Trade fairs stand out as one of the most versatile marketing instruments as it offers a wide array of functions essential for business growth. These platforms enable Fairtrade Producer Organizations to engage in business transactions, enhance their brand image, seek out trade partners, establish market linkages, and expand their networks. Among these, Foodex Japan 2024 emerges as a prominent event which is recognized as the largest and most diverse food and beverage exhibition in the Asia Pacific region with unparalleled transaction volume. Since its inception in 1976, this esteemed event has maintained its reputation, providing invaluable networking opportunities for forging new business connections and reinforcing existing ones. With an expanded platform this year, Foodex Japan 2024 offered ample avenues for fostering partnerships, securing deals, and making significant announcements.

7 Fairtrade Small Producer Organizations from China gained significant insights from their participation in Foodex Japan this year. The objective of Fairtrade NAPP has been to reinforce existing trade relations with Fairtrade Marketing Agencies and forge new connections through networking events and B2B meetings. Direct engagement with decision-makers aimed to build a strong database of leads and networks. Representatives accessed market trends, technology, and certifications while cultivating their intercultural communication skills. They also improved sales and marketing efficiency by understanding buyer expectations and adopting new methods.

“I really appreciate the unique opportunity created by Fairtrade NAPP for Small Producer Organizations to participate the largest food and beverage show in Asia, which assembled 4000 booths from 70 countries.” – Xinrong Zhao Shaoxing Graham Tea Farmers Association.

During the event days, the tea producers showcased their tea samples to potential consumers as well as the with Japan National Fairtrade Organization (NFOs), despite the dominance of coffee in the current Fairtrade market in Japan. Given the opportunity, there has been further discussion for collaboration with Japan NFO to optimize the effectiveness of Fairtrade NAPP’s investments in trade fairs of this nature.

The impact of this trade fair has been profound. The tea producers have gained valuable insights into leading practices in the food and beverage industry, including packaging innovations and the development of tea products like tea champagne. This knowledge empowers them to navigate competition effectively and enhance operational surplus within supply chains. It served as a reality check regarding the minimal market share for Chinese tea since there is an inherent preference for Indian tea among Japanese tea traders or prioritizing local tea varieties. Despite this, the Chinese tea producers developed connections as there is a growing niche market for specialty teas such as jasmine, oolong, and puer tea. However, meeting the stringent quality standards demanded by consumers remains paramount. This offered tea producers an opportunity to enhance their tea quality and take advantage of emerging market trends.

Today, strengthening partnerships with Japan NFO is crucial for maximizing the impact of Fairtrade initiatives in the Japanese market. Foodex Japan 2024 offered the various representatives an opportunity to acquire knowledge, develop competencies, and refine skills through global exposure. This 3-day event enabled Fairtrade NAPP to invest in enhancing its strategy to empower small-scale farmers and workers within the Fairtrade framework, expanding its reach across the Asia Pacific.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to hospitality and supported extended by Fairtrade NAPP and Japan NFO. this makes our tour much more productive and fruitful.” – Jinghong Yu, Wuyuan Xitou Tea Farmers Association.

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