From the Midwest to East Asia to South America – August 2018 Recap

A recap of all the events Food Export staff traveled to in August 2018 to promote U.S. ag products!

Midwest Buyers Mission

Kansas City, MO – July 30th
East Lansing, MI – August 1st
Chicago, IL – August 2nd

The 2018 Midwest Buyers Mission took place in three Midwestern cities – Kansas City, MO; East Lansing, MI; and Chicago, IL from July 30th to August 2nd.  Food Export – Midwest worked with the Agricultural State Department Members Jennifer Dudenhoeffer of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Suzanne Numrich and Janelle Dobbins of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Jamie Zmitko-Somers of Michigan, and Kim Hamilton of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Food Export’s domestic contractor Sandy Renner also helped coordinate.

Buyers were in attendance from the following markets: Antigua, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Panama, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. We also included meeting opportunities with some of our In-Market Representatives including Kathy Boyce representing Canada, Tatiana Quiros representing Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, Hovig Kizirian representing the Middle East, and Miwa Kaneko and Hisao Fukuda representing Japan. In addition to buyers and In-Market Reps, we had Food Export Helpline Counselor, Dennis Lynch, and Food Export Advisor, Gary Winget meet with companies as well.

The buyers met with approximately 80 suppliers over the course of the three stops, and had over 1000 meetings by the time the mission was completed. The Midwest Buyers Mission is one of our premier Buyers Missions throughout the year and provides an incredible opportunity to showcase products of the Midwest region, highlighting the agricultural abundance of the area.

Kansas City

Kansas City - 2  Kansas City - 4

Kansas City - 23  Kansas City - 26

Kansas City - 6  Kansas City - 12

East Lansing

East Lansing - 3  East Lansing - 13

   East Lansing - 7  East Lansing - 10  

 East Lansing - 15  East Lansing - 11



Chicago - 4  Chicago 13

Chicago 11  Chicago 15

Chicago 16

Importer Seminar
Dominican Republic
August 8 – 9

Food Export sponsored a seminar on August 9, 2018 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  The theme of the seminar was “Opportunities For US Value Added Agricultural Products”.  Howard Gordon, Food Export – Northeast’s Branded Program Manager, spoke at the event as well as Pamela Wells-Russell, Food Export’s In-Market Representative covering the Caribbean and Central America.  They presented to over 45 attendees, representing importers and trade representatives, “Resources for Importers of US Foods”.  There were numerous interactive questions during the presentation which was interpreted in conjunction with the Agricultural Attache office in the Dominican Republic.  

Many new contacts were made and it was an invaluable learning experience for Food Export as well as the Dominican Republic importers. 

Santo Domingo  Room View

Presentation  Group Shot

Focused Trade Mission to China
Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen
August 13 – 17

Food Export’s Focused Trade Mission to China took place from August 13-17.  Food Export-Midwest’s Branded Manager Molly Burns had the opportunity to participate in the mission. It was a whirlwind of a week, with visits to three different Chinese cities in just five days! Each stop reflected a unique region of China. The first stop was Shanghai, home to the busiest port in the world and many of China’s importers of US food products. The second stop was Chengdu in China’s southwest region. Chengdu has a population of over 14 million, and its GDP matches that of Mexico. The third and final stop was Shenzhen, representing the South China region, an $8 billion market for US agricultural exports. At each stop, the mission participants met with the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff, toured grocery stores, met one-on-one with Chinese buyers, and networked.

Exporting to China is no easy task right now, making this trip all the more important. Over half of the trade mission participants promoted products affected by the new Chinese tariffs on US food products. FAS addressed this topic at each trade mission stop and emphasized that it is essential to maintain relationships, trust, and credibility with our Chinese buyers and keep building new relationships during this time. China is too big and important a market to stay away and suppliers need a long term strategy. Despite current trade barriers, we came away with strong projected sales and many new buyer relationships.


