Export-oriented British Columbia was in full force last month at Fruit Logistica, the world’s largest fresh produce exposition in Berlin, Germany. More than 70,000 attendees visited from 130 countries.
There were 17 Canadian exhibitors of which eight were from British Columbia. They included: B.C. Blueberry Council, B.C. Cherry Association, B.C. Tree Fruits, Coastal Fruit Company, Government of B.C., The Oppenheimer Group, Summerland Varieties Corp., Sutherland S.A. Produce.
There’s an advantage in having some critical mass at such a large event says Nick Ibuki, operations manager, Summerland Varieties Corporation. “The synergy of being there with a number of other associated B.C. businesses was a definite asset. When a prospective client comes in, we are able to directly introduce them to other B.C. partners.”
Summerland Varieties Corporation showcased Canadian Ambrosia apples, handing out hundreds of Ambrosia tote shopping bags. They are walking billboard banners seen throughout the event.
“When I was travelling home and saw them being used prominently at the Frankfurt airport by fellow passengers, I knew we had achieved success with them,” says Ibuki.
The business mood in Europe is good, says Ibuki. “In terms of what Summerland does, we always have to be cautious of the impact on our Canadian growers. We work in partnership with groups in other countries around the world so that we have a network to help us protect the varieties globally.”
For the B.C. Blueberry Council, prospects were also good at Fruit Logistica.
“The blueberry market is growing globally and Canada has established expertise and infrastructure to meet the demands of the EU market,” says Debbie Etsell, executive director. “There is room for growth in the EU market. Demand is for frozen, juice and dried blueberries right now. When the CETA agreement is ratified, this might change as fresh product will become more economical to ship.”