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This article was previously published in the 2017 Fall issue of Western Food Processors Magazine and has been reproduced with permission.
Is exporting part of your food and beverage business’s strategic plan? As the liberalization of global commerce continues, more Canadian companies are joining the international market every year— should you? Many Canadian agriculture and food and beverage businesses do this well already. Did you know that Canada is the fifth largest exporter of agricultural, and food and beverage products in the world after the EU, U.S., Brazil, and China?1 Most Canadian exporters are small- and medium-size enterprises that make up 90 per cent of Canadian exporters.2
Exporting can be an effective strategy for businesses that are seeking new growth opportunities. They also generate higher sales, pre-tax profit margins and returns on assets, compared with non-exporters.
If you decide to export, how do you become successful at it and define a clear and realistic strategy? Once you have validated your business’ export readiness, building an export plan is critical. An export plan will help you navigate uncertainties and provide a clear guideline to start exporting.3
Each food and beverage processing business is different in terms of the number and types of products, the competitive landscape and the unique value proposition. The following steps can be a useful guideline to ensure you are covering the key areas of a successful export plan as they relate to your unique business:
Once your have completed your export plan, you should have a clear guide on which markets you want to reach, along with the steps you will need to take to be successful in international markets.
Developing an export plan may seem like a daunting, time-consuming task, but it’s better to be prepared when it comes to exporting to foreign markets. Many companies turn to the services of an experienced consultant that can help your business evaluate its export readiness and prepare a detailed export plan. In addition to consultants, there are many government agencies that offer export-related support, including Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Export Development Canada, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.
Maria Gonzalez, MFRE, and Nina Jauernig, MBA are Managers in MNP’s Economic and Research and Food and Ag Manufacturing Practices. Contact Maria at
[email protected] / 604.637.1508 or Nina at
[email protected] / 604.637.1583.
1 Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Agri-Food Exports,
2 Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada,
SME Profile: Canadian Exporters (January 2015),
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