What is a Focused Trade Mission?

Find out what a Focused Trade Mission is, how they can benefit your export business, and how to find the right one for your company!

What is a Focused Trade Mission?

We are so glad you asked!

Focused Trade Missions are your chance to travel and explore a market. Your chance to experience total market immersion for your product and brand.

Focused Trade Missions are one of the Market Entry Activities that Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast offer to our suppliers.  It offers the opportunity to travel first hand to an international export market to learn more about the country, culture, and market, while meeting one-on-one with local buyers in your market segment.

There’s simply no better way to understand the local food industry landscape, assess the competition, and learn about the promotion of your products.  It is a phenomenal educational opportunity and chance to make connections.

Best part? You don’t have to do this alone, Food Export is with you every step of the way.  From helping you get your hotel booked to shipping samples of your product for meetings to following up with the buyers you met on the mission.  We are here to help make your Focused Trade Mission experience a success. All Trade Missions are Branded Program eligible!  You can learn more about that on our Branded Program page.

Here are a few of the Focused Trade Missions we had in 2018 to give you an idea of the scope of possibilities when it comes to locations and market segments.

Group Picture Black Rock ROI

   Focused Trade Mission to the UK and Ireland for Healthy and Natural Products

City 2

Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Retail, Food  Service, and Private Label Products 


Focused Trade Mission to the UAE and Kuwait

Plury Quimica - Group Photo 1

Focused Trade Mission to Brazil for Food Ingredients

AUS - Skyline

Focused Trade Mission to Australia and New Zealand

Tokyo - Skyline - Night

Focused Trade Mission to South Korea on Emerging Trends Japan for Specialty 
and Retail Products and

Chengdu Group Pic

Focused Trade Mission to Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenzhen

Learn more about our upcoming Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Private Label, Retail and Food Service Products from our In-Market Representative Rau!

We also have an upcoming Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Feed Ingredients, Raul introduces the mission and gives some details in the video below. 

Sample Schedule

Every Focused Trade Mission is different.  Depending on the country, the market segment, and other factors the schedule can adapt. Below we have outlined some of the typical events/experience you could find during a Mission to give you an idea of what to expect.

Market Briefing

Most missions kick off with a gathering of all participating suppliers, Food Export staff, Activity Coordinators, In-Market Representatives, and even local FAS posts for a Market Briefing.  A Market Briefing allows participating suppliers who may not be familiar with the market the chance to hear first-hand from experts about the market, everything from popular products, to advantages/challenges of exporting to that market, and more. 

It is a unique opportunity to expand your export education quickly, about a market that you are actually sitting in.

Market Briefing 9 

Cooperator Meeting

Retail Tour

Generally the Market Briefing is followed by a Retail Tour.  This is a chance for the U.S. suppliers to tour local stores to familiarize themselves with the local food and grocery industry.  By browsing the aisles of stores from local mom and pop’s to big chain grocery stores, suppliers are able to see how their own products could fit in on the shelves.  Are there similar products to yours already prominent in the market?  Are there other “Made in the USA” products, if so how do they compare look and price wise?

Retail tours are one of the most valuable opportunities in a foreign market, because until you experience it first-hand there is only so much understanding you can have of a market half way around the world.

Retail Tour 3

Retail Tour 2

One-on-one Meetings

If you’ve ever participated in one of our U.S. Buyers Missions then you will understand the value of our 20 min rotating one-on-one meetings.   It’s the bread and butter of a Food Export Focused Trade Mission.  You get the opportunity to meet with qualified local buyers who are interested in bringing your U.S. products to their market.  These buyers typically have established relationships with our In-Market Representatives and are pre-screened and prepared for their meetings with you.

Buyer Meetings 10

Buyer Meetings - Rastelli Global LLC

Trade Reception/Showcase 

For some missions we will organize a Trade Reception where we invite local buyers, importers, and industry professionals to meet and talk in a relaxed setting.  We prominently display the U.S. products from suppliers on tables for sampling and to spark conversations. This offers a more relaxed atmosphere for conversation and building relationships, which is vitally important in many cultures around the world when conducting business.


