About 75% on average of all fresh fruits and vegetables in the world are sold in supermarkets. The share of supermarkets is higher in northern and Western Europe, but lower in southern European countries. The vast majority of these supermarkets belong to retail chains, which buy their products from an increasingly smaller number of importers. Simultaneously, their demands and requirements continue to increase. This makes the job of finding (and maintaining) a buyer difficult.
Here are some tips to help you find your potential buyers:
- Be professional and well prepared.
The fresh fruit and vegetable sector is a dynamic sector full of new opportunities. When you are looking for potential buyers, you need to be well prepared. It is important that you know your strengths and weaknesses, and make sure you meet your potential buyers before contacting them. In addition, doing business requires a proactive attitude. You must be professional and do everything possible to meet your demands. Your buyer will expect good communication skills from you and a prompt response. The buyers expect clear and direct communication 24/7. Buyers also want to know more about your business; an informative and updated website can be of great help since it says a lot about a company.
- Get in touch with local business support organizations.
Commercial support organizations in your country and in particular region of origin can provide you with relevant information about your sector. Some may also give you information about your target market.
Examples of business support organizations are fruit and vegetable export associations or commercial promotion agencies such as FEPEX (Spain), COEXPHAL (Almeria).
- Use online catalogs.
A good source of information about professional importers in Europe is the online exhibitor catalogs. These are published by fairs worldwide. The main trade fairs in the fresh fruits and vegetable sector are Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany, and Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Spain.
These online catalogs have search engines that can be used to search for buyers by product or group of products. They offer relevant information, such as buyer websites and contact details.
- Visit trade shows.
Visit trade fairs such as Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Fruit Attraction in Madrid or other fairs in Paris, London and Warshaw. This will give you the opportunity to have direct contact with the different importers. It is also an excellent opportunity to find background information about your new target market (s) and present your company directly to your potential customers.
This clearly means that you will have costs. However, you will find a large concentration of relevant prospects in one place. This makes the investment worthwhile.
- Use online platforms for information and promotion.
Online platforms are good sources of information about buyers, markets and other companies in the fresh fruits and vegetable sector. This makes them the ideal place to promote your own company.
News sites in the sector are updated daily. They also publish stories about specific companies throughout the sector, producers, exporters, importers and more. Websites like Boustan.af often have search engines and information is divided into subsectors. This provides easy access to relevant information about importers.
- Participate in European support programs.
There are organizations in Europe that help foreign exporters with support programs or databases. In addition to a wide range of market research, the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) in the Netherlands offers export coaching programs that help you access the European market. The Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO) and the German Import Promotion Bureau (IPD) have similar programs and can help you get in touch with European importers.
- Meets the demands and requirements of your buyers.
The number of potential buyers in the fresh fruits and vegetable sector is decreasing. There is a concentration of buyers who supply fresh fruits and vegetables to European supermarkets. To keep them as buyers, you must meet their demands.
- Be careful who you do business with.
Many European companies in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector showed poor results in recent years due to the economic decline (numerous economic crises). There is a reduction in the number of relevant distribution importers, and a growing concentration of large retail chains with strong purchasing power. This concentration of purchasing power, combined with the Russian ban on imports of agricultural products from the European Union (EU), has affected the rest of the supply chain, pressing both importers and foreign suppliers, complicating exports of fruits and vegetables. As a result, it is a good idea to find out how financially solid and reliable a buyer is before doing business with him.
We hope that all these tips help you to continue growing, improving and making things better, when it comes to finding and closing export agreements for fruits and / or vegetables.
Boustan Sabz Company remains the first exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables in Afghanistan. We try to give value to the products we receive from our suppliers around the country. We aspire to be more professional. Browse our website and see where the fruits and vegetables we offer come from, what we sell and export.