Monthly Event Recap – Spring 2023

Spring 2023 was a busy time for Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast. Check out all the events we hosted and attended in our recap blog!

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast’s mission has always been to help U.S. companies increase their export sales. One of the main ways we do that is by attending and hosting events around the globe.  

In this blog we highlight everywhere we went and everything we did during the spring of 2023! 


Natural Products Buyers Mission at Natural Products Expo West
Anaheim, CA
March 6 – 11

Food Export hosted the annual Natural Products Buyers Mission in partnership with the Organic Trade Association (OTA) at Natural Products Expo West.

We had 32 U.S. suppliers and 22 international buyers participate in the event. The buyers came from all over the world including Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Food Show Plus! at FOODEX Japan
Tokyo, Japan
March 7 – 10

Food Export offered Food Show PLUS! Services at FOODEX Japan 2023. This year, the show took place in Tokyo Big Sight, the largest international exhibition center in the country. FOODEX Japan is the largest annual food and beverage trade show in Asia, bringing together over 2,500 food and beverage companies from more than 60 countries. This year we had 6 U.S. suppliers participating at the show.

Japan is the top Asian market and the fourth-largest global market for U.S. oriented food products. The show provided an opportunity to develop new business relationships and strengthen existing ones.

Seafood Buyers Mission at Seafood Expo North America
Boston, MA
March 9 – 11

Food Export – Northeast headed back to Boston this year for the annual Seafood Buyers Mission and the Seafood Expo North America trade show! This is one of the biggest events of the year for our Seafood Program and a great opportunity for our Northeast companies to meet with international buyers. This year we had 19 U.S. suppliers and 25 international buyers attending the mission.

The day before the show we hosted an Educational Day with Maine lobsterman Brian Rapp. Our international buyers participated in a demonstration of Northeast seafood and learned about sustainability practices in the industry, the diversity of fishery products, and the many culinary applications of seafood products.

Several of our In-Market Representatives (IMRs) also joined us in Boston and U.S. suppliers had a chance to have one-on-one meetings with them on the show floor, giving suppliers the chance to learn more about specific international markets. 

State Regional Trade Group Meeting
Arlington, VA
March 15 -16

Food Export attended the State Regional trade Group meeting in Arlington, Virginia to discuss upcoming events, the Branded Program, strategic planning, fund utilization, the Farm Bill, and more. Our Executive Director, Deputy Directors and Managers attended this year’s meeting and also had the chance to connect with NASDA, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), SUSTA, and WUSATA representatives who were also in attendance.

ATM to Panama, Dominican Republic, and Central America
Panama City, Panama
March 19 – 23

With Panama as a hub for economic development in the Central America region, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Ag Trade Mission to Panama provides an exciting opportunity to expand the presence of U.S. exports abroad. This year, our Northeast Branded Program Manager, Howard Gordon, participated in the first Ag Trade Mission of the year, which was led by USDA Under Secretary Alexis Taylor.

During the mission, FAS staff and regional experts provided marketing briefings and arranged meetings for U.S. agribusinesses with potential buyers from Panama, Central America, and the Dominican Republic.

Pet Food Buyers Mission at Global Pet Expo
Orlando, FL
March 20 – 24

Food Export was back in Orlando for the Global Pet Expo where we hosted the Pet Food Buyers Mission in partnership with the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This year we had 17 U.S. suppliers participating in the mission to meet with 14 international buyers. We also had a booth on the show floor with information on how companies could utilize our programs and services to help grow their international export sales. 

Pet food trends are developing as quickly as those of their human counterparts, both in the national and at the global level. These trends include alternative proteins, freeze-dried foods, eco-friendly snacks, and human-grade sources. Food Export’s years-long partnership with the APPA enables us to fulfill the growing demand for premium pet supplies and assist US manufacturers looking to expand their export efforts.

Food and Beverages Buyers Mission at SIAL America
Las Vegas, NV
March 27 – 31

At the end of the month, our Liaisons Deb Ingravallo and Paul Sorenson traveled to Las Vegas for the SIAL America show. We partnered with NASDA and hosted a Food and Beverage Buyers Mission in conjunction with the show. We had 10 U.S. suppliers and 16 international suppliers that participated in the event coming from Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Taiwan.


Marketing Directors Meeting
Chicago, IL
April 12-13

This month we held our annual Marketing Directors Meeting for Midwest State Members in Chicago at the Drake Hotel. The event brings together the state marketing staff from our 13 member states, our domestic contractor staff, representatives from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Food Export staff members.

