The pandemic did not stop Fresh Market 2020!

For the last 12 years, Fresh Market has been organizing meetings of suppliers and buyers of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. They have traditionally been held in the MCC Mazurkas Conference Centre & Hotel since 2008. The current situation in the world which is a result of the pandemic has made it impossible to carry out the 13th edition of the trade fairs in a form well known to everyone. However, Fresh Market organizers, responding to the needs of the market and adapting to the new reality, offered participants remote B2B meetings fully on-line! In many ways, however, they resembled coming to a real conference, and not just another boring webinar or meeting on Zoom. How did they go?

Fresh Market B2B meetings succeed in the internet world

Last week 8/9 October, remote B2B meetings between suppliers and buyers of fresh fruits and vegetables from Europe took place on the virtual event platform – Airmeet. Every participant received the direct link to the virtual venue full of virtual tables representing the companies with its logos and names. Everyone could simply click on a free chair and sit at the table. You could use different tactics – either to join the others by clicking on a free chair or to wait for others to join you at your table. What is fascinating and engaging – it looks and it works very similarly to a regular conference. User experience is on a high level as well as intuitive and easy to use. 8th and 9th October, participants had the opportunity to talk to a wide range of top retail chains from Europe such as Carrefour, Intermarche, Auchan, SPAR, Jeronimo Martins Poland (Biedronka) and many others.

Trade facilitation event for Moroccan operators

Invited guests and retail chains could learn about this year formula a little bit earlier than others. Two weeks ago 1 and 2 October there was a closed, two-day meeting session only for Moroccan operators, buyers, importers, and VIPs. There were about 150 virtual tables. On Thursday it started at 10 am with a short presentation about the Moroccan market and the export of fruit and vegetables provided by the representatives of the EBRD, FAO and Morocco Foodex. Then all present participants turned to virtual tables, where business meetings took place. During these two days, over 100 people took part in the meetings. Moroccan operators of fresh fruits and vegetables met such buyers like Jeronimo Martins Poland Biedronka, ATB, Lenta, Titbit, Targban, and many others. “Understanding the specific needs of potential importers and overcoming logistics obstacles along the supply chain, be it storage, packaging or transport, could be a game-changer for Morocco’s smaller producers, helping them to crack into a wider export market,” FAO Agribusiness and Value Chain Specialist Florent Tomatis said. Organizers managed to satisfy both Moroccans and buyers from retail chains, who appreciated the innovation and convenience of the solution, complimenting the opportunity to talk to whom they want, when they want and for how long they want with just one click. EBRD Middle East and North Africa’s Principal Banker for Agribusiness, Othman Tlemcani said these meet-ups are beneficial, as they allow “Moroccan exporters to continue making important face-to-face business contacts during COVID-19 – albeit safely, online – with people interested in sourcing their produce,” he said.

Strong cooperation

Fresh Market meetings with Moroccan operators were co-organized with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Morocco FOODEX, and the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture. The well-known Polish Fresh Market did not disappoint such large institutions, bringing remote meetings to a higher level. Morocco Foodex representatives confirm the potential of Eastern Europe markets to widen and diversify the customer portfolio of Moroccan fresh fruits and vegetable exportations and reiterate the usefulness of adopting this type of digital formula which remains an excellent alternative, especially in such circumstances that hinder physical participation, to accompany Moroccan exporters to prepare their export seasons and stay connected with international markets.

Is it not the end of the meetings?

Two weeks. Four days. Six several-hour sessions. Over 150 virtual tables. Almost 200 unique participants. Fresh Market debut on the virtual field looks successful. Meetings of buyers and suppliers that are held every autumn in Poland since 2008, always stood out from other events of this type. They were the inverse of trade fairs because it was suppliers who came to the buyers. Remote B2B meetings of Fresh Market 2020 were focused mostly on networking and preserved their DNA and tradition even in such a new environment. Encouraged by the success of the last sessions, the Fresh Market organizers decided to introduce remote meetings on spring 2021. The date isn’t known yet but everything will be published soon

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