Specialty Food Company Finds Continued Success in International Trade
Nonni’s Food Co., Inc., a Tulsa,
Okla.-based business, was built on the tradition of a beloved family
biscotti recipe that traveled from Italy to America nearly a century ago.
The company prides itself
on its commitment to quality ingredients and believes that quality is one of
the major reasons for its success. Nonni’s has expanded its business to
include baked goods such as New York Style Bagel Crisps, Pita Chips, and
Panetini. In recent years the company turned its attention to potential
overseas markets. With the help of USDA-endorsed trade shows and events, the
company’s success in the export arena has them traveling across the ocean
again, this time sending products to countries around the world.
company feels that international growth corresponds with the whole global
strategic branding process,” said Mr. Lee York,
international division manager for Nonni’s. “The company was
established in the United States prior to exporting our brand, which then
became intriguing to other countries. Two of our brands have a long shelf
life and broader snacking appeal, making them very conducive to global
expansion. We recognized that we produce a commodity that cannot be produced
where we ship, which has opened a lot of doors for us overseas.”
Participates in Fine Foods Australia 2009
The company began to
aggressively pursue overseas markets seven years ago and found that trade
shows were critical to building their export business. York has found that
many of the larger shows, which draw tens of thousands of attendees, are
particularly beneficial for making business connections.
“At larger shows
such as SIAL or Fine Food Australia, you have the opportunity to reach the
critical masses, which is very important,” said York. “Those events have a
great return on investment over time.”
The FAS Trade
Services Staff (TSS) of USDA works with show organizers to secure U.S.
Pavilions at key shows. Like Nonni’s, many exhibitors value their experience
in the U.S. Pavilion, as it offers prestige and visibility with other U.S.
companies, while maintaining a company’s own identity in individual booths.
Additionally, it provides a strong USA identification in a prime show floor
location, making these exhibitors a focal point for international importers
“I believe there is
a benefit to exhibiting in the U.S. Pavilion,” said York. “My perception is
that foreign buyers and retailers are interested in U.S.-made products. So
to be in a standalone environment would handicap our attendance. I’ve seen
the value in exhibiting in this space and would want to remain in the U.S.
Pavilion for future shows.”
Nonni’s has also
seen great benefit to participating in Buyer Missions (also called reverse
missions) through state regional trade groups such as the Southern U.S.
Trade Association, Food Export USA Northeast and the Food Export Association
of the Midwest USA. In the past year, the company has participated in more
reverse missions than ever before. Reverse trade missions bring foreign
buyers into the United States to introduce them to the wide variety of high
quality agricultural products available here. Missions offer the U.S.
exporter a great way to make contacts quickly and cost effectively. USDA/FAS
and the state regional trade groups as well as individual state departments
of agriculture co-manage many of these events.
trade shows and reverse trade missions have clearly impacted Nonni’s export
business in a positive way, but it also takes a good sense of business
know-how to succeed overseas. York encourages companies that are interested
in building their export business to be prepared for the cyclical nature of
international business and to determine early on their company’s ability to
grow. He emphasizes that advance work to determine the audience for your
product as well as shelf life is critical to building a successful export
Small Florida Business Finds Keys to Success Through FAS Programs
Bouras Global Trading, a small food export
company in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., used FAS services to help double its
sales. The company exclusively offers the full range of Hy-Top®
products, including, grocery, shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen
products, as well as general merchandise and health and beauty items. In
addition, it is the exclusive exporter of Richmix,® a non-dairy
creamer, to the Middle East and Africa. The support of the various
informative programs and services provided by FAS, has aided in Bouras
Global Trading’s export success, affording it the opportunity to unlock the
doors to international exporting.
"FAS has saved us a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort and
prevented us from having to waste our time doing something that would not be
beneficial to us in the end," said Mohamed Bouras, president of Bouras
The company has seen an annual sales increase of 25 percent since the
company formed four years ago, and its projected sales for 2009 are
approximately $5 million. The company attributes much of its growth—a
doubling of total sales since it began working with FAS—to its involvement
in international trade shows and incorporating the information found on the
FAS Web site into its business plan.
Bouras proudly displays his products during an international
Bouras Global Trading has participated in several USDA/FAS-endorsed
international trade shows over the past several years which have boosted the
company’s efforts to enter prospective markets for its consumer-oriented
food products. FAS Trade Services Staff (TSS) works with show organizers to
secure U.S. Pavilions at key shows. Also, the company received funding
through the Southern U.S. Trade Association, an organization that received
more than $6.9 million in 2008 Market Access Program funding from FAS to
help its members promote U.S. products through a variety of programs,
including promotional trade events.
In addition to trade shows, the
market and trade data on the FAS Web site
helped Bouras Global Trading familiarize itself with markets, including who
are its largest competitors, how to position its products in a particular
country, which markets the company should pursue and which ones may prove to
be a dead end for its products. In some cases, the information the company
received in Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) Reports,
Reports sent from Agricultural Offices in Embassies abroad, indicated which
markets have already been secured by another country or if a particular
market’s culture and economy don’t warrant the purchase of its products.
GAIN Reports are an excellent resource for exporters to find information for
trade policy reports, rules and regulations, commodity and market reports.
Several years ago, Bouras attempted to enter the Brazil market and came
back empty-handed after two unsuccessful business trips to the country. At
the urging of a contact at FAS, Bouras learned more about the market’s
requirements through the country information on the FAS Web site and
discovered it would have been impossible for his business to sell anything
in that country.
"We went there blindly and found out the hard way," said Bouras. "We
should have called the FAS office and asked for their help. Was this worth
our time? Or should we move on? The Web site was a great tool for us to use
to prevent us from wasting our time or money."
With the help of FAS, Bouras has grown his business into a successful
international exporter. While Bouras prides himself in possessing the
knowledge and skills to be successful in the export arena, he is grateful
for the guidance he has received from FAS to get his business to where it is
"The services that FAS and USDA have put together have opened a lot of
doors for us. They have given us the opportunity to knock on doors to tell
people who we are and what we can offer them," said Bouras.
FAS programs help U.S. exporters develop and maintain markets overseas for hundreds of food and agricultural products, from bulk commodities to brand-name items.