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If Taka Yamaguchi, executive officer of Organic Japan, has his way, athletes competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be eating organic—an ambitious plan that more than 100 of Japan's top grocery retailers, food importers and distributors learned about at a recent Organic Trade Association (OTA) sponsored seminar in Japan, the association reports. Yamaguchi and other agricultural, organic and food industry experts and policy officials took part in two OTA programs in Tokyo and Osaka to learn about the range and quality of US organic products, get up to speed on a bilateral trade deal that will help feed Japan's growing appetite for organic, and sample organic treats.
With a grant for US$784,902 from the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Market Access Program (MAP) to promote US organic products abroad in 2015, OTA is gearing up a far-reaching strategy for next year that will include more organic promotional and education programs in Japan and around the globe. OTA will be showcasing the American organic brand in the largest food shows, conducting international seminars on organic regulatory issues, hosting trade missions to connect foreign buyers and domestic suppliers, helping retailers in the world's biggest markets sell the value of organic, and continuing to assist US organic exporters with OTA's online U.S. Organic Export Directory and its Global Organic Trade Guide.
OTA will be back in Japan in November 2015, where OTA will conduct targeted promotion of organic products to consumers, and continue to build relationships with retailers and visionaries. OTA will also be busy at BioFach 2015, where they will lead a contingent of organic suppliers and will showcase organic products within the USA Pavilion, and will lead a session on the important USA - EU organic equivalency arrangement. In Seoul, South Korea, for the first time ever, OTA will participate in the Seoul Food and Beverage show. South Korea. In Cologne, Germany, OTA and representatives of the US organic industry will take part in the Anuga food show and in Anaheim, California, at Natural Products Expo West. In cities across Europe, OTA will be coordinating a large-scale promotion effort, with the focus on retailers to increase the awareness of the range, quality and consistency organic products available for import from the USA.
A recent OTA survey of the US organic industry shows a growing number of organic stakeholders involved in the export market—just over 60% of respondents surveyed last year said they export all or some of their organic products with an additional 20% reporting that they plan to get into the international arena. Many of today's organic exporters are new to the export business, with some 50% selling their products on the global stage for five years or less, and almost 20% just two years or less. More information is available from OTA.
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