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Food exporters from Mesoamerica meet with international buyers at LAC Flavors 2013

Hundreds of producers of organic, natural, ethnic, and processed foods connect with over 50 potential clients from North America, Europe and Asia

GRANADA, Nicaragua - Hundreds of exporters of food products from Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic met with more than 50 international buyers at LAC Flavors, a business roundtable organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the government of Nicaragua, and the Nicaraguan private sector.

During the event, held on July 25-26, the exporters participated in information sessions on issues ranging from selling to large supermarket chains such as Wal-Mart to compliance with U.S. sanitary requirements. They also signed up for more than 1,500 business meetings with potential clients. This match-making system, arranged by the IDB, allows business owners to show their products to a large number of buyers in a short time period.

The internationalization of SMEs is a priority area for the IDB, said Fabrizio Opertti, chief of the Bank’s Trade and Investment Unit. “Through LAC Flavors, businesses receive technical training that prepares them to meet the demands of international markets in the food sector, while also having the opportunity to connect with a large number of international buyers at the same time and place. This allows them to increase and diversify their exporting experience,” he said.

LAC Flavors, an annual business meeting that has been taking place since 2009, aims to increase trade opportunities for food sector SMEs from the region. The event was organized by the IDB in conjunction with the Official Agency of Export and Investment Promotion (PRONicaragua) and the High Council on Private Enterprise (COSEP) of Nicaragua. Representatives of the Export Promotion Agencies of the other countries involved also participated in the event.

Since 2009, an estimated $20 million worth of business has been transacted thanks to meetings at LAC Flavors, based on surveys of past participants. In addition, this year’s event included a special component for women-led SMEs, whose owners received training on issues such as international marketing strategies, brand positioning, leadership, and empowerment.

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