Pacific food exporters make splash at Melbourne show


Pacific Island exporters from Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Niue were unanimously positive about their participation at the Fine Food Australia 2014 Expo at the Melbourne Convention Centre last week.<!--more-->

A continuous stream of potential buyers, new business contacts and interested parties were seen thronging the Pacific Islands booth that hosted eight companies at Oceania’s biggest food show between September 15 and 19. This was the fourth year that <b>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I)</b> had helped host Pacific Island exporters at the show.

Several exporters featured this year have participated in the show before, while there were some that were first-timers. Exhibitors at the Pacific Islands booth ranged from coffee and cocoa growers, chocolatiers, honey producers and coconut product makers to manufacturers of packaged foods, bottled water, beverages and even alcoholic drinks.

All exhibitors were unanimous in their view that participation brought excellent dividends, having resulted in several new contacts, even orders and ideas for product development. Many buyers were interested in the stories behind the product, about the places where the produce is grown and about the people growing them. There was considerable interest among visitors about the Pacific Islands region and the fact that it has so much more to offer than tourism.

A sense of bonhomie pervaded the Pacific Islands booth with participants cheerfully working together helping one another while being visited by multiple parties at the same time. Repeat participants said that this year’s outing was the best so far in terms of contacts made, business transacted and potential deals discussed. Some were already speaking in terms of increasing growing and manufacturing capacities to meet potential demand, based on their discussions with potential buyers.

A couple of past years’ participants at the <b>PT&amp;I</b> facilitated Pacific Islands booth have done well enough at the show to warrant going in for their own independent, standalone booths – which indeed is a measure of how successful participating in the show has been for them. Encouragingly, every participant that exhibited this year’s Fine Food Australia show has unhesitatingly expressed willingness to participate in the show that will be held in Sydney next year.

<b>Pacific Periscope</b> will be featuring this year’s participants in subsequent weekly dispatches of the newsletter in the coming weeks.