What Do Airlines Look For?

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Export Connect delivered another successful Food & Beverage Exporters Forum in collaboration with Fine Food Australia, Export Council of Australia and Food Bank Victoria, on 10 September 2018 in Melbourne. This forum offered access to a panel of experienced Australian food & beverage exporters and an international buyer, covering a range of markets, and also explored building an export community. Panelists were: Mr Lalith Withana | SriLankan Airlines & SriLankan Catering; Nicholas Simms | Chief Executive Officer, Bubs Australia; Rob Eustace | Business Development Manager Export – Macadamias & Ginger, Buderim Group; Jackie Barnes | Export Sales Manager, Brookfarm; and Emma Greenhatch | General Manager, Food & Agribusiness Network. The panel discussion addressed trends and opportunities across a range of markets including Sri Lanka, North America, China and the Middle East, as well as how to collaborate in export.

In this piece, we hear from Mr Lalith Withana on the sourcing needs of airline catering.

“There are a couple of Sri Lankan distributors distributing Australian products, and we have originally got our connections through them. But we have not come directly to Australia looking for supplies.

Having got our connections through these distributors, we have since been importing foodstuffs directly from Australia. We have been buying meats and dairy from Australia. I think [airline catering is] a great market for Australian products.”

What dairy products in particular?

“Milk sachets, cheese, and other foodstuff like that, we get from Australia.

We are even looking for vegetables. Because the issue is that sometimes in the catering industry we need a specific thing: We need consistency of size, because the yields and things like that changes if you buy a different size, when buying vegetables.

I think Australia can give that. Whereas, the local markets still cannot do it, when we want large quantities to be purchased on a daily basis. I’m sure there are opportunities there.”

If you liked these insights read more from Mr Withana in this blog. We’d love to discuss the opportunities with you, and offer support with market selection, in-market connections, and growth strategies.