Trade Mission Accomplished: Superfood accessed the Canadian Food Market

As more people adopt a healthier lifestyle, diets are changing, to include foods that are nutritionally better for you – one such food is quinoa. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), quinoa is the grain crop with the most nutrients per 100 calories, has no cholesterol and does not cause allergies. It is also gluten free and relatively low in fats. Quinoa is regarded as a superfood, so much so, that 2013 was celebrated as the ‘International Year of Quinoa.’ Bolivia and Peru are the top suppliers of quinoa, accounting for over 95 percent of global production. This makes quinoa an excellent product for international trade. In keeping with its mission to bring importers and exporters together to transact business, TFO Canada provided assistance to Irupana Andean Organic Foods, so that the organization could participate in the SIAL 2015 show in Toronto, under the Responsible Facility. To increase Irupana’s chances of success at the trade show, TFO Canada scheduled 12 appointments with Canadian importers on behalf of the organization.

Irupana Andean Organic Foods is a Bolivian, quinoa exporter, with a strong sense of social responsibility. It manufactures and sells natural and organic foods produced by small farmers in indigenous communities from the highlands, valleys, and tropical areas of Bolivia. Besides helping the farmers to find markets for their products, locally and internationally, Irupana teaches them how to grow organic crops. The company is a pioneer in organic and natural products from Bolivia, and they focus on Quinoa and value added products from Quinoa, Canahua and Amaranth. Lorena Nina Jimenez, who represented Irupana at the SIAL 2015 Trade Mission to Toronto, found it to be a unique experience, “It was the first time I was visiting Canada, and thanks to TFO Canada, I learned about the dynamic nature of the Canadian market, and the business opportunities for my country. And one of the most rewarding parts of the trade mission, was the opportunity TFO Canada provided to put us in direct contact with buyers, so we can understand their needs. It was a very productive experience.”

TFO Canada hosted an information session on the Canadian food market that Lorena Nina Jimenez attended. She learned that there is a growing exclusive market where buyers are willing to pay for the products they want. And that there is an opportunity for businesses specializing in organic products to sell to these buyers. Another important piece of information for her was the Canadian rules and regulations surrounding product quality and labeling. Jimenez considered this priceless intelligence. When asked about her impressions of TFO Canada, without any hesitation, she said, “TFO Canada has professional personnel, who are highly qualified, warm and friendly with a sense of cooperation. They have the appropriate expertise to advise the different companies, and introduce them to the different markets and buyers. And they welcome exhibitors and buyers worldwide.”

The opportunity that TFO Canada provided to Irupana was also financially beneficial to the company. The company made contact with 20 Canadian importers, and four of them from British Columbia and Quebec have become customers. Irupana has already shipped 80 tons of products to them. Another important benefit that Irupana realized, as a result of attending the SIAL 2015 Show in Toronto, is that it is able to minimize risks because they now have Canada as a new market with diversified buyers.