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Gateway to the Russian market

From October 15 to 19, 2007, the Expo Center in Moscow will again open its doors to host the Agroprodmash trade fair. For five days the most important exposition for the Russian meat industry will then again see equipment and technical systems for meat processing in focus, including all raw materials, other materials, furnishings and services meat processing companies need for manufacturing, packaging, storing and marketing meat and sausage products.

It is for the 12th time already that Agroprodmash takes place – in other words the biggest Eastern European industry exposition dedicated to plant, equipment, machinery and additives for the food processing industry and the food industry in general. And this year again, companies from all parts of the world are expected to be on place, presenting their products in the Moscow Expo Center’s trade fair halls.

As should be expected, a large part of exhibiting companies are from Russia itself, but many foreign companies, mostly from Europe and above all from Germany, are also taking advantage of Agroprodmash in order to display and present their products, performance, and solutions for the Russian meat industry. Which means that the Russian meat industry’s lead expo also fulfills the expectations typically associated with an international show of industrial capabilities. And there can also be no doubt that the interest of foreign manufacturers and industry visitors will continue to be on the rise in the future, as there is hardly another marketplace promising such a growth potential and such a rapidly rising meat and sausage products demand as is the case in the Russian Federation. For manufacturers and marketers of technical systems and equipment, this boils down to the needs of an active presence in this market early enough so that the opportunity of growing in line with Russian companies’ increasing demand for meat processing equipment and know-how can be exploited to the full.

What also underpins Agroprodmash’s international ranking is the continuously rising number of foreign participants – in other words exhibitors and/or visitors coming from Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. And inasmuch, further development of the Agroprodmash expo in Moscow is heading into the same direction as that of IFFA in Frankfurt.

In the same vein, Mrs. Tatyana Piskaryeva, managing trade fair director for the food and food production equipment sector, points to the fact that many foreign companies have turned their participation in Agroprodmash into a starting base for their commercial activities in Russia and the other CIS (Commonwealth or Community of Independent States) countries. For them, participating in the show is a good opportunity to evaluate the potential the Russian market holds out, to find new markets to sell their products, to establish initial contacts, and even to conclude first supply and delivery contracts in a new market environment. In which context it should be noted that many companies with own representations in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities have laid the groundworks of their success in the Russian market on the Agroprodmash trade fair.

While most industry visitors are also from Russia, many come from the Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Moldavia as well. In addition, a survey conducted by the Moscow expo organization has shown that exhibitors like to make a point of using their exposition stands as a platform for communicating with customers from other CIS countries.

Visitors from Western European countries, coming to the Russian trade fair in great numbers as well, are there with the intention of evaluating the market on location, while also getting firsthand information about trends of the industry’s overall development, and about trend changes in Russian consumers’ taste as well. So the total of expo visitors comprises representatives of all groups having an interest in the meat industry and the up-and-coming Russian marketplace: company owners and managers, top-level executives from the food industry, from food and food processing companies and from industry associations, as well as wholesalers, farmers from the domestic market and from abroad, but also members and associates of financial institutions, leasing firms, government departments, national agencies and organizations, research institutes as well as consulting and marketing companies.

Growing importance

Last year marked the first time that the Agroprodmash organizers had structured the trade fair into special segments, like “Packaging Machinery and Packaging Materials”, “Production Plant and Equipment”, “Filling of Liquid Products”, “Confectionery and Bakery Systems and Equipment”, or “Hygiene and Sanitary Establishments in Food Processing Plants”.

But technical systems, raw materials, additives, auxiliary components, packaging and packaging equipment, and new technologies – all that is by far not everything that visitors can expect to see at this year’s Agroprodmash expo. Instead, the exposition area and the number of exhibitors keeps growing year by year. In 2006, some 750 companies from 29 countries participated in the Moscow-based industry fair, while for this year the organizers count on more than 800. And with the newly built expo hall 8 now in operation, the exposition area has been expanded to 53,000 m2, offering exhibitors even greater opportunities to present themselves and their products and services.

Looking at the early Agroprodmash years in retrospect, it becomes rapidly clear how fast that trade fair has developed into its present state of industry-wide importance. But even so, during peak times visitors are crowding the aisles, pushing their way to the next booth or stand, but even the largest expo stands hardly offer enough space for all those interested in viewing equipment in action, or in having a more in-depth conversation with exhibiting companies’ representatives, informing themselves about the most recent innovations.

Interesting side program

Standing out as an Agroprodmash specialty is a regularly offered program of speeches and lectures delivered and conferences held on selected topics – an overall discussion forum which, last year, saw a total of 60 papers on such topics as “Modern technologies and technical equipment for the food industry”, “Developmental trends in the food and processing industry”, or “Specifics and perspectives for the Russian beverage industry”. In addition, there was also the “German Technologies Day” held as part of this expo sideline forum with more than 30 experts and representatives of German companies and organizations contributing their papers and presentations, where the one focusing on technical systems and equipment in the German food production industry met with particularly great interest.

As such, the paper on “Modern technologies and technical systems for the food industry” went into great detail about individual subsegments of such fields as meat processing and sausage production, cooling and refrigeration technology, the bakery and confectionary business, inclusion of additives and other auxiliary components, and packaging technology. Among those delivering speeches and presentations were representatives from Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Turkey, France and Finland.

That forum’s first day saw the topical issue of “Technologies in Convenience Products Manufacturing” taking centerstage, with aspects of healthy nutrition playing the central part as well. And it is for the first time ever that Agroprodmash has made this spectrum of topics key to its discussion forum program. This fact also clearly indicates what pioneer function the Moscow-based trade fair has meanwhile assumed for the Russian meat industry.

Best prospects for good business

For this year’s expo, the Agroprodmash organizers count on more than 40,000 industry-specific visitors who will not only come to gather information about the most recent state of technology, new products as well as consumer trends, and opportunities in the marketplace, but who even more so arrive at the expo floor with serious purchasing intentions and a wide open readiness to invest. Given the good overall economic framework data, prospects for investment in new plant and equipment could hardly be better, with all indicators pointing to an upward trend: the Russian economy shows an above average growth rate; income levels; consumers’ purchasing power and, as a result, demand for consumer goods keep growing so that the market volume is on a continual rise, particularly that of meat products. So it’s only a logical consequence that meat processors and food producers must almost inevitably react to such favorable market conditions by expanding their production capacities. And in view of such a great preparedness to invest on the one side, coupled with growing consumer demand on the other, the prospects for good business could hardly be better.Thomas Röhr

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