We recently caught up with Sutherland S.A. Produce on the heels of their 2019 trade mission to the US. Thanks to Market Development funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Kelowna-based grower and packer just completed a successful circuit of the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit (PMA) in Anaheim, California.
For director of sales Rick Chong, the PMA offers the perfect venue for promoting BC tree fruits and berries on behalf of the nearly 200 growers Sutherland represents.
“It’s one of our biggest tradeshows with 40-50 thousand attendees, including important buyers and all the major growers in North America,” he explains. “It offers a significant networking opportunity while helping you keep costs down by meeting everyone in one place.”
Not only did the PMA enable Sutherland to enter negotiations with Wal-Mart, but it also encouraged an existing partnership that is helping to open new markets for BC cherry growers.
According to Rick, California-based Blanc Vineyards recently won the exclusive NBA world-wide marketing rights for fresh grapes and cherries, the latter to be provided by Sutherland!
“This will allow us to package and market BC cherries with the NBA label,” he explains. “Not only would BC cherries get sold across the US, but the NBA also has a four-billion-dollar market in China and large markets in Europe, Taiwan and Hong Kong.”
While the US is typically one of Sutherland’s smallest export markets, Rick believes the inroads they’ve made this year will mean significantly more opportunities for BC growers.
With several previous government-funded export initiatives under their belt, the entire Sutherland team understands how critical support is for increasing Canadian brand recognition around the globe.
“The project funding we have received has been an immense contribution to our business development in export markets – we could not afford to attend many of these shows and pursue these opportunities without some financial assistance,” says Rick.
Funding support provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. (MD019)