Trade Reception 1

Trade Shows

Some of our missions are organized around a local trade show in the market.  This allows a great opportunity for our U.S. suppliers to meet face to face on a trade show floor with local buyers, importers, distributors, and
industry professionals.

Show Floor 4  

AUS - Booth

In-Market Representative (IMR’S)

Throughout the trip you will also get the opportunity to get to know the specific Food Export In-Market Representative that is assigned to that country. These reps are our feet on the ground with expert knowledge of the market, trends, and consumer base.  They are a wealth of information, and we have had partnerships with some of our reps for 20+ years. 

This offers a great opportunity to experience the market with them first hand, and be able to get real time answers to your questions

IMR - Robin Wang  


Success Stories

We know that investing the time and money to leave the office and travel to an international market is a big decisionBut we also know that there is absolutely no better way to learn about potential export opportunities than visiting the markets yourself.

Below we have included a few Success Stories that come directly from a Focused Trade Mission. 

Find out how those who have gone before you have turned the trip into a success.

Pop Daddy Pops Into Canadian Export Market

SS - Pop Daddy Popcorn

Participated in: Focused Trade Mission to Toronto for Specialty and Natural Products
Results: 1st Time Export Sale to Canadian Market
Quote: “The [Focused] Toronto Trade Mission’s store visits really helped me to better understand the Canadian market and also helped me to learn which of my items had the best opportunity to succeed in the market,” said Mark Sarafa, President of Pop Daddy Popcorn.

Focused Trade Mission to Mexico Initiated Partnerships & Export Sales for New York Company

SS - Agri Dairy Products

Participated in: Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Food Ingredients
Results: Export sales of 800+ tons to 4 different Mexican buyers
Quote: According to Ana Paula De Luca Almeida, Agri-Dairy Products’ International Sales Director, “after [Agri-Dairy Products Inc.] participated on the trade mission, we sold more than 800 tons of NonFat Dry Milk Powder to Mexico to 4 different customers and met many other customers at the Trade Mission and are working with them to increase sales in this market”.

Illinois Supplier Increases Exports to Saudi Arabia

SS - FoodSource

Participated in: Focused Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia for Retail and Food Service Products
Results: Export sales to Saudi Arabia of over $1,500,000

Export Connections are Established at Focused Trade Mission

SS - Bella Lucia

Participated in: Focused Trade Mission to Toronto for Specialty and Natural Products
Results: Made close connections with Canadian buyers and are actively communicating with buyer about expanding exports to the market
Quote: According to Maryann Cook, President of Bella Lucia, “Participating in the Food Export Trade Mission was very successful due to all the connections, including distributors, brokers, and store owners.” She received great feedback from being able participate in the onsight visits to meet store owners because it gave her a real picture of the market. Also, she received valuable information regarding protocol and regulation from Evan Mangino, Agricultural Attache for USDA FAS Canada. 

As you can see from these Success Stories, companies that participate in Focused Trade Missions see results!

2019 Focused Trade Missions

We had 11 more Focused Trade Missions scheduled throughout the 2019 Program Year.  Take a look below to see which one you might be interested in joining, and just click the blue link to find out more information and how to register.

Focused Trade Mission to Taiwan
FTM - Taiwan

 Focused Trade Mission to Canada for Specialty and Natural Products

FTM - Canada

Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Feed Ingredients

FTM - Mexico Feed

Focused Trade Mission to Mexico for Private Label, Food Service, and Retail Products

FTM - Mexico Retail

Focused Trade Mission to China for Retail Products

FTM - China

Focused Trade Mission to Hong Kong for Retail Products

FTM - Hong Kong

Focused Trade Mission to Chile

FTM - Chile

Focused Trade Mission to Peru

FTM - Peru

Focused Trade Mission to Panama

FTM - Panama

Focused Trade Mission to Korea for New Lifestyle US Food Products    

FTM - Korea

Focused Trade Mission to Dubai

FTM - Dubai

Want to discuss the possibility of attending one of our 2019 Focused Trade Missions?  Just give your Liaison a call!

Liaison Info