November 29, 2023
Plenty Foods owner Josh Gadischke has been rubbing shoulders with potential buyers at a massive import expo in Shanghai.
The Kingaroy-based company had a stall at the 6th China International Import Expo held from November 6-9.
Plenty Foods was one of 26 Queensland food producers invited by Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) to take part in the event, held in one of the largest convention centres in the world.
The 16-pavilion expo featured everything from medical equipment to tourism, with food products filling three pavilions.
TIQ booked several hundred square metres in one of these food spaces.
One of the first visitors to drop by the Plenty Foods stand – while they were still setting up – was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who was taking part in a separate mission to China.
The PM took part in a cooking demonstration using Australian beef and Plenty Foods oil.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also visited the stall while officially opening the Queensland stand.
Josh said TIQ had put a lot of effort into the look and feel of the Queensland display, and local TIQ staff in Shanghai had also been very helpful, introducing potential buyers and making introductions.
TIQ also provided interpreters, although many of the Chinese buyers also spoke English.
Josh said the message he sensed from the Expo was that China was saying “we are open for business”.
Plenty Foods has been selling into China for some time and escaped the worst of Australia’s recent trade issues, although Josh said volumes had reduced.
However, he was confident that the market would pick up.
“Australia has a very high regard in China. They trust Australia, they trust our food and our clean, green reputation,” Josh said.
He said Plenty Foods’ major export lines into China are peanut butter and walnut, macadamia and avocado oils.
The company sells under its own brand as well as bottling under private labels for Chinese firms.
The TIQ trade mission also included tours of local supermarkets and meetings with food service providers at their own headquarters.
So was this latest trade mission worthwhile?
“We got some really good new leads, more than I expected,” Josh said.
“I am confident we will get some business out of it, but these things take time.
“It could be 12 months before we see the benefits.”