There is one trade show that everyone who works in food and drink all over the world knows about, and that is SIAL. This June, the mega show will take in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The organisers estimate that there will be 500 exhibiting brands, 25 international pavilions, and 15,000 professional visitors. We will be there. And so will be UKTI and the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) providing British businesses with TAP funding. Clearly, it is not a show to miss out.

I have a confession to make. I am actually quite excited about FISPAL, the trade show that runs in parallel to SIAL. FISPAL Tecnologia focuses on packaging, processes and logistics for the food and drink industries. Now, there I see plenty of potential for British companies. Margins are larger and visions are more long-termed, a good combination of cashflow, patience and time, which are essential in Latin America.

On another note, I was disappointed to see that all UKTI TAP funding for Latin America trade shows in 2013 is restricted to Brazil. Yes, Brazil offers plenty of potential and its appeal is unquestionable, but British businesses would be wrong to think this is an easy market. Or the only market.

Brazil is not an easy market. It is well known for its bureaucracy and corruption, for example. Competition is high, margins are low and it can take years to get yourself established here. I wonder if British food and drink SMEs have realistic opportunities about this huge (and potentially very profitable) market. I also wonder what support is there for those companies beyond a trade show, and actually beyond researching a market and appointing a distributor.

And, Brazil is not the only market.  Check out other trade shows in the region, such as FITHEP ExpoAlimentaria Mercosur 2013 in Argentina or Espacio Food and Service in Chile. You can watch our video blog “it’s not just about Brazil” HERE.

While you explore trade shows that could help you in Latin America, let me leave you with some useful information:

–          You will find some really good tips on the Strong and Herd website about exhibiting at international trade shows. For example, read this article by Dick Brentnall.

–          There is a huge number of trade shows in Latin America. We have listed some of them HERE.

–          Not quite sure if a trade show is for you or can’t afford the time or cost just now? Our Trade Show Insider service could be for you.

Happy exhibiting!