Rajinder Bagga is the CEO of Everland Natural Foods – an organic and natural whole foods company based in Burnaby, B.C.
You can learn more about their export success story here.
What was your first export sale?
It came in March 2015 when we were exhibiting at the natural products Expowest show in Anaheim, CA. Our first sale was our delicious coconut peanut spread that we manufacture in Burnaby, B.C. We introduced it for the first time there.
How did that first export opportunity arise?
A buyer from a major U.S. retail chain visited our booth in the B.C. pavilion at San Francisco’s winter fancy food show. She had also seen a segment on the Food Network’s Food Factory Show where our chocolate almond butter and chocolate hazelnut butter were featured. When she tried our coconut peanut spread at the booth she liked it so much that she placed her first order right there.
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
We now know that in the export business one has to pay close attention to the preferences of the target market, such as packaging, size, label, taste, flavour and price point. What is important and valued in Canada may be regarded differently in export markets.
How has the trading world changed since you started in business?
The trading world has changed a lot. It has become global and more speculative like the stock market. Once abundant, organic foods now are becoming more scarce and more strictly regulated by government. And markets can be unpredictable. Chia seeds for instance became very popular one year and farmers demanded higher prices and traders built up stock and raised prices. But the next year they saw demand was not going to sustain the high price, and the prices dropped, causing many casualties.
What is the #1 thing new SMEs need to know about export and trade?
The No. 1 thing to know is to research the global market and narrow down your offering to a few innovative products that you can produce efficiently and be successful in more than one target region. Then develop your capabilities in producing and marketing those few niche products.