There are three keys to selling product to the United Kingdom, said Chuck Schreiber, director of international sales for Tanimura & Antle.
U.S. organic producers who want to break into the British market must painstakingly comply with all phytosanitary, third-party certification and other regulations, first and foremost, Schreiber said.
First, they’ll have to meet EU standards, and then they’ll frequently have to meet company-specific standards because in Britain, the retailers display product in their own brands and try to differentiate themselves by touting safety practices.
It’s also critical to establish relationships with the people to whom you want to sell, Schreiber said. Go visit them. And expect them to visit you — several times a year, in fact, he said. It’s important to make customers in the United Kingdom know that you’re accessible to them whenever they want to speak to you.
COPES is funded by a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture.
Organic grower-shippers that participate in the initiative receive Web-based instruction on a biweekly basis through the program’s Web seminars.
They also are included in the COPES product directory, which links California shippers and foreign buyers.
In addition to these free services, members will be represented at industry trade shows and other events. COPES officials will bring foreign buyers to the U.S., and California shippers will receive the opportunity to visit markets overseas.