Worldwide coconut consumption in its many forms, is on the rise, as health conscious consumers discover its many health benefits. In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2014, Indonesia produced 18,300,000 metric tons of coconut, which is 35.8 percent of the world total. The Top Three producers are Indonesia, the Philippines, and India. And 80 million people worldwide depend directly on coconut and its processing for their livelihood. This is a prime market for international trade. With TFO Canada’s assistance, Amir Sudjono, CEO & Founder, Coco Sugar Indonesia, participated in the organization’s trade mission to the SIAL 2015 show in Toronto, under the Responsible Facility.
Amir Sudjono founded Coco Sugar Indonesia to directly connect farmers to the market, eliminating all middlemen, to increase the income of the farmers. To make this a reality, the company is located in the center of coconut sugar production. Another key objective of the company, is to introduce the product to the world because of its health benefits, which will further increase the income of the farmers. Therefore, attending the international trade show was good for this businessman. Sudjono says, “The SIAL 2015 show in Toronto has been productive. We managed to secure a good amount of purchase orders from the buyers TFO Canada introduced to us. We secured two customers from British Columbia and have already shipped products to them.” That’s a good return on investment for Sudjono’s investment of the time he took to attend the international trade show.
As part of the trade mission, TFO Canada hosted an information session on the Canadian food market that Sudjono attended. He also participated in a retail tour of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) ethnic and major supermarkets which was a unique opportunity. The information session and the tour proved invaluable to the CEO and a goldmine of information. Sudjono learned about the diversity of the Canadian population, especially in the GTA.
Although the diversity of people, with varying tastes, can sometimes fragment the market, Sudjono views it as an opportunity to capitalize on. He also learned about the distribution channels of his market segment. But most importantly, what he appreciated about TFO Canada, is that the organization scheduled one-on-one appointments for him with buyers, gave guidance on the legal aspects of international trade, providing a complete picture of the Canadian market as a whole. Because of Sudjono’s newfound knowledge, he was able to formulate a strategy to successfully enter the Canadian market.
Attending the SIAL 2015 show in Toronto had a huge impact on Coco Sugar Indonesia’s bottom-line. According to Sudjono, “We needed to add more capacity to our production because the demand is greater than our current supply ability.” If Amir Sudjono got an opportunity to attend a similar international trade show, he would say, “Yes” in a heartbeat. When asked to describe the entire experience of attending the trade show, he used one word, “Complete,” which sums it up nicely.