Opportunities in food and beverages

CCBC promotes virtual business round in a positive moment of commercial exchange between Brazil and Canada

 By Sérgio Siscaro

An important initiative of Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC) has brought even closer companies from the two countries, which operate in the food and beverage segment. Virtual Business Round was organized on November 23-24: Food and Beverage, whose purpose was to allow Brazilian producers obtaining access to Canadian distributors, importers, wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers.

The event was attended by 12 Brazilian companies and 13 Canadian buyers, especially major distributors such as Unfi, Tree of Life, and Canadawide.

With individual meetings lasting 20 to 25 minutes each, the event allowed participants to experience a close experience to a face-to-face business round – paving the way for future contacts among companies and, potentially, for business and partnerships. In addition, the online format has allowed a greater participation of suppliers from different regions of Brazil, thus contributing to the exposure to Canadians of the diversity of products that the country offers.

Each Brazilian supplier had an agenda containing five to eight meetings with potential Canadian buyers, held through the Zoom platform. CCBC played an active role in the process of selecting participants and in the process of setting the meeting agenda, so as to maximize the possibilities of generating business. Brazilian companies that supply fruit, vegetable and poultry products, spices, bakery and confectionary, ingredients in general, cereals, coffee, teas, among others, were selected.

The success of this first edition should lead CCBC to repeat the virtual event for food and beverages in 2021. The companies that could not participate of the event may follow the social networks and the Chamber’s website with information on upcoming initiatives.

Productive experience

The organization of the Business Round and the time allocated for each meeting between companies from Brazil and Canada were positive aspects of the CCBC initiative. The assessment is by the president and CEO of Logistics International Associates (LIA), Marcelo Augusto de Felippes. “In events like this, it is important to determine the next steps of the conversations, creating a trail between the companies. CCBC sent an e-mail to the participants of each meeting with the purpose of materializing the contact. This is important to establish a relationship network”, he states.

The businessman stresses that meetings of this nature allow Brazilian companies to learn how to deal with other corporate cultures. “Each country has a distinct way of doing business. Canadians are more rigorous and disciplined, which is not always the case on the Brazilian side”, he ponders.

The experience of participating in a business round held in a virtual environment was also positive for Felippes: “Personal contact is always more productive. But remote meetings are much more suitable from a cost-benefit point of view”.

Interchange on the rise

The event marked a particularly positive moment for commercial exchange between the two countries. Over the first half of 2020, the sum of exports and imports reached US$ (FOB) 2.79 billion – 9.8% higher than the same period in 2019. Brazil’s sales to Canada reached US$ (FOB) 1.8 billion – 18% more than the amount accounted from January to June of 2019.

Regarding food and beverages, several items exported by Brazil stood out between one semester and another – especially the segment of sugars and confectionery products, which represented US$ (FOB) 92 million, an increase of 238%. Cocoa (1.065%), meat (75%) and instant coffee (17%) sales have also increased, among other items.

According to the survey Quick Market Facts: Food and Beverages in Canada, developed by CCBC, current food and beverage consumption trends in Canada include access to exotic flavors, plant-based diets and technologies focused on vegetables and raw foods, consumption of “root to leaf” products, taking advantage of all foods, non-traditional superfoods such as nut oil, fruits and mushrooms, proteins that can be consumed during other activities, and lightly carbonated and flavored beverages.