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Old 03.08.2014, 23:38
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Import/Export Food Items as a business?

Hi, this is slightly off topic so please forgive me, or point me in the right direction. Sorry for the long post.

My brother has a small niche transport company serving the aerospace and high-tech manufacturing tool industries. Regular routes (fortnightly) include return trips from the UK to Geneva, Munich, Montpellier, Toulouse, Courcouronnes, Bordeaux, Seville and Cadiz.

I have the intention to utilise this network (with modifications to vehicles where necesary) to import / export (on a small scale at first to confirm feasibility and operating costs) fresh / frozen / ambient foodstuffs and a limited range of non-food grocery items.

The second part to this is to source products to re-sell in the uk to hotels and delis with the development of an online channel if feasible. This again will be on a very small scale.

My background is consulting in the retail sector (Morrisons, Cooperative Food, Kellogg, Aldi and Tesco) and the supply of goods to the hotel industry. This should stand me in good stead, however it is more the feasibility and customer base of the first part of my plan that I need a little help with.

To minimise operational costs and additional journey time etc., I'm not proposing to have a model that supplies individual (you and me) customers - although this may impact the overall order volume. As the transport routes will be fixed to a great extent, I'd prefer to supply retailers direct or individuals that want to buy in larger quantities for re-selling in or very close to the destination points of my brother's clients.

I can do the number crunching including the running costs, tariffs and taxes etc. It is more the customer base to calculate the planned demand for products.

To use Geneva as an example, if the transport visits once or twice a fortnight and goods could be pre-ordered this would optimise the loads carried in the vehicles. However the vehicle would only be in Geneva for approximately three hours for unloading / loading with my brother's clients. so the drivers would drop off to bulk buy customers but folks with smaller orders would need to meet up with us to collect their orders - and I'm almost certain the Swiss authorities would be happy with us doing this .

Would any of you guys over in Switzerland and particularly Geneva have any thoughts or ideas? Sorry for the long post.

Thanks,
Jo.
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Old 04.08.2014, 01:45
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Re: Food cart / stall: How to start?

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Hi, this is slightly off topic so please forgive me, or point me in the right direction. Sorry for the long post.

My brother has a small niche transport company serving the aerospace and high-tech manufacturing tool industries. Regular routes (fortnightly) include return trips from the UK to Geneva, Munich, Montpellier, Toulouse, Courcouronnes, Bordeaux, Seville and Cadiz.

I have the intention to utilise this network (with modifications to vehicles where necesary) to import / export (on a small scale at first to confirm feasibility and operating costs) fresh / frozen / ambient foodstuffs and a limited range of non-food grocery items.

The second part to this is to source products to re-sell in the uk to hotels and delis with the development of an online channel if feasible. This again will be on a very small scale.

My background is consulting in the retail sector (Morrisons, Cooperative Food, Kellogg, Aldi and Tesco) and the supply of goods to the hotel industry. This should stand me in good stead, however it is more the feasibility and customer base of the first part of my plan that I need a little help with.

To minimise operational costs and additional journey time etc., I'm not proposing to have a model that supplies individual (you and me) customers - although this may impact the overall order volume. As the transport routes will be fixed to a great extent, I'd prefer to supply retailers direct or individuals that want to buy in larger quantities for re-selling in or very close to the destination points of my brother's clients.

I can do the number crunching including the running costs, tariffs and taxes etc. It is more the customer base to calculate the planned demand for products.

To use Geneva as an example, if the transport visits once or twice a fortnight and goods could be pre-ordered this would optimise the loads carried in the vehicles. However the vehicle would only be in Geneva for approximately three hours for unloading / loading with my brother's clients. so the drivers would drop off to bulk buy customers but folks with smaller orders would need to meet up with us to collect their orders - and I'm almost certain the Swiss authorities would be happy with us doing this .

Would any of you guys over in Switzerland and particularly Geneva have any thoughts or ideas? Sorry for the long post.

Thanks,
Jo.
You're right. Why would you ask advice for your direct import/export business in a thread titled Foodcart/stall: How to start? Sounds like you were a crap consultant if this is the way you go about fact finding.
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Old 04.08.2014, 10:27
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

Thanks 3Wishes for putting me on the correct forum.

You are correct Confloozed, as a Legend I value your thoughts positive or negative, this is a scatter gun first way of gathering rough thoughts re markets etc., as I mentioned I can do everything else in terms of planning and costing at the moment except predict market demand and end of chain feasibility.

I still am a crap consultant .

Thanks,

Jo.
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Old 04.08.2014, 10:39
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

You could look at those who've done it before you.

British Cheese Centre of Switzerland
Britshop

etc etc etc.

Plus the mainstream supermarkets are now carrying more foreign items - especially online. How will you differentiate? Price? Variety? Free delivery?
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Old 04.08.2014, 11:16
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

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Thanks 3Wishes for putting me on the correct forum.

You are correct Confloozed, as a Legend I value your thoughts positive or negative, this is a scatter gun first way of gathering rough thoughts re markets etc., as I mentioned I can do everything else in terms of planning and costing at the moment except predict market demand and end of chain feasibility.

I still am a crap consultant .

Thanks,

Jo.
I'd suggest talking to your potential customers to see if there is sufficient demand for your products.
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Old 04.08.2014, 20:11
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

Switzerland has some regulations about food imports for resale; you need to be sure that anything you import complies.
Most food items are not included within the scope of the Swiss cassis de Dijon regulation that allows a lot of freedom in importing items that are EU approved.
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Old 04.08.2014, 20:56
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

There could also be labelling issues. Most UK stuff I buy here seems to have stickers on with ingredients in the local languages. I'm guessing they don't do that for fun.
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Old 06.08.2014, 15:14
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

If you were importing food items such as ready meals, deli bits and speciality items from marks and Spencer's and waitrose for example, I think that would be more interesting to British people here than supermarket basics and well known branded items. All the supermarkets here do items such as pg tips, digestive biscuits, marmite, birds custard, weetabix as that's all they think we eat. Most of these items we don't really miss! What we do miss is the interesting bits and pieces from the shops above as there is not really anything like that here. However the legalities of importing food into Switzerland are tricky as someone else has already said. I expect that if you could import do a shop who distributed it would be better for getting items to clients with minimal hassle. I probably wouldn't go and meet a lorry somewhere on a day and at a time that wasn't convenient to me. Hope that is a little bit helpful.
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Old 06.08.2014, 15:47
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Re: Import/Export Food Items as a business?

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If you were importing food items such as ready meals, deli bits and speciality items from marks and Spencer's and waitrose for example, I think that would be more interesting to British people here than supermarket basics and well known branded items. All the supermarkets here do items such as pg tips, digestive biscuits, marmite, birds custard, weetabix as that's all they think we eat. Most of these items we don't really miss! What we do miss is the interesting bits and pieces from the shops above as there is not really anything like that here. However the legalities of importing food into Switzerland are tricky as someone else has already said. I expect that if you could import do a shop who distributed it would be better for getting items to clients with minimal hassle. I probably wouldn't go and meet a lorry somewhere on a day and at a time that wasn't convenient to me. Hope that is a little bit helpful.

What Sophie said... Most (or at least a good number) of the dry goods are already available in the large supermarkets here. What would be interesting are the fresh products (ready-to-eat goodies, local specialities etc.), but these usually have a short sell-by-date, so I'm not sure if a fortnightly run from the U.K. would suit those kind of products. Also, that would raise the question of the "cold chain", i.e. ensuring that the products are maintained at a max. temperature of X°C from supplier to retailer. Tricky.....
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