Success Stories

Each year, hundreds of U.S. suppliers participate in Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast’s programs.  As a result, companies are successful at generating new export sales, establishing new distributorships, expanding their production facilities, and hiring additional employees.  Read these success stories to learn more.

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Buyer Connections at Food Marketing Institute Buyers Mission

by Food Export | Jul 07, 2016
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan and in the heart of North America’s top tart cherry growing region, Graceland Fruit is one of the largest single providers of dried fruit in the world.

Primarily producing dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries and apples for commercial and consumer use, Graceland Fruit’s products are sold in over fifty countries around the world and the company still attends Food Export-Midwest’s activities.

In June 2014, Jason Whitman, Sales and Marketing Manager, attended Food Export Midwest’s Food and Beverage Buyers Mission at the Food Marketing Institute’s Connect Show in Chicago. During this event Whitman had the chance to meet with Buyers from ten different international markets. As a result of these meetings, Graceland anticipates $100k in sales with China and $50k with Southeast Asia.

Whitman met with two buyers from China, one from South America, one from Taiwan and seven from Southeast Asia. As noted Whitman stated, “Food Export never disappoints with the quality of Buyers they bring for their events.” Graceland Fruit, Inc. has participated in Food Exports activities and services since 2008.

Graceland Fruit Inc. was founded in 1973 and has focused on food manufacturing and the tart cherry industry for over forty years. In 2003 Graceland received the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) prestigious Edward R. Madigan U.S. Agricultural Export Excellence Award for its entrepreneurial efforts in foreign markets after winning the National Agri-Marketing Association's Marketer of the Year Award and Michigan Department of Agriculture's Exporter of the Year Award. Graceland was named Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011.

Food Export uses funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) to help America’s small businesses increase their exports of food and agricultural products; as these exports increase, these small businesses are creating jobs and improving the strength and stability of our agricultural economy. Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast are non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with their member state departments of agriculture and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. They offer a wide range of programs and services that help boost America’s agricultural exports.

Story written October 2015 - G F Cooperative Inc. dba Graceland Fruit, Inc. is located in the 1st Congressional District in Michigan

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