, New York. Food Export – Northeast Liaison Madison Smith attended the show which is co-located with Coffee Fest and Healthy Food Expo New York. According to their website “The International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York is the only comprehensive event devoted to the Eastern U.S. restaurant, foodservice and hospitality market”.  It was a great place to outreach to our current and future suppliers.  The event was also being held at the same time as Vinexpo, which Maddie was able to attend.  It was a great opportunity to meet with our suppliers in person and hear about their export plans for 2019!

International Restaurant Show - Asarasi
Food Export - Northeast supplier Asarasi 

International Restaurant Show - Brooklyn Crafted Tea House
Food Export - Northeast supplier Brooklyn Crafted

Natural Products Buyers Mission at Natural Products Expo West
Anaheim, California
March 5 – 7

Food Export held our Natural Products Buyers Mission at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim from March 6 – 7 in conjunction with the Organic Trade Association.  Natural Products Expo West is one of the largest shows in the U.S. that encompasses  food and natural products. 

This year we had 38 participating suppliers and 19 international buyers for a busy couple days of one-on-one meetings. As usual the international buyers were taken on a retail tour of U.S. stores to become more familiar with the U.S. grocery store industry.

Initial reports show a total of 390+ new supplier/buyer introductions.  The coordination of export sales always take time so we expect to see that number increase even more over the next few months. Several of our suppliers mentioned that the Food Export Helpline was a great preparation tool for them to know what to expect during the meetings! Find out more about the Food Export Helpline and how it could benefit your company.

Expo West - Retail Tour - Target 1
International buyers participating in a Retail Tour of local stores including Gelsons, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Target.

Expo West - Convention Center 4
Front of the Anaheim Convention Center promoting the Natural Products Expo West show

Expo West - Buyer Meetings 1
Natural Products Buyers Mission one-on-one meetings

Expo West - Buyer Meetings - Apryl and Lauren
Food Export - Midwest Liaison Lauren and Food Export - Northeast Liaison Apryl working together at the Natural Products Buyers Mission to connect with U.S. suppliers and their export plans.

Expo West - Liaisons- Lauren, Apryl, Enrique
Food Export - Midwest Liaisons Lauren and Enrique with Food Export - Northeast Liaison Apryl enjoying the California rain outside the Convention Center.

Expo West - Liaisons - Apryl
Food Export - Northeast Liaison Apryl trying to get the lay of the land with the massive Expo West map

Expo West - Show Floor - Overhead
Just a tiny bit of the show floor from Expo West

Expo West - Show Floor - Jonny Pops
Food Export - Midwest supplier Jonny Pops booth

Expo West - Show Floor - KiZE
Food Export - Midwest supplier KiZE Concepts Inc.

Expo West - Show Floor - Lauren and Simply Sunflower
Food Export - Midwest supplier Simply Sunflower with Liaison Lauren

Expo West - Show Floor - Vermont Village
Food Export - Northeast supplier Vermont Village

Expo West - Show Floor - Lillie's
Food Export - Midwest supplier Lillie's Q 

Midwest Foodservice Expo 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
March 11 – 13

Food Export – Midwest Liaison Paul Sorenson traveled to Milwaukee to attend the Midwest Foodservice Expo.  According to their website the “Midwest Foodservice Expo provides the latest products, training, trends, and solutions specifically for the restaurant and foodservice industries.  Food, beverage, and hospitality professionals united with industry suppliers for new ideas and new products”.  It was a great opportunity to meet with current and potential Food Export - Midwest participant companies and network in the food service industry.

Paul couldn’t leave Milwaukee without stopping by to say hello to the “Bronze Fonze”.

