Source: eKapija | Thursday, 08.11.2018.| 11:23
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Belgrade Food Show – High-quality food manufacturers closer to distributors

Visitors at the Belgrade Food Show
Visitors at the Belgrade Food Show (Photo: Asocijacija za promociju srpske hrane)
Ajvar, cheese with truffles, pork crisps, domestic juices, vegan kebabs, aromatic hard yellow cheese, jams, wines... The list is quite long, and those are just some of the specialties presented at the first Belgrade Food Show, held at Hotel Crowne Plaza. The impressions of both the organizer and the attendees are very positive, and the message is that food is certainly one of the biggest Serbian brands.

The show was organized by the Association for the Promotion of Serbian Food, with the support of the USAID Competitive Economy Project, and Belgrade Food Show was in fact a pilot project which was supposed to show whether there's interest and market potential in Serbia. There were 50 to 60 stands at the show, with around 90 exhibitors presenting their products based on fruit, vegetables, meat and milk.

Dejan Randjic of the Association for the Promotion of Serbian Food says for eKapija that Belgrade Food Show has fulfilled the expectations. As he pointed out, the show itself had a specific character, because, in addition to the very successful conference part, it also included the exhibit, which wasn't commercial in character.

– This is not the standard practice, as all exhibitors seek to sell something a have their investment pay off that way. Still, we can say that a significant success was achieved, as even those who had been sceptical saw that one such show was exactly what we needed. We now need to expand this show in order to make it as attractive as possible for those coming from the outside. We had around 90 exhibitors at 50-60 stands this year, and we hope that the number of stands will grow to 200-300 next year – Randjic said.

Dejan Randjic
Dejan Randjic (Photo: Asocijacija za promociju srpske hrane)
As he says, he hopes that Belgrade Food Show will become a way for food manufacturers and traders to find their market, and for those who have a market to find suppliers.

– That's what this is all about, and , of course, once the show becomes much more expo than it is now, we still won't give up on having a strong conference part, which was primary this year. I truly believe that the filled capacities in the two days of the show prove that people need good education, of which there is not enough at the moment in this market, which is one of the most promising markets for us.

This year's show was attended by domestic and foreign experts when it comes to food industry trends, and visitors had the opportunity to attend numerous panels about the examples of good practice and the experiences of producers from Serbia and the region that have overcome all challenges, from starting a business to penetrating the market and achieving growth. The star of the Belgrade Food Show was the renowned British chef Alan Coxon, who talked about combining food, taste certification, premium products and the Superior Taste Award (iTQi), but also the process of evaluating ingredients and food products.

(Photo: Asocijacija za promociju srpske hrane)
How much Serbia needed an event such as the Belgrade Food Show is testified by the exhibitors as well. They largely agree that the show was an excellent opportunity for all food manufacturers in Serbia. Nikola Stanisic of Stanisic Bio, which presented its Sumska Tajna brand at the fair, is one of them. He says that Serbia has waited for something like this for a long time.

– The show was truly fantastic, something that Serbia needed to connect us small producers with foreign and local distributors, an opportunity which no one has provided us with so far. But now there are USAID and the Association for the Promotion of Serbian Food and this is truly a fantastic event – Stanisic told eKapija.

The forest mushroom spread produced under the Sumska Tajna brand is an authentic, high-quality premium food product. In only a year of the company's existence, they have managed to put their products in over 300 stores all over Serbia. The Stanisic company also took part in the Fancy Food Show in new York, and they have big plans for the upcoming period.

– We have received an offer to export our product to the Czech Republic, and the export to America and France begins in January – Stanisic revealed for our portal.

The Association for the Promotion of Serbian Food announces that its first next step is to make a strong operating plan for the next year and prepare the next Belgrade Food Show.

– Until then, however, we also must work on helping producers and supporting their nomination for one of the European quality awards, helping them attend shows in London, New York, or Berlin, but also supporting them and educating them the year-round – Dejan Randjic says.

Numerous small food manufacturers exhibited at this year's Belgrade Food Show, among them Chrono Leskovac, Bee & Well Belgrade, Basket Golubinci, Laloski Novi Sad... and eKapija will look to introduce you to the experiences of each of these companies.
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