IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING
Heading to Asia to promote your F&B products to potential buyers? Nada Young shares advice on how to get better results from your next market visit.
Heading to Asia to sell your F&B products? Nada Young shares advice on how to get better results.
With one of Asia’s biggest food and beverage expos, HOFEX 2015, staged in Hong Kong from 6 to 9 May, many New Zealand exporters will have had a busy month of market visits to the region.
Virtually everyone involved in the international F&B trade in Asia attends HOFEX every two years. Amidst the teeming throngs, importers and exporters try to cram in meetings with their trade partners, rapidly working through the list of people to see while everyone is under one roof. Importers from around Asia also attend HOFEX to scope out new product sourcing opportunities, and to gauge current marketplace trends.
This face time between international contacts is often more symbolic than productive. It’s extremely difficult to have a serious conversation at a show like HOFEX. You must raise your voice to be heard above the din of the crowd while balanced on an uncomfortable stool in the midst of your trade partner’s busy expo booth.
To get more than a perfunctory result out of international travel and time away from home, crafting a schedule that also includes meetings with trade partners away from the chaos of the show is a good start. Utilising the inexpensive and convenient flights within the region to meet trade partners on their home turf is even more effective.
Planning for multi-country trips to Asia is a time consuming exercise. Schedule clashes, public holidays and major market disruptions, such as the recent GST implementation in Malaysia that has businesses frantic or the tense national elections that gripped Indonesia last year, add a layer of complexity not common in the Western world.
A sensible schedule will allow sufficient time in each market to conduct business,