Creating a historic turning-point for Serbian prunes exports

March 24, 2017

Serbia is the world’s 8th largest exporter of prunes. It produces soft, aromatic prunes that are compact and easy to handle. The producers apply the highest standards and comply with EU food legislation. They ensure food safety in all steps of the production process. Although Germany is the leading importer of this dried fruit, Serbia hardly exports any prunes there. Yet!

To change this, the National Association of Serbian Prunes Producers asked Globally Cool for help. Our (processed) fruit expert Aleksandar was perfect for the job. He started out by analysing the German market, answering questions like:

  • who imports what and from where?
  • where are the prunes packed?
  • who sells them?
  • what requirements do they have to meet?

His strategy included contacting German importers for information. At the same time, this allowed him to introduce these importers to Serbian prunes and make them aware of the benefits.

The German market

As the world’s leading importer, Germany imports around 15,000 tonnes of prunes per year. Serbia’s share of this is around 0.3%, allowing plenty of room for improvement!

The main competition comes from the USA and Chile. Aleksandar estimates that together, these countries supply an impressive 90% of the prunes on the German market. It might seem easy for Serbia to compete because of its location, but Californian prunes are an established brand in Germany. Consumers prefer “Kalifornische Trockenpflaumen” because to them, this represents quality.

Opportunities for Serbian prunes

The strong reputation of the competition presents a challenge. For German importers, Serbian prunes have the clear advantage of being cheaper and faster to transport while maintaining excellent quality. However, most German importers and consumers are unfamiliar with them. To facilitate market entry, Aleksandar provided the Serbian exporters with clear tips and recommendations on how to build a strong image. In addition, he arranged a meeting with interested German importers.

Matching German importers with Serbian exporters

On Friday the 3rd of March 2017, the first Serbian Matchmaking Event for German Importers took place at the Chamber of Crafts in Hamburg. Several German companies participated in the event, among them some of Europe’s largest importers. After presentations by the Serbian Embassy and the Association, the German importers participated in 15-minute matchmaking meetings with the Serbian exporters

Since the successful event, various German importers have come to visit the producers in Serbia. Several more importers have arranged excursions to the Serbian facilities in the coming months. These developments are very promising. When this project generates concrete export deals, this can be a historic turning-point for Serbian exports of prunes!

Carine Matser

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