How to make added-value grains attractive for European buyers

Europe is a major consumer of various grains. Many of these grains end up in added-value products. Although most processing takes place in Europe, there is an opportunity for exporters in developing countries to process speciality grains locally.

Processed speciality grains

European retailers offer a wide range of innovative consumer foods containing processed speciality grains, such as:

  • Teff flour;
  • Quinoa flakes; and 
  • Amaranth puffs.

But speciality grains are also often used as an ingredient by food brands. For example, food developers use such grains in:

  • Vegan burgers;
  • Pre-cooked meals; and 
  • Gluten-free bread mixes. 

These products meet a growing demand for convenience food and special diets. At the same time, they contribute to the overall demand for processed grains.

Raw grains processed in Europe

The more you process a raw grain, the harder it often is to market your product in Europe. Much of the processing happens in Europe for various reasons, for example:

  • Processing raw grains in Europe allows more flexibility and better control over the supply chain;
  • Puffed grains contain a lot of air and are logistically not efficient or sustainable. 

But, some niche markets source added-value grains directly from the country of origin. Currently, imports of processed grains from developing countries account for about 2.4% of Europe's total trade. But Europe is showing remarkable growth in imports of cereal flours, pre-cooked grains and puffed or roasted grains from developing countries. 

Exporting processed grains

So, what kind of companies import already processed grains? It is essential to look at the conditions of a potential buyer. For example, importing processed ingredients makes sense if a company does not have in-house processing. Or if they do not have the right processing line, such as a dedicated line for gluten-free products. Processed grains may also be a niche product for a buyer. Batches can be too small to contract a local processor. Also, companies with strong ties to the country of origin are often more open to importing added-value products.

As an exporter of added-value grains, you must find your advantage in the European market. Make it interesting for buyers to import processed grains instead of processing them in Europe. It would be best not to assume that your processing costs are lower than in Europe. It is often efficiency and scale that lead to attractive returns. So, what can you do as a supplier to Europe? 

  1. Meet high food standards by applying GFSI-recognised certification;
  2. Try to stand out with a focus on unique, local ingredients;
  3. Make your exports sustainable and avoid inefficiencies;
  4. Offer the option to ship mixed containers of different (value-added) grains; and
  5. Focus on the right buyers. 

Learn more

To learn more about your potential opportunities, see our studies on exporting added-value grains to Europe. In this study, you will find examples of European businesses using processed grains.

Michel Peperkamp (ICI Business) wrote this news article for CBI.

Stay informed 

To stay informed on the latest developments in the grains, pulses and oilseeds sector, subscribe to our newsletter

  • Share this on: