9 tips for finding buyers on the European grain, pulses and oilseeds market
When entering the European market for grains, pulses or oilseeds, there are many sources you can use to find buyers. One good way is to approach sector associations to obtain contact details. It is equally important that buyers can find you, especially online. Trade fairs offer a very good platform to interact with buyers in person. Whatever promotional tools you use, make sure they are consistent and leave a professional impression.
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When trying to find buyers of grains, pulses or oilseeds in Europe, it is important to know your strength as a company and the segment that best suits your products. In the sector, you can find large commodity buyers as well as specialised buyers.
The commodity buyers focus on bulk, which often goes to the food processing or feed industry. This target group includes multinational companies such as Cargill, ADM, Bunge and Olam that which are likely to be active in or close to your home market, making export to Europe less necessary. These will be among your targets when focused on high-volume and low-value crops (some commodities are listed on the stock exchange).
You must understand that other or specialised buyers try to differentiate from the commodity market in many different ways. They add unique value, focus on special ingredients or supply specific markets. For example, you will find specialised buyers for organic ingredients such as Tradin Organic (Netherlands), gluten-free such as Freee by Doves Farm (United Kingdom), additives and functional ingredients that you can find for example at Neupert Ingredients (Germany) and companies that transform raw material into consumer products, such as the Italian company Pedon.
Select your buyer based on the product and the process you offer. Finding the right buyer often involves spending time to get to know your potential buyer, but it also means you must live up to the expectations and the requirements that specialised buyers have.
- Visit the website of the potential buyer, read their company news and then contact them to see how your product can fit in. For example, make sure your target client has no in-house processing if you want to supply semi-processed grains, pulses or oilseeds.
- Do a background check and use databases such as Dun&Bradstreet to check if your future buyer is reliable (‘due diligence’).
- Make sure to have a separate and safe post-harvest process when targeting the free-from market. Remember that cross-contamination is a no-go for specialist buyers of gluten-free ingredients.
- Prioritise food safety and clean production when targeting clients that are bringing products on the market for direct consumption; these often include organic products, superfoods and healthy raw ingredients. Refer to the CBI Buyer requirements for grains, pulses and oilseeds to see how to comply with these food requirements.
- Show your understanding of product functionality by including technical data. This is especially important for buyers that supply the food processing industry with functional ingredients and additives such as proteins, starches or vegetable oils. See as an example the product specifications of organic adzuki beans of the company DO-IT BV.