For the third time in many years, Annes Junaid, Managing Director of CBL Natural Foods, got the opportunity to attend TFO Canada’s SIAL Trade Mission in 2016. TFO Canada hosts these events to help their clients from around the world to become export ready. But it’s much more than that, TFO Canada creates an environment full of experiences for success. The organization’s goal is to facilitate a level of success for its clients that would allow them to then turn around and give back to the communities in which they operate. Trade missions planned by TFO Canada are focused provides participants with the kind of exposure needed to take their business to the next level.
These days the market place is more saturated than ever, and for any organization to succeed it must provide products and services that meet the current and future needs of its clients. Additionally, customers are savvier and research the organizations they do business with thoroughly. They are not only interested in what’s in the products they buy, but they also want to know what kind of impact the organizations they wish to support has had on their local community. CBL Natural Foods is the kind of company that can easily pass this kind of scrutiny as the company sources all its raw materials from the local Sri Lankan community. TFO Canada plays an important role in helping the organization in achieves its goals.
TFO Canada scheduled 10 meetings for Mr. Junaid to meet with high level buyers which resulted in CBL Natural Food securing five buyers for its products. To date, the company has shipped 100 metric tons of products, valued at CDN $1.4 million.
The organization is one of the fastest growing and largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka, globally marketing leading brands in biscuits, confectionery, cereal, organic fruit products and many other categories. The company has organic, kosher, and halal certifications which is important in a marketplace where consumers are more health conscious. CBL Natural Foods exports fruit, coconut, cashew and spices worldwide. They source organically grown produce from a network of farmers in Sri Lanka, ensuring their customers receive authentic and high quality products. According to Annes Junaid, “Sixty to 70 percent of what we sell goes back to the Sri Lankan rural farmers for their input – a direct social impact due to TFO Canada’s efforts.”
Last year, the organization purchased US $18 million worth of produce from 3,000 rural farmers, of which 40 percent are women. CBL Natural Foods achieves these impressive results thanks to the kind of information provided by TFO Canada. For instance, while Annes Junaid attended the latest SIAL Trade Mission, he participated in an information session on the Canadian food market, and went on a Market Familiarization Tour. Both activities allowed him to learn about the latest food trends the shift towards natural and organic products and which are the fastest growing markets for his products in Canada,
Mr. Junaid adds, “The SIAL Trade Mission is growing in importance. I would recommend TFO Canada because other exporters would benefit from the networking opportunities and the trade information, which is very organized. The things I found most helpful from the show were the emphasis on natural and organic products, as well as the mix of retail and wholesale customers.” He also learned that there is a growing demand for coconuts, a product they have a full-range to offer.
It’s always impressive to see when an organization makes full use of the opportunities that come their way, and CBL has been such an organization. With the help they have received, they have gone back to their community and worked on raising the level of education of farmers, something they have been doing for over 40 years. They also provide support to entrepreneurs and the differently-abled; support child and elder care programs, as well as aid infrastructure development.