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A fruit importer is someone who specializes in importing fruit. This includes exotic fruits which may not be available in a particular country as well as fruits grown overseas out of season. Fruit importers work with grocery stores, produce distributors, hotels, and other businesses which have a need for fruit. There are no educational requirements to work as fruit importers, with most people learning on the job while working for fruit import companies and associated businesses.
Fruit importers make fruit available by networking with growers internationally and generating a catalog of items which customers can order from. One important aspect of a fruit importer's work can be the promotion of exotic fruit which residents of one country may not be familiar with. The kiwifruit, for example, was once little known and is now widely available because of fruit importers who introduced kiwis to their customers and encouraged them to start adding them to their orders.
Because this work takes place on an international level, a fruit importer must be familiar with the laws and bureaucratic processes of several nations. Some may contract out work like trucking and shipping to other companies, while others prefer to supervise this work themselves to ensure that it is done properly. This is especially critical with delicate fruits which can be damaged by rough handling during shipping, which would cause a decline in their value.
Fruit importers often establish headquarters in port cities and near airports so that they are conveniently located by their warehouses. A fruit importer may specialize in a particular area of interest, such as bringing in organically produced fruit or focusing on tropical fruits. Others carry a general and broad array of products, including organic and conventional produce along with fruits from all over the world. By special arrangement, a fruit importer may be able to obtain fruit which is not ordinarily available in the catalog.
This type of work is seasonally sensitive, as trends in fruit consumption shift from season to season. Fruit importers also need to be alert to trends in the food industry and make appropriate contacts with farmers to obtain in-demand fruit. Particular fruits go in and out of style in response to trends set by noted chefs and restaurants. A fruit importer who is slow on the uptake can be left with expensive stock that goes unsold, in addition to frustrated customers who are clamoring for fruits that aren't available.
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