Paul S and the Bronze Fonze
Food Export - Midwest Liaison Paul S with the Bronze Fonze

Focused Trade Mission to Taiwan for Retail Products
Taipei, Taiwan
March 11 – 12

Food Export coordinated a trade mission to Taiwan March 11-12, right after FOODEX in Japan so suppliers could kill two birds with one stone and only had to cross the ocean once.  The first day in Taipei the group was joined by Chris Frederick, Agricultural Trade Office Director for a market briefing. Many suppliers have been impacted by the trade disputes in China, so there was a lot of good dialogue between the suppliers, Chris Frederick, and Steven Chu, Food Export’s in-market representative in Taiwan.

Then the group went on a retail store tour to check out the retail landscape in Taiwan. Fun fact: Taiwan has the second ratio of convenience store per population density – there is one convenience store for every 2,000 people (approx.)! On the second day, one-on-one business meetings took place. Over 100 meetings took place between our 9 U.S. suppliers and Taiwanese importers and distributors. Between meetings, Food Export hosted a lunch reception which was a great opportunity to network with the Taiwanese trade and local FAS staff!

FTM Taiwan - Taipei 1
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei

FTM Taiwan - Taipei 2
Street view of Taipei

FTM Taiwan - Steven Chu - IMR and Mark Petry Agricultural Section Chief - American Institute in Taiwan
Welcome remarks from Food Export IMR Steven Chu (left) and Mark Petry, Agricultural Section Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan (right)

FTM Taiwan - Networking Lunch 4
One-on-one meetings between U.S. suppliers and Taiwanese buyers

FTM - Taiwan - Networking Lunch 2
Networking lunch that took place between meetings, great opportunity for networking

SRTG Meeting
Alexandria, Virginia
March 12 – 13

Food Export-Midwest, Food Export-Northeast, SUSTA, WUSATA, and NASDA team members were all in Arlington, Virginia from March 12th to 13th for the annual SRTG meeting. Having staff from all of these organizations in the same place at the same time to discuss ag, exports, trade and how to better help U.S. companies promote their products around the world is always beneficial!

SRTG Meeting
Various staff members from Food Export, SUSTA, WUSATA, and NASDA pose together

Food Show PLUS! at VIV Asia
Bangkok, Thailand
March 12 – 15

Food Export-Midwest exhibited at VIV Asia for the first time in order to coordinate our Food Show PLUS™ services for four U.S. suppliers.  This trade show is held bi-annually in Bangkok, Thailand and is one of the largest shows in the animal feed industry with 60 country pavilions and 1,250 exhibitors.  Before the show started, the local USDA staff coordinated with the Thai Feed Mill Association to provide an excellent overview of feed production in Thailand and neighboring states. 

Although Thailand is not one of the top ten countries in the world in terms of manufacturing feed, Southeast Asia as a region would comprise the 3rd largest feed market in the world - only exceeded by the U.S. and China.  U.S. companies who signed up for our Food Show PLUS™ service were thrilled with the support of Food Export’s In-Market Representatives and having additional meetings with qualified buyers (including a sponsored buyer from Indonesia).   

Judging by the quality of the show, Food Export will be back in 2021!

VIV Asia - Bangkok Traffic
View of Bangkok, Thailand

VIV Asia - Food Export Booth - Brendan
Food Export - Midwest International Marketing Program Senior Coordinator Brendan with a Vietnamese buyer that has participated in 2 of our previous stateside Buyers Missions

VIV Asia - Food Export Booth 2
Food Export - Midwest booth

Seafood Buyers Mission at 2019 Seafood Expo North America
Boston, Massachusetts
March 17 – 19

Our annual Seafood Buyers Mission was held this year in Boston on the same weekend as the 2019 Seafood Expo North America.  It was our largest seafood Buyers Mission yet with a total of 19 buyers and 25 different U.S. suppliers. The meetings were held at the historic Boston Fish Pier in the exchange building at the end of the pier where historically fish auctions were held with U.S. suppliers selling their local fish to buyers from all over the globe.  A few hundred years may have passed but the same thing happened between our U.S. suppliers and international buyers. 

