Talking Shop with… Xavier Poncin

The executive director of SIAL Canada discusses the show’s move to Toronto.

Grocery Headquarters: Tell us about the move from Montreal to Toronto?
Xavier Poncin:
The decision to move to Toronto came about quite naturally. SIAL Montreal showed signs of attrition following its annual frequency that began in 2008.

This resulted in a need to reinvigorate the show, to put it in a growth position and become one of the leading shows in North America. After a complete market analysis, the first step was to change the name to create a more national brand—SIAL Canada.

Next, Toronto was an obvious choice for a number of reasons, among them being that the area is the economic driver in Canada. It is also closer in profile to a U.S. city, attracting American business people more easily than Montreal.

In addition, the Quebec-Ontario Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2010 will promote more simplified exchanges between these two provinces. This last point is very important because it will allow us to perpetuate our show in the two cities.

You could say that at present our ideas and conclusions were on target because we are now setting a record of 35% growth and Canadian and international participation is larger than we have ever seen.

What is the benefit to retailers?
The change has already resulted in a level of growth we have never seen and we’re on the verge of beating the record for number of exhibitors.

U.S. visitors will be able to discover a large number of new products from 40 countries and, above all, discover the best showing ever of Canadian know-how in food manufacturing. Never has the national representation been as all-encompassing as this edition.

It’s a real change and I believe that everyone would like to share our growth, especially in these troubled times. Coming to Toronto in May is an excellent way to find the route to future business expansion.

Why should American retailers attend SIAL Canada 2011?
It depends on what they are looking for, but we offer something for everyone. But if we must emphasize one key argument for U.S. buyers to attend, it’s the high quality of Canadian products. Never will the show have had as strong of a representation coming from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, Québec, Nova Scotia and other areas.

When are the dates and venue for the event?
The next show will take place May 11-13 at the Metro Convention Centre of Toronto, which is downtown.  On May 9-11, 2012, we return to the Palais des congrès in Montreal.

What should they do if they want more information about the event?
I invite them to visit our website and to subscribe to our newsletters. They can also become fan of our Facebook page.

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