Green Bay’s Creative Business Services representatives, Michael Schwantes, Darren Harrington & Mike Garsow were invited by Ashwini Rao and Lisa Stout of the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Protection agency to participate in the 25th annual food and beverage conference in Dubai, UAE. The show was a 5-day extravaganza with 5,000 booths and 100,000 people in attendance from countries around the world.

The purpose and mission of participation was to introduce Wisconsin’s award-winning dairy products to the Mideast, North Africa, India and South East Asia – namely its cheese. There were 5 Wisconsin cheese companies featured in the booth with an assortment of cheeses from each for the attendees to sample.

The event is the world’s largest food and beverage show in a million square foot facility, showcasing food & beverage products from nearly 200 countries. The show was initiated in 1987 and attracts buyers not only from the Gulf Region but the entire Mideast, Africa, India and Asia. Dubai is the epicenter of business in that region of the world and is the major hub for international trade and commerce.

The UAE imports over 80% of its food product, of which around 50% are re-exported to Gulf Cooperative Council countries, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Africa.

The response to the Wisconsin Cheese booth was overwhelmingly successful. The Creative team was busy cutting various cheeses into cubes and they struggled to keep up with the crowd, because somebody thought it would be cute if the whole team wore “cheese-head hats”….Well, everyone wanted to taste and inquire about the cheeses, but they also wanted pictures of themselves and the team. (See photos) It became quite the buzz. A lot of fun and a huge success.

The team met with distributors, processors, chain grocery store CEOs, logistics personnel and the US Ambassador of the UAE, John Rakolta. Additionally, marketing individuals from the US Embassies in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain requested assistance to import Wisconsin’s cheese products into to their respective countries.

It’s all about connecting the dots with the right people and forming long term relationships. The team has identified many channels to start the export processes and has a lot of work to do ciphering through nearly 150 quality connections in over 20 countries.

Creative Business Services, as a team, is grateful for the opportunity and is up to the challenge to further promote Wisconsin dairy products in these new markets. “It’s an honor to help make this effort come to fruition for our state and our cheesemakers,” says Bob Wolter, M&A Intermediary with Creative Business Services.

Creative Business Services is already planning for the next Gulfood show in 2021!

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