The meeting is designed to provide developments on the results from previous years, program updates, and an opportunity to discuss future events and programs. This year it featured guest presentations from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, as well as Food Export – Midwest staff presentations. The Chicago-born company Garrett Popcorn also joined us to talk about their export successes after utilizing our programs and services. This was a great opportunity for all our Midwest state members to network, learn, and plan together for the upcoming year.

Program Committee Meeting
Philadelphia, PA
April 17-19

The following week we continued our annual gathering with the Program Committee Meeting for Northeast State Members in Philadelphia at the Westin Hotel. Once again, the event featured guest presentations from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Food Export – Northeast staff. The Pennsylvania snack company Herr Foods Inc. also attended and discussed their export successes after participating in Food Export’s programs. 

We feel very excited after two weeks of meetings with our state members and look forward to October, when we can have all of them together in one place for the Fall Member State Meeting!

ATM to the Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 17 – 20

According to the FAS, agribusiness producers, exporters, and growers in the United States may find the Netherlands to be a gateway to Europe. This mission is an opportunity to learn about exporting in this mature market which continues to grow. This year, our Midwest Branded Program Manager, Molly Burns, attended the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Agricultural Trade Mission to the Netherlands. Participants learned first-hand about the potential for U.S food and agriculture in the Dutch, Scandinavian, and surrounding markets. During the mission, they were also given the opportunity to observe U.S. products in the retail sector and sample U.S. ingredients in popular regional dishes.

Seafood Tradeshow at Expo Global
Barcelona, Spain
April 25 – 27

The 2023 Seafood Expo Global exceed all expectations with over 2,000 exhibiting companies and hosting more than 33,000 seafood professionals throughout its three-day run in Barcelona, an increase of 24 percent from last year.

We had 9 U.S. suppliers from the Northeast that travelled to Spain for the show and had a booth in our pavilion. Several members of our staff, State Members and our Seafood In-Market Representatives joined us in Spain as well.


Pet Food Buyers Mission at Pet Food Forum
Kansas City, MO
April 29 – May 4

The 2023 Petfood Forum took place the first week of May in Kansas City, Missouri. Food Export hosted a Pet Food Ingredients Buyers Mission alongside the show, where we introduced 13 U.S. pet food ingredients suppliers to international buyers. This year we had buyers from Chile, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Food Show PLUS! at SIAL Canada
Toronto, Canada
May 9-11

SIAL Canada is the largest food innovation trade show in North America, bringing together more than 1,000 local and international exhibitors and over 20,000 visitors. It is the meeting point for retail, food service, food processing industries, and international markets. Food Export attended this year with our In-Market Representative to help support our Food Show PLUS! participants.

Canada is a very popular market for many U.S. products for a variety of reasons including:

  • Close geographic proximity to the U.S. which reduces transportation costs.
  • U.S. food products are generally aligned with Canadian tastes and are familiar to Canadian consumers.
  • Duty-free treatment for over 98% of U.S. products thanks to the USMCA trade agreement.
  • Strong demand among Canadian consumers for natural, organic, gourmet, and specialty food products.

Food Service Buyers Mission & Beer, Wine, and Spirits Buyers Mission at the National Restaurant Association Show
Chicago, IL
May 18 – 24

It’s trade show season in Chicago! Food Export hosted the annual Food Service Buyers Mission in partnership with NASDA and the annual Beer, Wine, and Spirits Buyers Mission at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) trade show.

Between the two events we had over thirty suppliers and over 20 international buyers that participated in one-on-one meetings to forge new business relationships and generating export sales.

Sweets and Snacks Buyers Mission at the Sweets & Snacks Expo  
Chicago, IL
May 20 – 25

We closed out May with the Sweets and Snack Buyers Mission in partnership with the National Confectioners Association (NCA) at their 2023 Sweets & Snacks Expo. This expo is the leading showcase for innovation in the confectionary and snack industries with more than 210,000 square feet of sweet, salty, and sour products. This year it hosted more than 800 exhibitors — 250 of which were new! The 2023 expo also marked the final time the show will take place at McCormick Place in Chicago before moving to new host cities.

Having this mission immediately after the National Restaurant Show helps suppliers and buyers maximize their time and the breadth of their business connections. For this event we had suppliers from all over the world including Australia, Canada, China, Honduras, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, and the UK.