Successful participation in food fair IFT in Chicago

NOM invests in the development of the northern Netherlands. In other words: we help strengthen the economy in the Northern Netherlands. We do this by (further) supporting companies in the Northern Netherlands; with knowledge, network or funding. And by putting the Northern Netherlands on the map as an ideal place to establish yourself as an organization. NOM's Foreign Direct Investment department does this mainly internationally.

Invest in Holland

We do not do this alone, but together with other regions and cities in the Netherlands and the NFIA (Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency), part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Foreign Affairs. Under the 'Invest in Holland' label, we work together to put the Netherlands on the map. Once a company has the Netherlands in its sights, we examine in which region or city this company can best excel. Because that is of course what it is all about in the end, even if it is not in your own region. Matter of award.

'Regional promotion abroad makes little sense. Most people have heard of Amsterdam, but it often stops there. So to ensure that the Northern Netherlands comes into the picture, the Netherlands as a country must first be promoted. That's why cooperation between the various regions is so important'

Invest in Holland: not one city or region on the map, but all of the Netherlands. Nobody at that fair knows Groningen, Friesland or Drenthe

IFT 2018: Invest in Holland to Chicago

The NFIA and its partners determine extremely carefully which foreign trade shows are worthy of participation or visit. The annual IFT, "Institute of Food Technologists," is one such fair. For five days in July, this is the hotspot for the food industry; all suppliers of the most diverse ingredients for food can be found at this fair. The latest developments, techniques and technologies; you will learn it all here. A very impressive fair with no less than 1,200 exhibitors, 100 learning sessions and 23,000 visitors. You can imagine why we need to be visible at this very fair with our own stand.

It was the 3rd time we were present at this fair with a booth with the Agri & Food team of Invest in Holland, this year as part of the Holland Pavilion. The advantage of working together in a Holland Pavilion is that you are more visible (orange color and tulips) and can refer to each other more easily. Besides Invest in Holland, there were 5 more companies in the Holland Pavilion, as well as the Dutch Consulate Chicago, agricultural attach├ęs from Washington and the Top Sector Agri & Food.

Agrifood is one of Invest in Holland's focus sectors and is shaped by the 'National acquisition team Agri & food'. This team meets several times a year to discuss how best to attract foreign companies within this sector to the Netherlands. Other focus sectors include Life Science & Health, Information Technology and Chemistry. More about the NFIA

Good preparation

Good preparation is half the battle, especially at such a huge trade show. An ironclad strategy was discussed in advance. Which companies are interesting and why? Who do we want to talk to? How do we start a conversation? What do we want to achieve? How do we handle after-sales?

The results don't lie

Consequently, the results do not lie; it was a successful fair.

Discussions were held with more than 125 companies, more than half of which were really interesting. Interesting because they themselves might come to the Netherlands, because it allows us to get to know other companies, or because it ensures that subsidiaries of foreign companies stay in the Netherlands. The hit? 2 companies from England want to establish themselves in the Netherlands.

Of course, all the interesting leads will be followed up; we will be working hard on that in the near future.

"The cooperation between the different regions is unique and more and more countries are realizing that."

Concrete results

  • More than 125 companies spoken to.
  • More than half of these are of interest, over 10% in the short term (within 2 years).
  • 10% of calls expand the relevant network.
  • 2% of conversations reinforce retention of companies already located here. What is going on at their parent organization?
  • 2 hard leads from England: companies looking to establish themselves in the Netherlands

Cooperation strengthens all regions

Other regions are also pleased with the strong cooperation and joint marketing of the Netherlands. Kyra Manders - Foreign Investment Developer at LIOF (kind of NOM but for Limburg): "It is a nice challenge to merge the regional stories into a strong Dutch story. The cooperation between the different regions is unique and more and more countries are realizing that"

The power of repetition

Whether we will go to this fair again next year? "Probably yes," says Joep de Vries, 'Foreign Invest manager Agri & Food' at the NOM. "After three years, we can say that being visible as a country is paying off. The results of the first participation were minimal, of the second already slightly better, and this year we are only really noticing that there is more interest in the Netherlands. We have had successful conversations. So it is important to maintain this and remain visible, it would be a shame to stop now. Of course we will evaluate this fair and decide together whether or not to continue with it for the next three years."

Do you have questions about this fair, the NFIA, Invest in Holland or the work of the Foreign Direct Investment department? If so, please contact Joep de Vries,