Manel González. Journalist
This is a crucial year for Spain's meat sector, as it's the first year that Meat Attraction will be held, which is the first fair organized by what is the fourth most-important industrial sector of Spain's economy. From October 18th to the 20th, IFEMA will offer a "space for business and sector representation," which is receiving a very positive response from companies and professionals, according to an interview with the fair's director, Carlos González García de la Barga.
Manel González.- Where did the idea for this fair come from?
Carlos González.- The meat industry has been interested in organizing its own fair in Madrid to help SMEs further their internationalization efforts and to bring together the interests of everyone involved in the sector. It's clear that, as the fourth most-important industry for the Spanish economy, with revenues of over 22 billion euros and exports of 5 billion euros, it needs an adequate business platform in Spain, focused mainly on strengthening our exports, facilitating contact with international buyers, and accessing new markets while also strengthening the Spanish market. That's what we want to offer with our fair, which is being organized in cooperation with the trade association ANICE, with which we're developing this ambitious project.
And we're doing it in Madrid, which is a strategic location for the sector, as it has an outstanding communications network and infrastructure, and IFEMA, the Trade Fair Institution of Madrid, is one of the largest in Europe.
M. G.- What are the objectives for Meat Attraction?
C. G.- Meat Attraction aims to provide a place for business and for industry representation, a space that helps show the sector's potential and which boosts its innovation and export capacity, especially that of SMEs. In that sense, the fair aims to act as an important driver of their internationalization, while reinforcing the position of Spanish products in foreign markets.
The goal is to provide networking opportunities, where all members of the industry can interact. On the one hand, slaughterhouses, cutting rooms, processing companies, and companies specialized in storage and transport and on the other, the players that shape demand for sales and distribution to the Spanish and international markets, both in retail and in HoReCa.
M. G.- What segments of the meat industry will be represented at the fair?
C. G.- Meat Attraction will offer a broad overview of the meat industry, organized into two large exhibition areas. We'll have fresh and frozen products, including an extensive range of meat by-products, products with PDO, IGP and TSG certifications and certification marks, and meats and meat by-products with organic, halal and kosher certification. The second area will display equipment and solutions for the industry and distribution.
M. G.- How many visitors and exhibitors do you expect?
C. G.- It's still early to talk about participation stats, but I would highlight that the announcement, which has the support of ANICE, has been very well received by both companies and processionals.
IFEMA is working hard to attract a range of visitors to the fair including wholesalers, importers and exporters, commercial and retail distribution chains, hotels, restaurants and other groups, and to organize a strong selection of producers of meat and meat by-products, as well as members of ancillary and services industries.
On the other hand, we're working on an ambitious selection of guests with a view to attracting national and foreign opinion leaders in procurement, distribution and HoReCa, from countries that are the most interesting for Spanish companies. There will also be buyers invited by IFEMA, at the proposal of exhibiting companies, which will enable them to obtain the most benefit from their participation in Meat Attraction and to access new business opportunities and new foreign markets.
M. G.- Why did you decide to have this first edition coincide with Fruit Attraction?
C. G.- Meat Attraction is part of a brand that is broadly recognized by the international food sector, thanks to Fruit Attraction, which has become one of the largest fairs in the world for the fruit and vegetable industry. Both events aim to shine a light on fresh products. In fact, we hope to organize them at the same time with a view to leveraging synergies and the call for procurement managers from national and international distribution chains, to create a major fair for fresh foods in southern Europe.
M. G.- Spain is a leader in meat exports worldwide. How will the fair help strengthen sector internationalization?
C. G.- The core idea of our strategy for boosting internationalization is the focus on international procurement managers I mentioned. We want to attract powerful buyers, from the main target markets, so that they can see the high quality of Spanish products and our companies' innovative capacity firsthand. IFEMA is also working in particular to help SMEs develop valuable contacts with international buyers, and explore their capacity to access new markets and eventually export their products.