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Big Picture Report: April 2022


Bernadette Wiltz- Lang, SUSTA

Reviewing Last Year and Planning Ahead

I thought I’d share with you a brief re-cap of SUSTA’s Spring Meeting which was held the first week of this month. It was the first time in long time that all of SUSTA’s staff, all the marketing staff from the State Departments of Agriculture, our in-country foreign consultants and even senior staff from the USDA’s trade programs office had all gathered together in person.As you might guess, there was a lot to talk about!

I’m pleased to say it was a productive meeting. Of course, a key topic of discussion was what the State Departments of Agriculture are hearing from you: challenges you and your companies are facing, your insights on marketing strategies, and suggestions for programs and marketing activities. It was also a chance to review the feedback SUSTA received from the 2021 Global Events and 50% Cost Share surveys. Be assured that we go beyond the just the bottom-line numbers from those surveys and pore through your comments.

Sharing your perspective is always so important to crafting a strategy for our export promotion programs on your behalf, but particularly now, as live trade shows and trade missions are back, it is especially valuable.If you haven’t competed your 2021 survey, I urge you to do so at your very earliest convenience. The window is closing and we are in the process of pulling together all of the end-of-the-year metrics and remarks now.

During our meeting we also dove into the types of questions posed through our new Export Helpline and had a chance to go over some of the results from SUSTA’s other resources, such as how companies were using what they learned from participating in virtual consultations and our European Taste Panel. SUSTA is committed to supporting your export plans not only through promotional activities, but in preparing for those events.

Educating yourself on a target market is always time well spent. Virtual consultations with our in country consultants are on-going this year – it is a great opportunity to take advantage of, especially as the past two years have brought changes in many markets which you may have been out of. Note that later this month there will be webinar on “The Importer’s Perspective” in Hong Kong.Details on how to register are on the SUSTA website.

I’m happy to report that sales have been booked at events so far this year, including the Gulfood show, which is always a premier trade exhibition. Moreover, we’re now coming into a busy season with a very packed schedule of events – including 11 activities in June alone. That itinerary includes some key trade shows like the Seoul Food and Hotel exhibition in Korea and the Summer Fancy Food Show here in the U.S. where a roster of foreign buyers will be in attendance, as well as a number of in-bound and outbound missions.

All in all, the chance to gather together again, roll up our sleeves and get back to business as usual energized us all to make 2022 an impactful year for your businesses.