This year was also the largest show ever in terms of exhibitors. We had 29 companies use the Branded Program to help with the cost of exhibiting at the show, some of them used funds from the recently announced Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help with their costs.  Six of our exhibiting companies participated in the first ever Massachusetts Ave and promoted Massachusetts seafood.

Food Export – Northeast also hosted their first ever Oyster Seminar to educate U.S. suppliers and international buyers on the current status of the oyster trade between the U.S. and EU, which is expected to reopen later this year after over a decade of being closed. The Oyster Seminar provided great insights on both the quality and farming methods of U.S. oysters and the consumption and distribution trends of oysters in Europe. Below is a brief outline of the presentations and topics that were covered.

Snapshot of Farmed Oyster Production in Northeast USA
       - Overview of Farmed Oyster Production in Northeast USA - Bob Rheault, Executive Director, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association 
       - Oyster Farming Methods - Dr. Dale Leavitt, Roger Williams University

Snapshot of European Oyster Distribution & Consumption
       - Oyster Distribution in Europe (Focus: The Netherlands) - Alexander Wever, Food Export - Northeast In-Market Representative
        - French Oyster Production & Consumption - Jerome Lafon, Aquaculture & Fisheries Sectors, FranceAgriMer

  The seminar was very interactive and there were many questions from the audience. 

Seafood Expo - Education Day 2 - Group Photo
Group of International buyers pose with Lobsterman Brian Rapp after this presentation on Education Day.

Seafood Expo - Education Day 5 - Bryan Rapp
Real life lobsterman Brian Rapp educating our international buyers about the lobster industry.

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 1 - Bonita, Suzanne, Apryl, Jeff
Massachusetts State Member Bonita Oehlke (far left), Food Export - Northeast International Marketing Program Manager Suzanne Milshaw (second to left), Food Export - Northeast Liaison Apryl King (second to right), and Maine State Member Jeff Bennett (right) on the Seafood Retail Tour

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 14 - Boats
Part of the Retail Tour included a Port Tour in New Bedford

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 16 - Group Photo
Group shot during the Retail Tour

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 3 - Kyler's Catch
Retail Tour stop at Kyler's Catch Seafood Market

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 4 - Ice Storage
Retail Tour Continued.

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 10 - Suzanne and Lobster
Getting an up close and personal view of lobster on the retail tour

Seafood Expo - Retail Tour 11 - Buyer and Lobster
One of the international buyers taking a photo with a live lobster

Seafood Expo - Buyers Mission - Registration Table
Seafood Buyers Mission underway at the Boston Fish Pier

Seafood Expo - Buyers Mission - Blue Harvest Fisheries
One-on-One meeting between a U.S. supplier and a buyer from Poland

Seafood Expo - Buyers Mission - East Coast Seafood 2
Each meeting lasts 20 minutes, allowing both suppliers and buyers to meet with a variety of interested parties

Seafood Expo - Buyers Mission - Maine Coast
This year we had the largest number of participating buyers ever

Seafood Expo - Buyers Mission - Room 3
Overhead shot of the Buyers Meetings - the room was full with 29 suppliers and 19 buyers

Seafood Expo - Show Floor - 4
A small part of the overall Seafood Expo North America Show Floor

Seafood Expo - Show Floor - Andrew Greenwell, Jeff Bennet, Andrew Haught
Massachusetts Food Export Intern Andrew Greenwell (left), Maine State Member Jeff Bennet (center), and Food Export - Northeast International Marketing Program Senior Coordinator Andrew Haught (right) pose in front of the Food Export - Northeast booth

Seafood Expo - Show Floor - Jeff and Bonita agree on Lobster
State Member Bonita Oehlke from Massachusetts and State Member Jeff Bennet from Maine working together to promote U.S. lobster!

Oyster Seminar - oysters
Oysters at the first ever Food Export - Northeast Oyster Seminar

Oyster Seminar - Colleen and Bob
Food Export - Northeast Seafood Program Coordinator Colleen Coyne introducing the first speaker of the seminar Bob Rheault Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association.

