As in previous years, the Saint-Charles Export member companies took part in the welcoming of international buyers with the support of the Region of Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée.
This year’s buyers came from the Netherlands, Hungary, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Romania.
Thus, 7 buyers from 6 different companies participated in this “mission of discovery” of the assets of the Saint-Charles hub and of the Region of Occitanie in terms of fresh fruit & vegetable production, marketing, transportation and the supply chain.
Our guests emanated from fairly diverse company profiles and were a representative sample of the branch as a whole. From the supermarkets and hypermarkets sector we welcomed two buyers from CARREFOUR Romania and another from FOZZY GROUP, Ukraine’s leading food distributor.
On the import side, GLOBAL FRESH TRADE, a Dutch company, and TEKOO RT from the Czech Republic were also part of the delegation. Last but not least, two major wholesalers, RUNGIS B.V. from the Netherlands and the Hungarian firm ZABOSFA KERTESZ completed the array of businesses keen to become familiar and exchange with those syndicate members who had signed up to greet them.
The meetings took place on the member companies’ premises, at loading/unloading bays, in air-conditioned warehouses, in salerooms, at packaging stations and shipment depots, and in orchards and greenhouses. Field visits that helped the international buyers to gain deeper insight into the work involved, the quality of the products and the expertise of the companies visited.
Even though some of them already work with Saint Charles International, they unanimously admitted at the end of their visit that they had not been familiar with the full extent of our business.
Their objective was therefore clear: to learn more about regional products sold by the producers and cooperatives of the region, as well as the large range of fruit, vegetables and citrus fruits produced by the various associates of Saint Charles International.
While these buyers showed interest in all varieties of fruit and vegetables, the discussions nevertheless focussed on potatoes, onions, citrus fruits, stone fruits, walnuts, mushrooms, apples, pears, berries, tomatoes, red fruits, kiwis, grapes, peppers, lettuces, courgettes, aubergines, broccoli, cucumbers, garlic, melons, persimmons, pomegranates and dates. They were interested in all market segments, although one buyer dealt more specifically in top-quality produce destined for the “high-end” market.
Some also showed special interest in organically-grown products available in Occitanie, including those dispatched from the Saint-Charles hub.
The group were especially surprised by the strong presence of companies capable of proposing a wide range of products in terms of both quality and period. Naturally, they were also interested in the member companies’ logistical expertise and capacity to bulk full or mixed pallets to process consignments containing different products, and even from different sources.
This pleased our committed buyers, who, despite expressing clear wishes before their arrival, were finally seduced by products that were not part of their original choice. And that is how to grow a business…