The OTA said that some of the benchmarks it achieved last year included first time exposure on a new continent, sponsored activities in five new countries, and the creation of a host of new organic exporters.
“Our export promotion programs work. In all of the countries where we do activity, U.S. organic exports to those regions have grown,” said OTA international trade director Monique Marez.
“The organic industry can’t happen without trade, and we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2018 to help expand the organic market.”
“We thank the USDA for appreciating the importance of our export promotion activities and supporting our work,” CEO Laura Batcha said.
“There are huge opportunities – and challenges – for the U.S. organic sector throughout the world, and we’re helping the industry to take advantage of those opportunities in untapped markets and to meet the challenges created by the growing global appetite for organic.”
The OTA has been an official cooperator in USDA’s Market Access Program for more than 15 years now – investing in the promotion of American organic agricultural products in global markets and connecting buyers and sellers to create new organic customers around the world.
In 2017, the trade group’s export promotion activities have expanded to four continents: South and North America, Europe and Asia, and to five first-time markets: Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Finland and Hong Kong.
The association has partnered with major retailers in Korea, Japan, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates to promote U.S.-grown and produced organic products already in those countries.
At the Anuga trade show in Cologne, Germany, the largest food and beverage trade show in the world, the OTA hosted an Organic Pavillion showcasing organic products from eight U.S. organic companies – all first-time exhibitors at the show. The participating companies estimated that they generated over US$7 million in new sales at the show.
“The [Anuga] show was great — absolutely massive! We came back home with a lot of business leads, and we’ve seen the highest quality and response rates from the leads we collected,” said Lia Duffy, director of marketing and international sales for organic mint maker VerMints.
“The Organic Trade Association has been a huge help for our export business. Many times it’s necessary to attend shows for several years to eventually be recognized by an appropriate, country-specific partner and OTA has helped by reducing these barriers and giving us the opportunity to network under the OTA umbrella.”
Another full schedule of organic activities around the world is planned for 2018:
- In Germany, the Organic Trade Association will host its largest Organic Pavillion ever at the BioFach World Organic Fair in February, the world’s leading organic food show.
- In Australia, the Organic Trade Association will participate for the first time in April at the Australian Naturally Good Show.
- In Israel, the Organic Trade Association will lead its first trade mission to the Middle East.
- In Dubai, Hong Kong and Japan, the Organic Trade Association will focus on retailer partnerships and demonstrate U.S. organic to consumers.
- In the U.S., the Organic Trade Association will expand an existing partnership with FoodExport Midwest and Northeast and co-host a Buyers’ Mission to both the Natural Products Expo West and Expo East trade shows.