Fruit importing is a good industry to tap into since fruit is a diet staple in many regions of the world. If you’re considering importing just one type of fruit, apples are a prime choice. According to Shape Magazine, apples are proven to fill you up, lower cholesterol and the risk of diabetes, fight cancer and even boost your immune system. Best Health Magazine lists even more health benefits of apples, from teeth whitening power and weight control.  When it comes to importing apples, or any other fruit, you want as much information as you can get on where the fruit is grown and harvested, what seasons are best for production, how the fruit is handled for packing and shipping, and the shelf life of the fruit. There are industry trade shows and associations for fruit importers that can also be extremely helpful.  If you’ve never sold fruit in the U.S. before, you’ll want to invest time working with supermarkets, health food stores and other outlets. You can work with fruit buyers so you can quickly start selling the apples when you receive the shipment. When importing anything, you want to be equipped with customs rules and regulations. It would also be wise to look into information on import tariffs. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is full of information to answer commonly asked questions.  In addition to gaining industry knowledge, a trade show is also a great opportunity to meet suppliers and begin business negotiations. ExpoCentral lists trade shows throughout the nation. Choosing your supplier is one of the most crucial steps in the importing process. A tool like ImportGenius is ideal for researching suppliers and making an informed decision. This U.S. customs database gives you access to information on all companies importing apples into the U.S. Besides apples, you can also search any other product and view the supply chain. This is also useful for comparing options among suppliers. By looking at the number of importers that a supplier works with, it gives you an idea of how reputable a particular manufacturer is. If you want to find out who a competitor is working with, simply search them in the database and you can see all the shipments they’ve received.  Here’s a quick example of how Import Genius can work for you. Lets say you’d like to look at companies importing ‘Granny Smith’ apples. Simply type the brand into the database to take a look at a recent shipment. The visual mapping tool illustrates the supply chain, so we’re able to see that ‘STANLEY ORCHARDS SALES, INC.’ works with suppliers ‘TRINIDAD EXPORTS’, also a supplier of ‘Chiquita North America’, a major brand of bananas.  Once you choose your supplier you’ll place your order and determine when and where the shipment will arrive. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of working with a trustworthy and reliable supplier. We say this largely in part because of the next step in the process: setting up payment terms. If you’re working with someone you trust, the easiest way to pay is to issue a down payment. This will save you the hassle of getting a letter of credit from your bank. This alternative takes a lot of time, but allows you to ensure your supplier meets their end of the agreement before submitting payment.  Once the goods are en route to their destination port, you should work with a customs broker who can handle customs documents on your behalf. Your broker will submit the necessary paperwork such as the bill of lading, commercial invoice and packing list. Your broker can also refer you to drayage and freight companies so your goods can be transported from the port to your warehouse. Once you clear the apples through customs you’re ready to start making a profit! Happy importing, and remember; an apple a day keeps the doctor away!