Article by: Hari Yellina
Since the pandemic closed borders in March 2020, a party of 17 international delegates has arrived in remote Western Australia for Australia’s first premium food and drink trade trip. On Monday, they met with 25 agribusinesses in Denmark, where they were shown wagyu beef, truffles, edible saltbush, wine, and spirits, among other items. Natasha Monks, CEO of the Great Southern Development Commission, said the in-person connection was important about building relationships.
“To be able to meet face-to-face, it’s a pretty important step to building that trust to do business, especially across borders,” Ms Monks said. Pandemic regulations and restaurant shutdowns wreaked havoc on the high-end food and beverage business. Exporters who persisted used videoconferencing and email to conduct worldwide commerce. However, most nations have already opened their borders to allow business travellers, allowing trade missions and new export partnerships to flourish.
Tony Colley, a Dubai-based exporter, said that while Australia had not yet lost its premium exports, it was lagging behind the US and Europe in allowing in-person trade missions. He explained, “We’ve been conducting business [in person] for about 18 months.” “It’s time to come back with a bang, Australia.” Wendy Foo, a Singaporean food importer, said Australian exporters had returned “quite quickly,” but that some international food commerce had already relocated. She explained, “We’ve moved on to several European countries.”
“I suppose everyone has had the opportunity to assess and examine their markets.” Director of Great Southern Truffles Adam Wilson described the endeavour as “Christmas all over again.” “You don’t actually know what Australian cuisine is all about, we don’t have a very distinct national cuisine aside from vegemite and other things like that,” she said. He stated, “These guys have tasted the finest of what Western Australia has to offer.” “Australia has a reputation for quality and provenance and safety,” he said. “Play to your strengths.”