Aussie exporters put heart and Seoul into Korean F&B trade show

24 June 2022

Korea’s love affair with premium Australian food and beverages continues to soar to great heights. 

Around 40,000 visitors – including thousands of Korean buyers – flowed through the doors of Seoul Food and Hotel in early June. There were plenty of people hungry to sample some of Australia’s tastiest food and beverages in person. 

Austrade hosted the crowd-favourite Australia Pavilion at this event. It is Korea’s largest B2B food trade show and marked its 40th anniversary this year. 

Austrade’s participation was a key part of the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative. The initiative helps Australian agribusinesses to expand and diversify their export markets. 

Australia’s presence meets great expectations

The vibrant and high-energy Australia Pavilion at Seoul Food and Hotel lived up to high expectations. The striking Nation Brand signage and delicious wafts of sizzling Aussie lamb and beef drew crowds. 

Over four days, Austrade hosted more than 10,000 walk-in visitors to the Pavilion and about 350 in-person business meetings. 

The Pavilion displayed brochures and samples from 30 new-to-market and 10 existing exporters to Korea. Products ranged from gourmet cheese, pasta and craft beer to slightly different experiences, including vinegar in seaweed capsules, and 3-in-1 collagen coffee samples. 

Of the Australian companies who participated, 14 travelled to Korea to exhibit at the show in person. Austrade’s Trade and Investment Commissioner Helen Oh believes this made all the difference. 

‘Austrade signed up to this year’s Seoul Food and Hotel knowing that Korean buyers were incredibly keen to network and see samples in person,’ she says. ‘But the popularity of our Pavilion and the sustained level of busyness still caught us by surprise. 

‘With international borders open again, we were delighted to host a number of Australian exporters in person. 

‘It truly was a mile away from the contactless virtual business meetings we got used to during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

‘Korean buyers commented on the excitement around our stand and our exporters’ readiness to talk business. Many even told us the Australia Pavilion was the crowd favourite.’ 

Keen pre-show buyer interest

Food security and supply chain diversification are major recurring themes for Korean customers looking to source more products from Australia. 

Before Seoul Food and Hotel officially kicked off, Austrade facilitated 122 business-matching meetings for the new-to-market Australian exporters. This ensured quality commercial discussions at the show. 

On show days, buyers’ attention was most sparked by:

  • premium and healthy kids snacks
  • UHT milk
  • dairy-free yoghurt
  • plant-based beverages
  • innovative and functional food products. 

Austrade also hosted supermarket and department store site visits for visiting exporters. 

Oh says the most important learning was down to one word – people. 

‘I observed Australian people who show genuine interest and willingness to connect with Korean people, and those who do this receive the most commercial traction.’ 

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