5 TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING RELIABLE FRESH PRODUCE SUPPLIER
1. Use specialized fresh produce exporters
As parts of importation procedures, sensitive areas such as logistics,required documentation, or customs and regulations in each destination cannot be underestimated as such concern surely impact the success of fresh produce importation. Most fresh produce importers tend to pay close attention to produce quality or customized packing or timely transportation and tend to overlook logistics-related issues or customs regulations.
It certainly comes in handy when you as a European fresh produce importer encounters common importation concerns such as logistics, carriers, regulations or other issues and you can rely on the consultation of your experienced exporter as they could save your headache as you do not have to worry about missing documentations that hold back your shipment at the customs or less worry about your produce’s temperature control due to many flight transits.
Imagine how peaceful it will become as you know your experienced exporter is able to handle and tackle those issues for you along with providing proper solutions without your introduction of particular concerns. As they have done it for years, an experienced exporter knows on top of their heads about carrier alternatives where they accept 500 kg of durian, fresh items that you placed extra order for the readiness of next week holiday’s traffic.
That is the reason why considering an experienced and reliable fresh produce exporter is crucial for your long-term fresh produce business success whether you are retailers or distributors. A reliable fresh produce exporter keeps their eyes closed on your shipments and aware the critical area(s) that require extra care in order to make sure your fresh produce arrive safely, punctually, and, of course, with exceptional quality.
2. Attend specialized fresh produce events
Fresh produce international events are events where fresh produce potential buyers, importers, retailers and distributors meet fresh produce exhibitors, producers, exporters all over the world. It is a great opportunity that buyers can learn more and make decision about their potential counterparts. For European market, two key fresh produce events are Fruit Logistica which is held yearly in Berlin, Germany and Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Spain. For 2019, Fruit Attraction will take place on 22 to 24 October.
3. Ask for certifications
As we are aware about the maturity conditions of European market that are driven by regulations and certifications, European buyers and consumers expect more when choosing fresh produce. Their standards of food safety and sanitation are relatively high. European chains tend to look for reliable fresh suppliers with international certification standard(s).
As a result, they are very likely to request for certification(s). Some certifications are perceived as standard requirements. GLOBAL G.A.P. certified is the most commonly asked. Frequently, certifications and lab analysis gain as much attention as the produce itself.
Different markets, countries of destinations and market channels require different certifications. Therefore, asking for certified food safety systems is another critical aspect to find out with your potential exporter. Apart from GLOBAL G.A.P., other food safety management certification that you may ask from potential exporters are BRC (British Retail Consortium), IFS (International Food Standard), FSSC22000 (Food Safety System Certification), SQF (Safe Quality Food Programme).
4. Find out about your destination’s customs regulations
As an importer, it is common that importer understand his or her destination’s customs regulations. However, it is also recommend to inquire your exporter about the compliance of your country of destination as you get some idea about whether an exporter that you are going to start working with experience the shipment into your destination or not.
5. Search for Suppliers with Contracted Farms
When searching for potential fresh produce exporters, exporters that have contracted farm networks are one of the key criteria importers should take into consideration. Contracted growers can bring significant advantages for buyers as they enable buyers to have consistent supply of raw materials. This will allow less concerns to buyers. When productivity are not as expected, it is not too complicated for exporters with a number of contracted growers to find substitution , alternative farms in their hands to replace the missing volumes. In addition, the quality and safety standards of product conformation are quite stable as there are established standard agricultural procedures that farmers must adhere. This will save overhead costs, which directly affects to price per carton.
All in all, to the benefits of buyers, contracted farms allow buyers,distributors, retailers, and of course, importers, to have consistent volume, solid quality, size uniformity as well as standard conformation.
Other important aspects importers should take into consideration when making decision of fresh produce suppliers include after service, long-term business partnership, prompt communication and exporters that can supply many produce varieties.
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