View from Hotel - People's Square  IMR - Robin Wang

Shanghai Museum  Store 2 - Molly and Lisa - City Super - only imported products


ATO Briefiing with FAS Chengdu Post Director Yvonne McDowell  Student Translator

Retail Tour  Networking Reception

    SMH's Carrie - Food Export Flag  Downtown Chengdu


Bill Verzani at Shenzhen Reception  Flora at ATO Briefing Shenzhen

    Amber in the Shenzhen Meeting Room  Joint SUSTA Food Export event at Shenzhen

Shenzhen Meeting Room

Seafood Outreach
August 15 – 16

On August 15th and 16th Food Export – Northeast Liaison Bulat Hametov and Seafood Program Coordinator Colleen Coyne traveled to our member state of Maine to meet with current Food Export Suppliers as well as network with new potential suppliers.  Cozy Harbor of Maine and Ready Seafood Co. were two of our existing companies that they met with in an effort to stay in touch with the current needs and pulse of the seafood industry.

State visits are a vital part of our Liaison’s jobs as they allow a face to face connection to be formed with the U.S. suppliers they work with on a daily basis.  As well as the opportunity to see in person the company, facility, and products and be able to understand in its entirety the direction and needs of the company from an exporting perspective.

As a result of Bulat and Colleen’s trip, we have a brand new U.S. supplier who has signed up for multiple Buyers Missions events in 2019 as well as submitting a pre-qualification for the Branded Program!  In a world of virtual communication, an in person meeting can be monumental. 

Cozy Harbor 1  Ready Seafood 1

Ready Seafood 3  Maine Coast


Focused Trade Mission to Brazil 
Sao Paulo
August 20 – 23

From August 21st – 23rd Food Export hosted seven U.S. suppliers on our Focused Trade Mission to Brazil for Food Ingredients.  The mission centered around the Food Ingredients South America (FiSA) Show in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Food Export Liaison & Recruitment Supervisor Paul Weiss attended the mission.

Food Export’s In-Market Representatives River Global arranged one-on-one meetings between the U.S. supplier participants and qualified buyers on the tradeshow floor.  The suppliers were provided professional food industry interpreters for their meetings.  They also received customized market research on their products before the trip.

In addition to the tradeshow, the suppliers visited a local food manufacturer in Sao Paulo and were given a presentation on the company and exporting to Brazil.  The suppliers also received a market briefing by local Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff on the opportunities of exporting to Brazil.

The mission produced great results with over 140 new supplier/buyer introductions and 2 suppliers expecting first time sales to the market.  The participants left with great anticipation of sales results and an excitement to visit the Brazilian market again soon!

Show Floor 2  Show Floor 4

Artistic Cow  Plury Quimica - Group Photo 1

Plury Quimica - Group Photo 2  Plury Quimica - Presentation

Ohio Company Visits and Exporting Seminar
Columbus and Cleveland, OH
August 22 – 24

This past month, one of our Food Export – Midwest liaisons, Enrique Rubio, traveled to Ohio to speak at an Exporting Seminar hosted by the Global Business Center at Cleveland State University.  The seminar focused on the local and regional resources that are available to help grow exports of value-added food and agricultural products.  Enrique gave a presentation highlighting the services available through Food Export.

In addition to attending the seminar Enrique had the chance to meet with a number of Ohio suppliers that currently participate in Food Export – Midwest events and services, to assist with their international marketing strategies for 2019. August is an extremely busy time of the year for Food Export as our U.S. suppliers begin to roadmap their export plans for the upcoming year, so the chance to connect one-on-one and in person with our suppliers is always a great opportunity. 

Seminar - Enrique Speaking

Seminar - Group Photo  Cleveland Kraut

Coming Up In September

Focused Trade Mission to Canada for Specialty and Natural Products – September 5-6

GBI Seafood Trade Mission to Vietnam – September 5-12

MW/NE Board Meetings and NASDA Annual Meeting – September 9-12

Focused Trade Mission to Australia and New Zealand – September 10-15

Natural Products Expo East Buyers Mission – September 11-15