March Seafood Buyers Mission Sows Seeds for Global Sales of Northeast Seafood

Food Export–Northeast's recent annual Seafood Buyers Mission provided a unique opportunity for Northeast U.S. seafood suppliers to connect one-on-one with pre-qualified international buyers.

In March, the day before Seafood Expo North America (SENA) in Boston, Food Export–Northeast hosted its annual Seafood Buyers Mission, which provided a unique opportunity for Northeast U.S. seafood suppliers to connect one-on-one with pre-qualified international buyers.  

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This year, 19 seafood suppliers and 25 buyers from 15 countries including Australia, Austria, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Latvia, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam attended the Seafood Buyers Mission. The outcome was extremely positive: US$3.8 million in direct sales and an additional US$2 million in projected sales. 

“Suppliers were extremely happy with the quality and range of buyers in attendance,” said Colleen Coyne, Seafood Program Coordinator at Food Export–Northeast. During the Seafood Buyers Mission, Food Export–Northeast facilitated 111 new supplier/buyer introductions and helped to establish 27 new distributor relationships. “Those connections, over time, will build long-term sales in those buyer markets,” noted Coyne.

Educating Food Export’s In-Market Experts

In addition to one-on-one meeting opportunities, Food Export–Northeast hosted a lobster products and shellfish education day for the invited buyers and the organization’s In-Market Representatives (IMRs). 

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John Arnold, Food Export’s In-Market Representative for Australia, remarked that “the general perception of Northeast seafood by buyers is that it is high quality and fished sustainably. Attending the Mission gave buyers (and IMRs) great insight into the productive waters of the Northeast and the species that are fished there. The one-on-one meetings with suppliers were great; they were welcoming and professional, and they were keen to learn more about what opportunities existed in the Australian market for their products and how they could fit. This, plus ample time to walk the show floor, made the Mission a very worthwhile event.”   

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“The seafood education day was excellent, and the industry speakers provided great detail on how the industry manages a sustainable catch. Tasting the dishes created by Chef Barton Seaver was a real treat and showcased the flavor and quality of Northeast seafood,” noted Arnold.

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Resounding Reviews from Attending Buyers

Arnold continued, “Interest in Northeast seafood from the Australian buyer remains high, and he has reconnected with suppliers he met during the one-on-one meetings and on the show floor. He’s followed up to request pricing on several products and discussions with suppliers continue. The main products of interest are scallops, lobster meat (mince, knuckles, and tails), monkfish, dogfish, and razor clams.”  

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In addition to the 25 buyers sponsored by Food Export, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Post in Taiwan brought a delegation of buyers who joined the education session and one-on-one meetings with U.S. suppliers. 

According to Katherine Lee, Agricultural Trade Specialist at the FAS office in Taipei, Taiwan, who coordinated the delegation, one of the participating companies has already placed a trial order of frozen lobster products, and a second one is seriously considering doing the same. Another member of the delegation expanded its number of U.S. live lobster suppliers from two to three. Finally, FAS/Taipei plans to coordinate a seafood menu promotion with a five-star hotel in October. The promotion will feature a trade and media tasting of U.S. seafood products importers began purchasing because of their visit to SENA and participation in the Food Export–Northeast Seafood Buyers Mission.

About Food Export USANortheast 

With its extensive programs and educational offerings, Food Export USA–Northeast (Food Export–Northeast) is recognized as the preeminent expert and cost-effective resource for northeast seafood and agricultural suppliers looking to sell their products overseas. Founded in 1973, Food Export–Northeast is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with its 10 member states’ agricultural promotion agencies from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, to facilitate trade between suppliers and worldwide importers and to promote the export of food, agricultural and seafood products from those states. The organization is funded through the Market Access Program (MAP), administered by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Learn more about us and what we do for the Northeast seafood industry here.  Contact us.