Alimentaria has already embarked on its journey around the world to identify and open up new foreign markets for exhibitor companies at its next edition, to be held 31 March–3 April. Alimentaria Exhibitions is focusing its international promotion activities on markets in Latin America, North America and Asia, which have a great deal of growth potential for agri-food exports.
To date, Alimentaria’s organizers have held meetings with distributors, importers and associations in Japan, the U.S.A., Dubai and Mexico. The search for buyers will soon continue on to China, Brazil and France, as Europe continues to be a favored destination.
The managing director of Alimentaria Exhibitions, J. Antonio Valls, notes that at this edition, Alimentaria is committed to internationalisation in order to strengthen the sector’s focus on international expansion and help participating companies gain access to new markets. Valls states that the main aim of the show is to ‘present the scale and potential of agri-food market exports to international agents.’ At Alimentaria 2014, it is anticipated that the number of international buyers will increase and more than 8,000 business meetings will be scheduled between exhibitors and professionals from visiting delegations from 60 countries.
At its previous edition, the number of foreign visitors to Alimentaria rose 11%, attracting close to 40,000 professionals from 143 countries, primarily in Europe, Latin America and Asia. However, the show’s international presence is also measured by the country of origin of its exhibitor companies. At the next event, 32.5% of the almost 4,000 companies expected to participate will be from abroad.
Promotion at international trade shows
Its promotional activities have led Alimentaria to participate in leading international trade shows such as Gulf Food (Dubai), Prowein (Germany), Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisboa (Portugal) Alimentaria México and the Summer Fancy Food in New York, where it will share a stand with Culinary Collective, the leader in gourmet product distribution.
In Mexico, a delegation from Alimentaria has met with purchasing and import managers at major supermarket chains and gourmet retailers, including Palacio de Hierro, Liverpool, City Market-Comercial Mexicana, Cheldraui, Walmart, Sam’s Club, La Europea and La Divina. Contact has also been made with the National Wholesale Grocers’ Association (ANAM in its Spanish acronym), National Association of Importers & Exporters of the Republic of Mexico (ANIERM in its Spanish acronym) and Proméxico to arrange visits from trade missions to the next edition of the Barcelona trade show. Brazil, Colombia and Peru are also target countries for promotional activities and meetings with industry associations, importers and supermarkets.
A larger Japanese presence
Japan is a major importer of Spanish food and beverages, primarily oil, meat, wine and gourmet products. Taking advantage of the Spain-Japan Dual Year celebrations – beginning this June and commemorating 400 years of exchange between the two countries – Alimentaria is working on various projects to increase the Japanese presence at the show.
Japan’s supermarket association will be organizing a visit by a delegation of buyers, who will take part in Alimentaria’s Hosted Buyers Program and present a seminar on the retail sector in their country. In addition, Japan’s wine and spirits importers and meat buyers associations have also shown an interest in attending Alimentaria with their own delegations.
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is also considering the possibility of setting up an official pavilion at the show to present the best in Japanese sake, tofu, seaweed and whisky products. Additionally, The Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan (OSAJ), in partnership with the International Olive Oil Council, will organise a competition at Alimentaria to choose the best international olive oil. It will also present a seminar on olive oil sales strategies and consumption potential in Japan at The Alimentaria Hub.
Focus on other Asian countries
The United Arab Emirates is another key market for attracting visitors and exhibitors to Alimentaria, particularly because of its purchasing power for the food service sector. Distributors, importers and local retailers such as Choithrams, Aramtec, Federal Foods, Truebell, Lulu group International, Greenhouse and Emirates Gourmet took part in an event organised by FIAB (Spanish acronym for the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation) and Alimentaria last February in Dubai.
Alimentaria 2014 is also being promoted in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines by means of an agreement between Alimentaria Exhibitions and Acc1ó (Government of Catalonia agency for the promotion of Catalan companies abroad), with a direct presence in each of these countries. For its part, the show has received a delegation of buyers from India and continues its promotional activities in the EU. European Union countries are widely represented at Alimentaria, as they continue to be one of the main destinations for Spanish agri-food exports.
Horacio González Alemán, managing director of the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB in its Spanish acronym), is committed to ‘taking advantage of Spain’s excellent raw materials and culinary culture, and promoting added value in products in order to maintain the pace of Spanish agri-food exports, which have been growing at an annual rate of almost 10% for the past three years.’
Maximum international exposure
Alimentaria has made its international strategy a priority for many years. At the 1998 edition, Alimentaria worked with just four international agents, while today it has more than 30 trade agents around the world. The result has been a spectacular increase in foreign visitors over this period, going from 6,000 professionals to close to 40,000.
In the current environment, international expansion is one of the most effective routes to competitiveness for the agri-food industry. Even the show’s image has taken on this philosophy. Barcelona agency La Sencilla has represented the Alimentaria egg – icon of the show from the very start– in the process of bursting open, symbolising international expansion and the reach of the trade show in international markets.
Barcelona, site of major international trade show events such as EIBTM, the Mobile World Congress and Alimentaria itself, held in the modern Gran Via venue, is one of the ten most visited cities in the world. The city boasts significant historic and cultural heritage, and Barcelona offers a modern hotel infrastructure and first-rate commercial, leisure, cultural and tourist options.