With 400 million consumers in the region, the economic potential of South America is huge. The food industry is just one sector that is experiencing rapid growth and ingredients suppliers are understandably keen to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the region. BDB has recently returned from Food Ingredients South America, where we gained first-hand experience of doing business in São Paulo, Brazil. Here, Jenny gives an overview of the exhibition as well as some tips on managing trade show activity in South America.
Last month, Lauren and I joined an estimated 11,000 food and beverage professionals in attending Food Ingredients South America 2012. Attracting visitors from more than 50 countries, the show takes place every two years with exhibitors ranging from global ingredients suppliers to local players in the Brazilian market.
The South American food market
Judging by the popularity of the show, it is clear that the South American food and beverage market is thriving. Brazilian consumers are health conscious and willing to experiment with new foods, which will surely encourage innovation in the future. The flavour combinations on offer at the show may not be common in Europe, but the exhibitor list was packed with familiar names that have seen the potential for new product development in the region.
Promoting products and services into new territories can be a challenge, but an international, integrated marketing communications campaign is essential if a business is to succeed overseas. We provided both press and stand support to our clients at Food Ingredients South America – meeting with editors from across the region to share the latest news and developments, while also designing, producing and building Brazilian Portuguese booth materials.
Success in South America
Relationships are the key to success in South America, as with any market, and being sensitive to cultural differences is essential for any business looking to grow export sales. Below are my top tips to enjoy a successful trade show in Brazil:
- Use Portuguese. Unsurprisingly, the majority of visitors to Food Ingredients South America 2012 were Brazilian. Spanish and English are spoken, but selling is tough if you’re not communicating in the same language as your customers.
- Allow time. São Paulo is home to 11 million people and has notoriously bad traffic. Give yourself at least an hour to travel across the city – more at rush hour.
- Be patient. Doing business in Brazil involves a lot of red tape. Customs regulations are very strict, so choose a trusted freight supplier if shipping literature or samples into the country.
- Stay safe. Seek advice from a local on the best places to stay and on the safest areas to visit. Avoid carrying valuables.
- Get plenty of rest. Show hours in Brazil are late, with the exhibition open into the evening. Make sure you have enough staff to cover the booth for the duration of the show.
- Have fun! Brazilians are famed for their hospitality and a trade show is no exception. Have plenty of food and drink to offer guests and arrange on-stand entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your customers and prospects in a more informal setting.
Always remember that communicating in-language is vital. At BDB, we help our clients to reach global audiences by combining our multilingual PR capabilities with trade, technical and scientific expertise. Get in touch today to make sure your voice gets heard in global and regional markets.