Belgrade is becoming the new center in Europe for connecting companies and entering key export markets

The Fruitnet Forum South East Europe, a specialized fresh fruit and vegetable industry event, took place in Belgrade on October 25.

This matchmaking opportunity emerged as an ideal platform for quality but often small suppliers of fresh produce from Serbia and the Balkans who are often unable to exhibit and compete at major global events such as FruitLogistica in Berlin or Fruit Attraction in Madrid. Also, intensive business meetings and discussions are a more efficient and immediate way of concluding deals than traditional trade fairs. Last but not least, this event is a response to numerous challenges, from climate and economic issues to political turbulences, which require better diversification of supply chains and closer cooperation between European countries.

During the event, over 120 business meetings between ten European buyers and 45 Serbian and regional suppliers of fresh fruits and vegetables took place. The European retailers and distributors of fresh fruit and vegetables who participated in the event were Champion-Fruit Kft – Hungary, ICA – Sweden, Arctic – Poland/Norway, Eurogroup – Italy, Consorfrut – Poland, Greenyard – Belgium and others.

In addition to intensive B2B meetings, during the Forum’s plenary session, a representative from the Italian Eurogroup and German REWE shared insights on effective EU supply chain business practices, emphasizing trust, food safety, and quality to meet consumer expectations. Also, the impact of climate change and other unfavorable factors on production and trade and the legal aspects of successful trade in fruits and vegetables were discussed.

The Fruitnet Forum South East Europe 2023 was organized in partnership with the international media company Fruitnet and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the support of the Big Small Businesses project. The regional USAID Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth (EDGE) project helped local producers from North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania join this event.