Thursday, 10 October 2013

Anuga food fair demonstrates the importance of ‘face time’

Even in this age of virtual communications, there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings. That message could be heard loud and clear from exhibitors at Anuga, the world’s largest food fair, which finished in Cologne yesterday.

With over 155,000 people attending the biennial show in 2011, Anuga offers an international “shop window” for an enormous range of food and drink products. For anyone who hasn’t been to an event on that scale before, seeing the corridors of the huge Kölnmesse (the world’s fifth largest exhibition centre) thronged with people from all over the world is a truly impressive spectacle.

Three out of 11 exhibition halls at Anuga are dedicated to meat, making it an important fixture in the EBLEX calendar due to the opportunities it offers to promote quality assured beef and lamb to the global market.

The busy EBLEX stand at Anuga
Our stand, which was themed as a gastro-pub, acted as a meeting place for UK exporters and importers from around the world, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to find out more about quality assured beef and lamb from EBLEX experts, who covered everything from production systems to cooking techniques.

Product samples are crucial and we offered a range of innovative beef and lamb taster dishes throughout the show. On Monday, traditionally the busiest day of the event, we served up close to 300 dishes – a record number!

The UK presence at Anuga was no doubt boosted by the attendance of Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson, who launched a major export campaign at the event. During his visit he participated in a red meat industry roundtable, organised by EBLEX and chaired by AHDB chairman John Godfrey, which addressed actions Government could take to support the opening of key markets to UK red meat exports.

Mr Paterson also did a tour of the UK stands, and even took time out on the EBLEX stand to sample a steak! His willingness to engage with the industry and his enthusiasm for exports were certainly well-received by those at the show.
Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson meets exhibitors
on the EBLEX stand

Away from the exhibition halls, EBLEX and BPEX organised the British Meat Dinner, which took place on Monday night at the Wolkenburg, an impressive baroque venue in Cologne. Around 250 contacts from around the world attended the event, which is designed to cement existing relationships and build new ones.

Trade fairs such as Anuga require a significant investment from EBLEX, both financially and in terms of resource. The results certainly aren’t immediate, but the healthy recovery of the export market for UK beef and lamb in recent years is due in no small part to events like this helping put us on the world map.

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