As we returned from the Anuga food fair in Cologne, the biggest of its kind in the world, a clear question sprang to mind was it worth the queues, the inflated hotel prices and the stress?
Hall 6, the huge meat emporium, remains the biggest meat-trading room in the world. It is the centre of commerce, not only within Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world, but for traders from the Far East, south-east Asia and any other conceivable part of the globe. It is this unique setting and activity that makes you forget the expense and tired feet.
With budgets under pressure, stands are much more cost-conscious than in the past and companies and organisations go to fewer shows, choosing the larger ones. These, often based in Germany where they benefit from a great infrastructure and a market with critical mass, are maintaining their appeal and attendance. These large fairs include Anuga, SIAL in Paris and the Eurotier livestock show in Hanover.
New shows spring up and disappear and medium-sized national fairs find it difficult to maintain their audience. There are simply too many of them for an industry where players are getting fewer and larger. Obviously, some shows, such as Tutto Foods in Milan, Alimentaria in Barcelona, Gulfood in Dubai and Hofex in Hong Kong, have a regional appeal. Smaller shows with a focus on foodservice can provide value for money as part of a marketing strategy.
In practice, regional, national or international shows have little relevance for major retailers, as relationships are built over the long term. On the other hand, they remain a choice medium of communication for scattered targets such as restaurants, wholesalers, butchers and processors. The most common error is using them as an end rather than a means.
Jean-Pierre Garnier, BPEX/EBLEX Export Manager
27 October, 2016, 8:30
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