How to Establish Your Brand in Food Importing and Exporting!

Food Importing and Exporting
Unchaining Change Leadership

Nations are dropping international trade barriers, making global trade and food importing and exporting more accessible, much faster and progressive. The world is now more connected, courtesy of better transport and communication infrastructure. More business people shift their focus to the food commodity import and export.

Advancements in Technology facilitated the development of more efficient solutions to ease transactions around the globe. It played a huge role in creating an enabling environment for international trade.

According to research, food products like coffee, sugar, wheat and corn are among the top 10 traded commodities globally. The increase in global population, tourism and global movement created the highest demand for food products. It is now common to find a restaurant that offers your local cuisine in different cities worldwide.

How do you establish your brand in the highly competitive food importing and exporting marketplace?

Business Registration and Licensing

Register your business in the location where you wish to set up your headquarters. Pick the most convenient location, both in terms of cost and logistics. Instruct your lawyer to get all required legal licenses and permits to operate in the targeted market beforehand. Establish yourself among your competitors by following the import/export guidelines below.

Guide For Importing food Products

Market Research and Competitor Analysis

Research on the potential and marketability of the food products you wish to import, and learn about the step-by-step process of importing food products in your country. Identify which food products to import by finding the best-selling competitor products in your domestic marketplace. It will help find out the most profitable foodstuffs to import. Also, decide whether to import products with brand-name, which are usually expensive, or low price products but in high volume. For low-priced products, focus on low-cost food producers like Brazil, China and India.

Analysing competition helps to;

  • Price your food products competitively to compete in the domestic food market.
  • Identify where your competitors are going wrong. It helps identify selling points that will differentiate the brand from other businesses and create a niche for your brand.

Vendor Sourcing

It entails finding the right supplier. Pitch to foreign manufacturers and suppliers by outlining the various opportunities in your targeted local market. Explain your route-to-market approach and distribution channels and why your establishment is the best brand ambassador. Also, suggest a favourable package for the partnership. Overseas manufacturers require partners who can handle import logistics with little cost to them.

Distribution Network

Find customers or distributors networks that will sell the foodstuffs. You can generate channel partnerships with local organisations or internally create distribution structures that can sustain the networks. Local organisations can help cut costs on operationalisation, but your creation promotes loyalty and internal monitoring and evaluation.

Establish an efficient distribution network with sales and marketing representatives to sell directly to customers, retail and businesses such as restaurants and food mats. Most foreign manufacturers will be willing to support you with promotional material in addition to your branding.

Link these channels with reliable logistics networks. If you are outsourcing or using internal means, let it cover the whole network and manage the experience.


It is the most challenging aspect of the whole process. Transporting foodstuffs need special containers that prevent them from going bad. Considering the humidity and distance of travel, the foodstuffs must retain their freshness. It is costly, delicate, and requires attention.

Proper organisation and coordination systems should be seamless to manage the logistics processes at minimal costs, especially in customs. Lower production and distribution costs mean affordable pricing, a factor that will make your brand popular.

Guide For Exporting Food Products

A food export business requires similar starting steps as businesses who do import. The following are essential business tips to make the brand more responsive and profitable.

Overseas Market Analysis

To cut a niche for the brand in the targeted overseas market, evaluate the best potential markets for the local foodstuffs. Understanding the product quality, consumption pattern and language barrier will affect your foodstuffs.

Ensure the food quality is at par, or better, compared to the competition. Use translators to eliminate language barriers. Furthermore, find out the perception of your products to the foreign market and their analysis. All this information will help in estimating the volume, quality and channels that will grow business prospects.

Supply and Distribution Channels

Produce some of the foodstuffs and outsource the rest based on demand. Most brands in the food industry export their product. Build reliable partnerships will local producers to sustain the foodstuff export business. Pitch directly to producers and processors. Preferably, book a physical appointment. Show the business potential for the overseas markets and demonstrate how your brand is best suited to sell their foodstuffs.

Hire a global end-to-end freight forwarding partner to serve as a transport agent and move your cargo. They should have the capacity to collect the produce from processing stores into the shipping containers to the customer’s warehouse abroad. The fewer the suppliers, the easier it is to manage the experience.

Brand Visibility and Social Responsibility

It is important to be visible and accessible to your customers. A website, social media pages and a dedicated customer support line improve visibility online and offline. Online visibility will help collect feedback from customers around the globe. The best brands in the world get leads by managing their online presence.

Demonstrate to the customers that the brand cares for their needs, not just generating profits. To make the brand appealing, position it as a responsible stakeholder by engaging in Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). Consider a social project that touches on livelihoods and resilience since food is a basic need.

Risk Management

Risks are part of any business. It may not fully compensate the losses incurred but will normalise operations. Insure your business against logistical eventualities and other on-transit circumstances. There are available insurance solutions to cover employees, cargo and export credit risks.

Combining the above information and business acumen acts as an excellent manual for a food import/export business. The international marketplace is increasingly becoming competitive, thanks to technological advancement. Payment solutions such as e-wallet and mobile payments have made trade easy by enabling real-time transactions worldwide. Successful brand owners should leverage all these opportunities to stay ahead of the pack.

COVID 19 has also had both negative and positive effects on the global food importers and exporters. Food is an essential service throughout the world, despite the pandemic limitations. Now, more than ever, people require food to sustain them through the lockdowns. As the global economies slowly take shape post coronavirus, food importing and exporting opportunities will grow since production capacities have significantly gone down.

Food Importing and Exporting References

How to Start an Imports/Exports Business – Nerd Wallet

Most Traded Commodities – Economics Help

Starting and Operating an Import/Export Business – Patsula Media

Three Types of Insurance You Need for Your Import/Export Business – Entrepreneur

Food importing and exporting article and permission to publish here provided by Emma Wilson. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on April 26, 2021.

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