The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries - CBI, has published a list of tips for finding buyers of fresh fruits and vegetables in the European market, including the following:
1. Be professional and prepared. The European fresh fruit and vegetable sector is dynamic and full of opportunities and a proactive and professional attitude is needed to meet the requirements. In addition, the buyer will expect good communication skills and timely responses. In fact, they expect direct and clear communication 24/7. Having an informative website so that they know more about your business will be helpful.
2. Contact local business support organizations. Business support organisations in your home country can provide relevant information about your sector. Some may also give you information about your target market in Europe. Examples of such agencies are PromPerú, ASEPEX, ProEcuador, ProColombia, among others.
3. Use online catalogs. A good source of information about professional importers in Europe are online catalogs. The main trade fairs for the fresh fruit and vegetable sector are Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany, and Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Spain.
4. Visit trade fairs. Especially Fruit Logistica in Berlin and Fruit Attraction in Madrid, or others in Paris, London and Warsaw. This will give you the opportunity to get in direct contact with several importers.
5. Use online platforms for information and promotion. These are good sources of information about buyers in Europe as well as the market. These include Freshplaza.com, Organic-bio.com, Rungismarket.com, Mercamadrid.es, Mercabarna.es, among others.
6. Participate in European support programmes. There are organisations in Europe that help exporters from other parts of the world with programmes and databases.
7. Meet buyers' demands and requirements. The number of potential buyers in the European fresh fruit and vegetable sector is declining. There is a concentration of buyers supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to European supermarkets. To keep them as buyers, you need to meet their requirements.
8. Be careful who you do business with. Many European companies in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector have had poor results in recent years due to the economic downturn (numerous economic crises). There is a reduction in the number of relevant importer-distributors and an increasing concentration of large retail chains with great buying power.
As a result, it is a good idea to find out how financially sound a buyer is before doing business with him.