Executives from Onizzo, Prunesco, Frutexsa and Superfruit comment on the attendance at this important event for the food industry.

There is agreement in the Chilean prunes industry that their attendance at the SIAL International Food Fair, held last week in Paris, France, was very positive. Not so much because of the closing of businesses, but because of the fact of meeting again with large clients from the main global markets, the networking that is generated there, as well as being clear firsthand about how the industry is and is going to be in 2023.

Indeed, SIAL, a great congress and source of inspiration for the food industry, had not been held for two years due to the pandemic. Therefore, there was high expectation to be present at this world event, which is regularly attended by some 140,000 visitors.

Claudia Marangunic, manager of Exports and logistics at Onizzo, was pleased with the “mission accomplished”, that is, “contacting the customers we frequent every season and renewing business relationships after a while without seeing each other during Covid. They were very willing to close deals for the new season.”

And she adds: “Onizzo’s presence was not on the sales side, since we had previously placed the large prunes. We had something of small caliber left, and that we left compromised. The importance of being present at these types of fairs to move the fruit in the long term has been demonstrated,” she says.

The executive has participated in multiple SIAL since 2010, and even so she never ceases to be surprised “at the effort our clients continue to make to visit this fair; as well as the presence of China as exhibitors covering more and more products”.

Onizzo’s main customers are in Europe: Poland, England, Holland, distributed between wholesalers and repackers. Other important markets are Mexico and Guatemala.

Marcelo Lacunza, commercial manager of Prunesco, gets good dividends from the fair. It is not one of the largest, but yes “it was the first where we returned to normality. It has been good to meet the clients, to be in person with them, to see their faces, therein lies the success of this SIAL”, he comments.

He also points out that many clients from Europe, Asia, and Latin America were present. From Asia, “we visited some (in previous periods), but it is different from going to see you at a fair.”

Likewise, it assigns relevance to these meetings to find out how the markets, the industry, and the 2023 projections are, detecting that in the Old Continent, the European economic crisis, with high inflation, is what it considers the most worrying, regardless of whether Chile is permanently exploring other markets and businesses, says a Prunesco executive.

In the case of Frutexsa, its commercial manager, Sebastián Plaza, comments that, post-Covid, people are beginning to see a good return to this type of activity, with an audience similar to the good Gulfood fair, held in Dubai, at beginning of the year. He highlights the good organization of ProChile.

“Now, in SIAL the clients arrived and there were business closures. There is pressure to buy prunes, there is little supply and availability; it is noticeable that in Chile there are few prunes left and France had a bad harvest”, he says. There is a significant demand from Europe and the Middle East to buy large sizes, which have very good prices this season. Small sizes, as well as plums in natural condition, have a significant demand from China, although their prices have fallen.

In Superfruit they also consider that this SIAL has been positive. Although it is not a fair with so many business closings -like Anuga, in Germany-, José Antonio Soffia, deputy sales manager of said company, points out that in this SIAL -the third one he attends-, it is allowed to see several customers from various fruit markets, and in that sense, there are efficiencies.

“SIAL has reduced its commercial prominence, since, in general, we have almost everything sold at this time and prunes are no exception, but it is still worth it for the contacts, to see how the industry is doing, we can share with other companies , knowing about the competition from the United States and France, how their harvests and volumes are coming; Conversations take place that in other instances would not take place”.

About 80% of the Chilean export force of prunes was present at SIAL, with some type of representation and through the companies that are part of Chileprunes, the Association of Processors and Exporters of Dry Plums from Chile, which has 11 associated exporters, and that seeks the development of the sector in the long term, carrying out multiple actions of promotion and opening of markets, among others.

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