Between 8 and 10 November, in Tecnópolis, Buenos Aires, for the first time in history, over 300 international and local buyers from major firms from 45 countries of the 5 continents held business meetings with 300 exporting companies of food and beverages from 24 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Considering the international round LAC Flavors, that took place as a run-up to the exhibition, the volume of closed and projected business deals of the four days rose above USD 300 million. On average, each exhibitor had 20 business meetings.
Aliment.AR, organized by Exponenciar S. A., is an answer to the need to empower Argentine global businesses and to transform the country into the world supermarket. This objective is shared by the national government, represented in the exhibition by the Ministry of Agroindustry, the private sector, represented by COPAL (the coordinator of food manufacturers industry), and strategic bodies, such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Argentine Investment and Trade Promotion Agency.
“Thanks to this public-private integration and to the trust given by this important group of companies that took part of this edition, Aliment.AR has fulfilled the objective of promoting the food exports of the region and of creating new business opportunities all around the world. We have also counted with a space for debate to analyze the strategies to attract investments that boost the country potential,” said Rodrigo Ramírez, General Manager of Exponenciar S. A.
In Aliment.AR the quality of the buyers and their demand exceeded the exhibitors’ offer. The sectors with the most deals were fresh fruits, oils and dairy products.
“Our foreign trade managers had busy days during this exhibition, something we had not seen in many years. We got 294 requests of information and we added 26 clients. To reach that in three days was like winning the lottery,” says Silvia Cuffia, of SN Estudio Aduanero, in charge of providing customs clearance and legal advice for foreign trade.
Cuffia tells that they offered advice to different companies, including a candy and confectionery company making about to enter the Dutch market with two pallets, and five Argentine companies that want to import rice, candy and pasta from Guyana.
Aliment.AR meant a real test and a motivation for expansion, certification and plant approval for SMEs that are analyzing the possibility to develop markets. They also had the chance to receive counseling by bodies such as SENASA, the Argentine agri-food sanity and quality service.
A buyer from Spain plans to import peanuts for USD 7.5 million, with a closed order for 5000 tons, and Mercedes Barilatti, of Compañía Central Pampeana, tells that during the exhibition she was contacted by meat buyers from China and Canada, the latter being a new market for the company. She met one buyer during the round and the other, at their stand. She estimates USD 2 million in potential deals.
Alunco produces premium mineral water. Enrique Geddes, commercial representative, said they are about to close deals with England for the restaurant chain Gaucho, of London. He was also contacted by the Chinese buyers.
The head exports at El Turista, a chocolate manufacturer, Alejandro Saiz, is happy to have started to recover lost markets. In addition to the contact with buyers from different parts of the world, he also mentions the possibility to sign a deal with Falabella and with the Chinese supermarkets of Argentina, that add up to over 3000 stores.
Spirulina Fox is the name of the product manufactured by Oil Fox, whose President is Jorge Kaloustian. Spirulina is said to be “the most ancient food of the future”. The entrepreneur states that 70% of the visitors of their stand were foreigners. They run out of business cards. They have branches in Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico, United States, Italy, Australia and China, and they are Halal and Kosher certified. During Aliment.AR they advanced their agreements with the company Danone to include spirulina in yogurts and juices. They also met with Citrusvil, Baggio and Gelitalia, a company that sells ingredients and could incorporate it as natural colorant.
Mirella Suárez is the owner of Don Eugenio, a SME from the province of Buenos Aires. They elaborate cheese and for many years now they have taken part of Caminos y Sabores, an exhibition of Argentine regional foods, tourism and craftmanship also organized by Exponenciar S. A., that has had 13 editions since 2005. Now Don Eugenio is ready for an international launch. At Aliment.AR they contacted companies from Paraguay, Chile and the United States, and they had the chance to work with SENASA in the certifications needed for each of these markets.
Legume is the company of Julio Galassi, from Córdoba. They elaborate healthy gluten free pasta based on pulses and suitable for vegans. In addition to the participation at business rounds and the contacts that will allow them to export to various markets that found Legume products unique, they met a local store that is going to include their products in their portfolio.
On the buyers’ side, the stories are multiplied. Juan Facundo Fernández represents the Dutch company Global Food Connection. They specialize in all kinds of meat for the Chinese market. They have recently opened a branch in Serbia to export to the Balkan region, especially for Russia, very interesting destinations for local producers as they are non-traditional markets. The aim is to export fresh fruit, fish and oil, and their focus is in Argentina.
Marcos Alonso, of Fruleco, Barcelona, is a broker specialized in pulses, nuts and tinned foods. “Argentina has competitive prices in chickpeas, beans and peanuts. I profit from these trips to work with other products I am less familiarized with”, he said, glad to have made new contacts to incorporate flour, powdered milk, and organic products.
As service suppliers, Emalpack sells supplies and machinery for foreign trade packaging. They met 60 potential clients. They sold two pieces of equipment and project over 100,000 dollars in new businesses. They have already confirmed their participation at the second edition of Aliment.AR.
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