Georgian Businesses Participate in 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show to Access New Markets and Promote Healthy Products

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Attendees at 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

In Georgia, sustainable access to markets is one of the main challenges holding back growth in the country’s food processing industry. Agribusinesses looking to scale up production often require costly modernizations and certifications before they can access finance and negotiate lucrative deals with buyers, preventing them from competing in more demanding international and domestic retail markets. To help Georgia build a more prosperous economy that benefits workers and their families, stronger market linkages are needed.

To address these challenges in Georgia’s economy, the USAID Agriculture Program — a five-year, $26.8 million program funded by USAID and implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture — supports both start-up and established exporters to participate in reputable international trade shows like Gulfood in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Anuga in Cologne, Germany. Participation in trade shows have helped micro, small and medium-sized enterprises build business-to-business linkages that expand their reach and credibility in lucrative international markets.

Over June 25–27, 2023, the USAID Agriculture Program supported 12 Georgian agribusinesses to participate in the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City — the largest specialty food and beverage industry event in North America. There, the Georgian companies explored new market opportunities and established commercial linkages with international buyers. They gathered under a united pavilion jointly developed by the USAID Agriculture Program and Enterprise Georgia to display an array of Georgian nuts, juices, sauces, canned products, spices and teas. In addition to promoting Georgian businesses and products to potential buyers, the pavilion acted as a one-stop-shop for raising awareness about Georgian flavors, culinary traditions and natural foods, bringing the country one step closer to gaining international recognition as a hub for agriculture, cuisine and trade.

This year’s Summer Fancy Food Show brought together thousands of industry professionals, influencers and investors to spotlight food and beverage trends and negotiate deals between buyers and suppliers. It also provided participants with opportunities to network and build critical connections with peers.

Georgian Fancy Food participants and partners with David Zalkaliani, Georgian Ambassador to the U.S.

The Georgia pavilion included 16 enterprises in total, many of whom attended the event for the first time. Participating companies included Achinebuli LLC, Agritouch LLC, Aromaproduct Ltd, August Fruit Factory, Farconi Ltd, Geonaturals LLC, Georgian Nectar LLC, GPR Ltd, Kerki Ltd, Maisi Ltd, Manna LLC and NutsGe LLC. Over the event’s three days, these companies presented an impressive array of Georgian products and held many business negotiations with potential buyers from the U.S. and beyond. On the second day of the event, David Zalkaliani, Georgian Ambassador to the U.S., visited the pavilion, meeting with and sampling products from each of the 16 enterprises.

One participating Georgian enterprise attending the show for the first time was Kherki Ltd, a dried fruit producer whose name translates as “fruits that are dried under the sun.” The company based in mountainous Keda municipality, located in Georgia’s Adjara region, specializes in producing dried fruit products, including dried apples, persimmons, prunes and tangerines, fruit leathers and the traditional Georgian fruit and nut snack churchkhela.

Representatives from Kherki Ltd at Summer Fancy Food 2023.

Speaking about consumers’ reactions to churchkhela, Kherki representative Nino Resulidze said: “It has been really popular at the Summer Fancy Food Show. We didn’t expect such high interest in traditional Georgian snacks, especially churchkhela because it was new for the audience, but they really loved it.”

With the goal of producing natural products that do not include any chemical or sweetener additives, Kherki Ltd hopes to have their products sold in U.S. stores, especially in New York, by the end of the year. “We definitely hope to expand our products in the U.S. because we saw during these past few days [at the Fancy Food Show] that there is a huge interest in Georgian products, especially in natural fruit,” said Resulidze.

Another enterprise, Farconi Ltd, has already sold $100,000 worth of herbs and spices as a result of its participation in the Summer Fancy Food Show. Similarly, many of the other Georgian businesses who attended the event continue to host ongoing negotiations with buyers, which they hope to finalize in the coming months.

Representatives from Farconi Ltd at Summer Fancy Food 2023, father and son duo Giorgi and Mamuka Alpaidze.

Trade shows like the Summer Fancy Food Show provide important opportunities for Georgian agribusinesses to promote their products in new and prosperous export markets, while also allowing representatives to network with peers and learn trends and best practices from industry leaders. With more than 30,000 industry professionals registered at this year’s event, the Summer Fancy Food Show is a prime example of the types of market opportunities that could help Georgian enterprises establish meaningful business relationships that introduce Georgian products to international markets.

In addition to facilitating market connections at trade shows and international events, the USAID Agriculture Program has partnered with key agriculture sector stakeholders since 2018 to address the root causes of market system failures by strengthening agribusinesses’ productivity, business practices and capacity to meet international export standards. The Program also cooperates closely with the Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development’s Enterprise Georgia agency as a part of a joint export promotion campaign aimed at helping partner agribusinesses access new markets. This collaboration works to foster inclusive and sustainable market systems development by strengthening enterprises’ promotional efforts and sponsoring their attendance at internationally recognized trade fairs like the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show.

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CNFA (Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture)

We stimulate economic growth and improve livelihoods by cultivating entrepreneurship.