The calendar of professional fairs needed to be reactivated in its in-person format and test how they worked after the virtual celebrations that have left a bittersweet taste for most companies. There was a desire to see each other again at a big event, to meet again with colleagues from the union and with clients. Fruit Attraction was the opportunity that many were waiting for. The event for the fruit and vegetable sector, held in Madrid from October 5 to 7, included 32 representatives from the region in the first in-person edition since the start of the pandemic.
With fewer visitors, but more professional than ever. Fruit Attraction 2021 has once again been the great commercial event for the fruit and vegetable sector with the long-awaited reunion after the digital-only edition held last year due to the pandemic. This year, the Ifema pavilions have come back to life with the participation of 1,300 companies from 44 countries in 42,000 square meters of fruit and vegetable offering and professional visitors from 118 nations. Figures that show the good health of the sector, since the event has reached the parameters of the 2018 edition and has obtained 82% of those of its last in-person edition in 2019.
This event has become an essential commercial tool for global distribution in order to plan next year’s campaigns since it is held in October, a key commercial moment for the professional supply and demand of fresh products; and for its geographical location in southern Europe, which strategically positions the fair as the gateway to Europe from Latin America.
An opportunity that also places Extremadura as a strategic point since its participation has once again been notable in this edition. Specifically, 32 companies participated with individual stands, 28 of them in the ‘Fresh Produce’ area, where the Extremadura Avante information point and tasting area was also located. The other four have been represented in the ‘Auxiliary industry’ area. In addition, the Association of Extremadura Fruit Growers (Afruex) and the Scientific and Technological Research Center of Extremadura (Cicytex) have also been present.
An edition in which the meetings have escaped from the screens, recovering presence to engage in face-to-face professional conversations, something that has been highly valued by Extremaduran companies, which also highlight the success in terms of attendance, number of exhibitors and quality and professionalism of business contacts. It has even exceeded expectations. «We expected the fair to be less than it really was. It has been a very professional appointment, more than it was, because people have really come with the interest of doing business and the public has filtered more,” explains Luis Aliseda, manager of Viveros Provedo.
The company, which has a research and innovation center in Don Benito, has participated in the fair with its line of genetic improvement of new high-flavor plum varieties, especially in the late varieties that were maturing at that time. “This has allowed us to have live product there for tasting for the public,” says Aliseda. «It has been very well accepted, especially in the international market, which is where we have the greatest presence. We have had visitors from South Africa or Australia who were very interested in these products that defend a flavor in fruit that we do not yet have in Spain,” he concludes.
This international market has also been one of the main attractions of the fair for La Vendita, an Extremaduran company specialized in aloe vera that was facing its first in-person participation this year. “We are very happy because we arrived with some doubts, especially regarding international assistance, but we have seen representatives from numerous countries and very interested in our product,” says Eva García-Galán, technical director of La Vendita. “Although we work throughout Spain, our target client is outside, in markets such as Germany, England or France, which are pioneers in the use of aloe vera for food,” she adds.
The company, which cultivates its plantation in the Badajoz town of Hernán Cortés, already participated in last year’s Fruit Attraction virtually with a very positive balance and was selected among the finalists as ‘Innovation Hub’ food for its leaflet. aloe vera. “But we knew that the presence of a fair was always going to contribute much more,” acknowledges García-Galán. «We are a relatively young company and anything that helps us make ourselves known is of great help. It has made it possible for us to be able to give them a face and have a closer relationship with current and future clients,” he concludes.
Fruit Attraction thus leaves a good taste in the mouth for the sector that, however, has one of its greatest concerns on the near horizon: the increase in prices of all the inputs needed to produce. A situation that is already causing the first tensions now that sales have once again reflected positive numbers.