Oyster Seminar - Alexander's Speech 1
Great turnout for the Oyster Seminar, many people in the audience where U.S. oyster farmers who are looking forward to the reopening of trade between the U.S. and EU

Oyster Seminar - Bonita and Suzanne collect evaluations
State Member Bonita Oehlke from Massachusetts and Food Export - Northeast International Marketing Program Manager Suzanne Milshaw going over evaluations from the seminar 

Oyster Seminar - Audeince Questions
The seminar was very interactive with many questions from the audience

Oyster Seminar - Alexander's Speech 2
Food Export In Market Representative Alexander Wever presenting about Oyster Distribution in Europe 


Pet Food Buyers Mission at the 2019 Global Pet Expo
Orlando, Florida
March 20 – 22

Food Export held a Pet Food Buyers Mission at the 2019 Global Pet Expo in Orlando, FL.  The Global Pet Expo is the pet industry’s largest annual trade show and features a lot of innovate and new pet products available to the market. The show offers a unique experience, complete with pet food for human consumption and a variety of live animals, some were even available for adoption! Attendees can bring their pets to walk the show floor with them and sample the brands. The current trends in pet food are similar to human food in that the majority are natural and organic.

The Buyers Mission featured 19 U.S. suppliers of pet food ingredients and 9 international buyers. There were a total of 128 new supplier buyer introductions at the mission and 35 new distributorships established. Initial export sales as a result are valued at 4.6 Million dollars. 

Global Pet Expo - Retail Tour - Costco
International buyers participating in a retail tour for pet products at Costco

Global Pet Expo - Retail Tour - Bakery
The Retail Tour included a stop at a pet bakery with adorable treats!

Global Pet Expo - Retail Tour - Woof Gang Bakery
Retail Tour stop at Woof Gang Bakery

Global Pet Expo - Show Floor - Deb Entrance
Food Export - Northeast Liaison Deborah at the entrance to the Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo - Show Floor - Deb stuffed animal
 Food Export - Northeast Liaison Deborah made a fun new friend while at the show

Global Pet Expo - Cats
Attendees are allowed to bring their pets to walk the show floor and sample products

Global Pet Expo - Pigs
Cats, dogs, and pigs oh my!

6th Annual Fish Congress
Gdynia, Poland
March 28 – 29

Food Export – Northeast’s In-Market Representative Alexander Wever was invited to speak at the 6th Polish Fish Congress in Gdynia, Poland on March 28th.   The conference is an annual meeting of Polish fish industry managers and this was Food Export’s first time presenting to this market. Over the last 20 years Poland became a big player in seafood processing and is said to have some of the most modern seafood production plants in Europe processing in particular salmon, herring, and Alsaka pollock. Alexander shared information about Food Export’s main fisheries including lobster, scallops, monkfish, and dogfish, including information on the product forms available.  As well as the Northeast U.S. seafood industry’s focus on sustainability of these wild fisheries.   150 industry members attended the presentation and Alexander received inquiries from four buyers for additional information about Northeastern U.S. seafood.  He also invited all participants to meet with US Northeast exhibitors during Seafood Expo Global in Brussels in early May.


Fish Congress - Crowd
Audience view of Food Export In Market Representative Alexander Wever presenting at the 6th Fish Congress in Poland

Fish Congress - Alexander Presentation
Close up of Food Export IMR Alexander presenting

 Fish Congress - Alexander Food Export Table
Alexander at the Food Export booth as part of the 6th Fish Congress

COMING UP IN APRIL

Focused Trade Mission to Toronto for Specialty and Natural Products – April 1 – 5

Beer Ingredients Buyers Mission at Brew Expo – April 9

Food Export – Northeast Program Committee Meeting – April 10 – 11

Food Export – Midwest Marketing Directors Meeting – April 16 – 17

USDA Agri-Business Trade Mission to Taiwan – April 22 – 25

Food Show PLUS! at SIAL Canada – April 30 – May 1