Looking for new sales markets
While VLAM's focus in Flanders is mainly on the consumer (B2C), it concentrates exclusively on the trade side when it comes to overseas (B2B). In addition, VLAM has chosen to devote extra effort to promoting our products outside the European Union, and is concentrating even more on the search for new sales markets. Exports are being given special extra attention in 2015.
Diversification of export strategy
The Russian trade embargo has ensured that VLAM is focusing more than before on diversifying its export strategy. One important point is that in 2015, 5% more budget is being invested in foreign actions. VLAM is planning to attend more trade shows, new programmes are being filed with the European Union, and extra prospecting days are being scheduled. Alongside core markets such as Germany and France, and the increasingly important Eastern European countries, VLAM is targeting its efforts more than ever at third countries.
Keeping Flandria 'top of mind'
VLAM's main focus is on the most important core markets of Germany and France. In both these countries, the Flandria label is being constantly brought to the attention of people buying fruit and vegetables via collaborative actions with the main trade publications (both advertising and editorial), promotional campaigns in collaboration with German and French supermarkets via folder inserts, preferential placement at point of sale, product demonstrations and so on. This unrelenting focus is designed to keep Flandria - which currently boasts recognition in excess of 90% among purchasers in these countries - 'top of mind' as a strong brand in the fruit and vegetables sector.
New sales markets for Conference
In 2015, VLAM is devoting further efforts to the search for new sales markets for the products hit by the Russian embargo. 2015 is the final year of the first campaign for Conference pears in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. This runs through until March 2015, but in light of the good results achieved, both partners want to extend the campaign. Together with GroentenFruit Bureau, VLAM is hoping to secure EU cofinancing to enable it to continue the campaigns in Germany by boosting the number of tastings and expanding into other regions.
In addition to promoting Conference in Germany, VLAM is also targeting the Canadian market for pears. With the Canadian food safety authorities having given the go-ahead for the import of Belgian pears, the next step is to do some promotional work. One way of promoting the first export of Belgian pears will be by means of in-store tasting sessions.
Premium quality, first taste
In 2015, VLAM will be once again making its traditional appearance at the major fruit and vegetable trade shows in Europe: Fruit Logistica Berlin (4-6 February 2015) and Fruit Attraction Madrid (October 2015). Attending these events remains a very important element in the external promotional effort. The shows offer the chance not only to cultivate contacts with existing customers, but also to meet new customers. If the opportunity arises, VLAM will be on the lookout for extra locations for contact days in countries where it is prospecting.
Continuing the 'Taste of Europe' campaign
The focus for 2015 will be more than ever on markets outside the EU, in a bid to compensate for the lost exports to Russia. The European campaign 'Taste of Europe' sees VLAM attending shows in Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, China (via Hong Kong) and the United Arab Emirates. This third-country campaign focuses on the one hand on expanding or improving the image of fresh fruit and vegetables from Belgium/Europe, and on the other, increasing exports to third countries.
There are already 6 shows on the calendar for 2015: World Food Moscow, Foodex Tokyo, PMA Atlanta, Asia Fruit Logistica Hong Kong, WOP Dubai and CPMA Montreal. The campaign also includes contact days, workshops and visits to Belgian exporters, producers and cooperatives by a selection of opinion formers and purchasers of fresh fruit and vegetables from those third countries. Despite the embargo, 2015 will see VLAM continuing to focus on Russia. A (smaller) (100 m²) stand is planned at World Food Moscow, to enable the sector to maintain contact with the Russian buyers. Behind the scenes, work is also underway on a promotional campaign to kick in as soon as the ban is lifted.