Ohio hosts Midwest Buyers Mission for food export businesses

Ohio food and agricultural companies recently met with international buyers at this year’s Midwest Buyers Mission at the Embassy Suites Airport hotel in Columbus.

The Midwest Buyers Mission is part of an initiative to help Ohio’s small- and medium-sized businesses grow through export sales. This year’s event, which took place July 27, was hosted by the Export Association of the Midwest USA and the Ohio Department of Development’s Global Markets Division.

“Events like the Midwest Buyers Mission allow small companies to make international sales with low starting costs, removing some of the biggest roadblocks to exporting,” says Scott Kuehn, director of the Global Markets Division. “Ohio benefits from being able to offer food companies access to the customized programs and services Ohio has to offer as a Food Export Association member state.”

Buyers (importers and retailers) expressed interest in a variety of product categories, including ethnic foods, organic foods, specialty/gourmet foods, and pet food.

Potential exporters met with buyers from 20 countries: Algeria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

Not only do buyer missions allow companies to build their exports, but they also give them an opportunity to show products and gain international business feedback through networking and business meetings− without the hassle of having to exhibit at international tradeshows or travel overseas.

Additionally, food companies have access to a variety of Food Export Association events, like export education seminars and focused trade missions.

Ohio has the opportunity to host international food buyer missions on a biannual basis. In 2009, Ohio companies reported nearly $500,000 in sales made at the buyer mission.

Food and agricultural companies interested in more information about export assistance opportunities can email Global Agriculture Program Manager Tim Sword at Tim.Sword@development.ohio.gov.

For more information about the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, visit FoodExport.org.

Photo by michaelphale via Flickr.