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A successful exploration of the European market by Colombian coffee roasters

While Colombia has a longstanding experience in exporting green (unroasted) coffee beans all over the world, exporting roasted coffee to Europe is still largely unexplored, and requires a very different approach, as it implies competing with the European coffee roasters. For Colombia, however, roasting coffee in Colombia and exporting it to Europe means generating additional value added in Colombia.

From 5 until 11 October CBI organized a Market Orientation mission for Colombian Roasted Specialty coffees in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This mission is part of the 4-year CBI Country Programme Colombia. The objective of the mission was to familiarize the participants with the EU market and train them on export marketing, management and promotion techniques relevant to these markets.

Local coffee roasters and importers in Europe
12 promising companies got the chance to visit and get to know several cities in Europe, such as Amsterdam, Antwerp and Cologne. The programme of the week was diverse and the activities provided the participants with knowledge to see the potential of their products on the European market. The main activities were visits to local coffee roasters and importers, a visit to the port of Antwerp and PROBAT, a main manufacturer of roasting machines.

Market intelligence
Furthermore, they were provided with sector-specific presentations, including themes such as market intelligence, market entry strategy, market segmentation, trade channels, promotional instruments, preparation for trade fairs, distribution issues, sustainability and E-commerce. Especially E-commerce was considered an interesting strategy to get their products to the European consumers. To conclude this intense week, the participants went to one of the world’s leading food fair called ANUGA 2015 (Cologne). There they got assignments and presentations to further develop their knowledge about the coffee market in general and especially in Germany.

CBI Partner organisations
During the whole week, the companies were accompanied by representatives of CBI partner organisations ProColombia and the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) in order to organise follow-up activities when they get back to Colombia and support the companies when the CBI programme comes to an end. One of the follow-up activities after the mission is a workshop to analyse the cost structures for the export and import of their products. Overall, the companies considered the mission a very interesting week which provided them with useful insights and tools to further develop their strategies for the European market.