PRODUCERS AND DISTRIBUTORS OF FRESH FRUIT,
VEGETABLES AND FLOWERS WITH COMMERCIAL CHAINS
On October 27th in the luxurious Mazurkas Hotel in Ożarów Mazowiecki the 11th edition of the Fresh Market conference took place, gathering Buyers from regional, national and international retail chains as well as producers and exporters of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, as well as companies providing services for this industry. Preparations for this one-of-a-kind event in our country, organised in an innovative trade centre formula, took several months. The general sponsor Carton Pack Global Packaging Expertise as well as sponsors Jan Oskam BV and Aksun provided significant support in its organization.
Registration for the conference began at 8.00 am. During the registration, producers and distributors from Poland and abroad interested in presenting their offer to buyers from retail chains collected numbered tickets entitling them to individual meetings, which significantly improved the organization. Thanks to this, during the 8 hours of the conference almost 1000 face-to-face meetings could take place.
The exhibitors were represented by companies operating in the packaging sector, such as Carton Pack, Redpack Packaging Machinery, IFCO, BOSKY, Cristóbal Meseguer and quality control and certification, such as FRESH QUALITY or Control Union Poland. Producers and exporters of fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, such as JAN OSKAM, AKSUN, Polfarm, Bakor, LUCRETIA POP, TOMA SEEDS also had their stands. Rijk Zwaan served salad compositions, Bratzler & Co. snacks with mango and avocado, and the Association of Paprika Producers of the Republic of Poland - paprika. Producers and suppliers could get acquainted with ecological methods of crop optimization Koppert Polska or Bekuplast's reusable plastic transport packaging.
From the very morning there were meetings with buyers from almost 20 retail chains. The conference was attended by chains from Poland, such as Carrefour, Chata Polska, Dino, Eurocash Group, Intermarche, Makro, PGS (Polish Supermarket Group), Spar, Stokrotka, Tesco. The conference was also attended by Ukrainian ATB and Varus chains, Belarusian GIPPO and ALC "VITALUR", Czech Brněnka, Lithuanian Maxima, Serbian Aman, which opened up opportunities for Polish companies to export fruit and vegetables to neighbouring countries.
At 9.00 a representative of the organizer KJOW Sp. z o.o. Artur Stasiak welcomed the official guests, inviting contractors to talks, and guests to the exhibitors' stands as well as expert lectures and discussion panels.
Among the speakers were: dr hab. Bożena Nosecka, prof. nadzw. IERiGŻ-PIB, Massimiliano Persico, Carton Pack Srl, Charif Christian Carvajal, M. ASOEX, Marek Słowiński, editor of the fresh-market.pl portal.
The discussion panels were attended by experts representing the substantive partners of the Fresh Market conference: Warsaw Agricultural and Food Wholesale Market Bronisze, Union of Vegetable and Potatoes, Association of Paprika Producers of the Republic of Poland, Union of Orchards of the Republic of Poland, Polish Potato Association, "Fruit Union" Association, ASOEX.
The panel on the domestic market dealt with the oversupply of fruit in Poland, the best sales channels and their commercial strategy, as well as consumer preferences. They were discussed by: Michał Kołodziejczak, Mirosław Łuska, Mirosław Maliszewski. Everyone agreed that the upcoming season will be one of the most difficult due to the very high fruit production and low vegetable yields caused by the weather. Discussionists drew attention to the declining consumption of fruit and vegetables. They agreed that there was no coherent action to promote the consumption of these products. Campaigns by individual organisations and producers are not effective enough. State aid is needed. The panel participants also pointed to the still difficult trade relations between producers and chains, including the fact that Polish suppliers of fruit and vegetables are anonymous. Polish customers are more and more willing to buy domestic fruit and vegetables, especially if they contain brand information. Promotion of Polish products should therefore be a priority.
The panel on foreign markets covered such issues as forecasts of world fruit and vegetable production, the most beneficial markets for exporters and importers, the importance of the Polish and Eastern European market, opportunities and threats to Polish fruit and vegetable exports, food production and the population of the Earth. The participants of the discussion, Dr. Bożena Nosecka, Arkadiusz Gaik, Marek Słowiński, Charif Christian Carvajal M., focused primarily on the possibilities of exporting Polish fruit and vegetables, especially in view of the fact that the eastern direction is becoming more and more difficult. Countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan or Moldova, as well as Belarus are not only becoming self-sufficient, but are also developing exports. The production of fruit and vegetables in Europe is shifting from the Atlantic to the East. Polish products must look for new markets in Asia, Africa or the Middle East, which counterbalance the blocked exports to Russia. Mr. Chalif Christian Carvajal emphasized that Chilean producers enter new markets prior to promotional activities. He gave as an example the entry of Chilean fruit suppliers into the Chinese market, when the promotion campaign was financed more or less half by entrepreneurs and public institutions. Despite the logistical difficulties caused by distance, Chilean products are becoming more and more common not only on the shelves of shops in Europe.
The panels devoted to new solutions and technologies in the field of packaging and promotional trends were attended by: Massimiliano Persico (Head of Marketing Carton Pack Srl.), Łukasz Drużkowski (Redpack Packaging Machinery), Mariusz Choiński (Cristóbal Meseguer S.A.), and Andrzej Ostrowicz (Polish Potato Association). The discussion focused on the future of biodegradable or recyclable packaging, which is currently too expensive to be used. According to Mr. Massimiliano Persico, it will take more than 10 years for such ecological solutions. However, this does not change the fact that modern packaging is becoming more and more environmentally friendly, e.g. non-tockable options. The market for pre-packaging - paper, foil or mesh - will continue to grow due to consumer expectations. This trend is reaching our country. Poles, like residents of Italy or Great Britain, are looking for the so-called "packaging at once".
The winner of the "Fresh Market Award 2018" was solemnly announced at 3 pm. The title was awarded to Rijk Zwaan Polska for its innovative Knox™ formula, which extends the freshness of the lettuce after harvesting, benefiting producers by reducing waste and storage costs, and retail chains by extending the freshness of the product.
Immediately afterwards the Cocktail Dinner Party started, where the participants in an informal atmosphere, with the sounds of the piano and enjoying great food, continued business talks and established contacts in the industry.
The organizers tried to create the best possible conditions for the participants so that they could focus exclusively on the business goal. A package of practical information was prepared, assistance in the form of translation receivers, as well as professional translators' support. All guests could enjoy a breakfast buffet as well as hot and cold drinks. They were also invited to lunch. During the whole conference they could count on the support of Matchmaker, who helped to reach people representing a particular company and arrange a meeting. Producers and exporters interested in cooperation with retail chains absent at the Fresh Market 2018 conference can contact them via an innovative communication platform: freshka.eu.