When you think that Argentina has nearly 60% inflation, a currency more used to defaults than glory and a macroeconomic profile usually only second to Venezuela’s, you wonder how this country keeps going. You couldn’t be blamed for imagining a very gloomy Buenos Aires, lost in the drama of its own crises. But that’s not what you see when you visit this gorgeous city (my favourite city in the world) – and one thing that always amazes me is the dynamism of its food scene.
Last week I visited FITHEP Expoalimentaria, a trade show much focused on food technology and ingredients for cafes, restaurants, bars, ice-cream shops, patisseries, bakeries, breweries, caterers and food service in general.
So let me share with you just a few thoughts on this particular show:
- The first thing that caught my eye was just how busy the venue was, and how big. I wasn’t expecting this given the country’s “situation”. Food service in general in Buenos Aires is incredibly dynamic.
- Italian companies are very well-placed in Argentina for many historic and cultural reasons. The only other country I saw well-represented was Brazil.
- Argentinean companies are also exporting foodtech and food ingredients to the region, and they manufacture for the local market.
- Some global trends are clearly present such as gluten-free, vegan and even Kosher.
- Argentina is not just Buenos Aires. There is potential in smaller but very dynamic and often rather well-off cities, too.
- It is important to understand your market. Unless you know about the local obsession with ice-cream, pizzas, empanadas and milanesas, you would be missing a lot of potential!
- Trade shows still matter and they are good ways of building your network, getting to know your markets and, ultimately, closing deals.
Overall, a very interesting, varied, well-organised and upbeat show for a sector that has potential for UK exporters.
Talking about shows, we are off to a few more in Argentina this year (including packaging + agriculture) – what are your marketing plans for the region this year? Get in touch with us if we can help – and follow us on Twitter for pictures, videos and more!