Commercial exchanges of food and beverages between Spain and Japan are experiencing an excellent moment
The International Food, Beverage and Food Service Show is already preparing its next edition, which will take place from 20th to 23rd April at Fira de Barcelona. Alimentaria 2020, in addition to being the sector’s most important event in Spain, is an international benchmark, which is why countries such as Japan have increased their interest in the show. In this regard, in 2020 the Japanese country will make its debut as an exhibitor at the event with a national pavilion, under the umbrella of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
The Spanish food sector’s trade with Japan is experiencing an excellent moment, which is reflected in the exponential growth of exports and imports between the two countries over the last five years. As confirmation of these good relations, the Asian country will have an institutional presence in Alimentaria 2020 for the first time through a national pavilion organised by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), which will occupy more than 250 m2 of exhibition space.
As Chihiro Watanabe, Assitant Director of Jetro in Spain, explains, ‘Japanese food and sake are becoming increasingly popular in Spain, so many suppliers from Japan are very interested in introducing their products to the Spanish market. In addition, Alimentaria is one of the industry’s largest trade shows in Europe, so it will be a great opportunity for Japanese firms to enter, not only in Spain, but also in other countries on the European continent.
As far as Japanese visitors are concerned, these professionals will find the sector’s largest range of products at the event, both nationally and internationally, as well as new trends in the industry. Thus, among the Japanese visitors who attended Alimentaria 2018, more than twenty purchasing companies stood out, who attended under the auspices of the Hosted Buyers programme, promoted by the show’s organisers. These include Daiei Sangyo Kaisha, Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores, Diverse, Iberia Trading, Kirindo and Kobe Bussan.
According to the Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB), Japan is one of the most attractive markets with the greatest potential for the food sector. Thus, in 2018, the organization placed it as the third priority market for the Spanish food and beverage industry – only ahead of the United States and China and Hong Kong.
The Spanish food industry exported products to Japan to the value of 848 million euros in 2018, an increase of 12.6% over the last decade, according to the FIAB. The products from Spain most in demand by the Japanese are processed and preserved meat – of which more than 50% corresponds to Iberian pork products – (427 million euros) and olive oil (125 million euros).
Japan, ninth recipient of Spanish food
These figures make Japan the ninth largest recipient of Spanish food products in the world and the third largest among non-EU countries. According to the FIAB, its high purchasing power makes this country a very attractive destination for the competitiveness of Spanish food and drink products, which are widely recognised by Japanese consumers.
Furthermore, the entry into force this year of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan will boost commercial exchange between Spanish and Japanese companies in the food industry.
In this sense, according to the Japanese Ministry of Finance, Spain bought Japanese food industry products to the value of 3.2 million euros. The main items imported by Spain were beverages (1.5 M euro), cereal preparations (0.9 M euro), and coffee and tea (0.6 M euro).
As J. Antonio Valls, managing director of Alimentaria Exhibitions, points out, “Japan is full of opportunities for the Spanish food and beverage industry, especially in sectors such as meat and cheese, products which are highly valued by consumers in the Asian country. In turn, for Japanese companies, participating in and attending the benchmark exhibition for the food and beverage industry in Spain is a great opportunity to increase their sales in the Spanish market and its areas of influence, where the Japanese food and beverage sector still has great potential for growth.
Alimentaria returns with renewed content
Alimentaria will be held from 20 to 23 April 2020 at the Fira de Barcelona, Gran Vía venue. The show is preparing a unique edition with renewed content, aimed primarily at strengthening its business character and projecting gastronomy as its differential value, under the sign of innovation that characterises the event. In 2020, Alimentaria aims to renew the internationalisation levels achieved at the last edition, which was attended by nearly 4,500 exhibitor companies, 1,000 of them from 70 countries, and 150,000 professionals, 45,000 of them from 156 countries.
The event comprises the meat (Intercarn), dairy (Interlact), canning (Expoconser), confectionery and snacks (Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionary), Mediterranean diet, fresh produce, olive oil and vegetables (Mediterranean Foods) and Food Service (Restaurama) shows. Along with them, Grocery Foods will bring together the main consumer goods companies. For its part, International Pavilions – which, five months before the start of Alimentaria 2020, has already exceeded 80% of its sales, an unprecedented figure compared to that achieved in the months prior to the previous editions of the event – will bring together all the non-Spanish products, while Lands of Spain will do the same for the national production of the various Spanish autonomous communities.
As a new feature, Alimentaria 2020 will include the Alimentaria Trends show, where the latest production and consumption trends will be presented, such as delicatessen foods (Fine Foods), organically produced foods (Organic Foods), allergen-free foods (Free From), Halal foods (Halal Foods) and functional foods (Functional Foods).
For the second edition in a row, Alimentaria will once again be held with Hostelco – the International Restaurant, Hotel and Community Equipment Show -, joining forces to provide distribution and the Horeca channel with the most complete and comprehensive range of food, gastronomy and hotel and restaurant equipment. Both shows will jointly organise activities with great added value, such as The Experience, a space in which workshops, gastronomic classrooms and showcookings by prestigious chefs will take place.