News

18-20.11.2020

ATLANTICFOOEXPORT Virtual Expo - A taste of trade without travel

This initiative brings together food producers, importers, agencies and policy makers for a 3-day online event

The Virtual Expo marks the conclusion of Atlantic Food Export, a 3 year European project supporting trade and cooperation for food producers in the Atlantic region. The agenda combines short conference sessions with business-to-business meetings in which artisan food and drink producers can talk directly to importers and distributors. A key focus for the agenda is to look at how smaller, quality-focused food and drinks producers can achieve results through collaborative export models.

The event runs from November 18-20 and participation is free.

Atlantic Food Export (AFE) was launched in 2017 to help small food producers cooperate to overcome the barriers that they face in selling to other parts of Europe. The project is co-funded by the EU under the Atlantic Area Interreg programme and partner organisations from 7 European regions, including Cork City Council. In its first two years AFE brought food producers together to learn about selling into each other’s home markets (France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The companies got to know one another and formed cooperative export groups to jointly plan trade fairs and trade missions.

As with so many other areas, COVID-19 forced an urgent rethink of the project’s delivery, if not of its direction or objectives. Since March, as one trade fair after another was cancelled and overseas travel was no longer possible, the project team stayed on course by starting to plan alternative online ways of helping their local food companies develop new export markets. The project team have delivered training in e-commerce, zoom sales pitching and choosing the right web platform. The export groups have journeyed through cyberspace for virtual missions to London, Denmark and Sweden with online campaigns and meetings.

“There’s no evidence that the pandemic has led to any noticeable fall off in buying by consumers, in fact many are looking for tasty new ways to treat themselves at home,” says Ivan McCutcheon of LEO Cork City who is managing the Cork element of the project, “But it is certainly proving difficult for new food and drink products to get new business listings at the moment. Many trade buyers are only thinking about how to reinforce/guarantee their tried and trusted supply chains and are slow to try something new right now. Our project provides the basis of a solution by combining multiple producer offers as a package and leveraging coordinated inputs, such as marketing research, from their respective support agencies”.

The upcoming Virtual Expo will feature open conference sessions over 3 consecutive mornings that bring together the learnings from the project and share insights into the changed landscape of selling food in Europe. This will include focusses on how to take advantage of new e-commerce marketplace platforms and  how to trade without travel. The afternoons are reserved for one-to-one meetings between producers and buyers.

To register visit atlanticfoodexport.eu

Source: AtlanticFoodExport project

Published on: 2020-11-18


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