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Some 85% of the exhibition space at Intercarn 2018 is already booked


The next edition of the meat and derivatives show, organised by Alimentaria Exhibitions, a Fira de Barcelona company, is reaffirming and strengthening its position as the biggest and most important industry event in Spain. The leading event for the Spanish meat industry, with a track record going back four decades, will be held at Fira de Barcelona's Gran Via exhibition centre from 16 to 19 April 2018.

With ten months still to go before the event, a large number of the most important companies and associations in the Spanish meat industry have reaffirmed their considerable confidence in Intercarn. The most tangible proof of this is that over 85% of the net exhibition space has already been booked. It is expected that the show will occupy some 15,000 square metres (10% more than the previous edition) and host more than 550 exhibitors. Intercarn will be exhibiting raw, processed, cured, precooked, dried and Iberian meat products as well as ready meals.

Some of the leading firms in the sector that have already confirmed their participation in Intercarn include Campofrio Food Group, Noel Alimentaria, Grupo Vall Companys, Casademont, Jamones Aljomar, El Pozo Alimentación, Grupo Jorge, Splendid Foods, Los Norteños, Grupo Sada and La Selva, while confirmed associations include Interporc, Interovic, Anafric, Frivin and Fecic. It is also worth highlighting the considerable number of European companies, especially from Romania, which will have its own pavilion of meat products – as well as Belgium, Germany and France.

Cross-cutting synergies

Intercarn is the only trade fair in Europe to not only feature the biggest sector offering on the market but also a host of business opportunities arising from synergies with the other trade fairs at Alimentaria. Alimentaria is one of the world's most important trade shows for food, drinks and foodservice and welcomes more than 140,000 visitors, mainly buyers and professionals from the distribution, retail and HoReCa sectors, over 40,000 of whom come from abroad. According to Paulo Soares, the president of Intercarn and regional managing director of Southern Europe for the Campofrio Food Group, the event ‘offers the opportunity to get to know everything that the sector is doing in terms of innovation, quality, processes and systems.'

Soares also emphasised the fact that ‘the Spanish meat industry is the country's fourth biggest industrial sector' and added that ‘Intercarn has supported the sector in its growth and has helped to strengthen its export capacity and improve its image.'

International expansion

At present, the Spanish meat industry exports 40% of its output. In this respect, the show's president indicated that its future challenges would be to ‘rapidly increase foreign sales to non-EU markets, as the bulk of our exports are still to the European Union – especially France, Germany, Portugal and Italy – and to grow in terms of processed products with greater added value, which will set us apart from the competition in other countries.'

Along the same lines, Anna Bosch, the vice-president of Intercarn, general manager of Noel Alimentaria and president of the Spanish Serrano Ham Consortium, believes that ‘the foreign market is key to the sector's expansion, because there are still markets where we need to consolidate our presence and others we have yet to explore.'

The fact that the Wholesale World Congress is being held for the first time at Alimentaria even further enlarges this horizon by guaranteeing the presence of all the mayor wholesalers, managers and directors from more than 40 countries at the show. As explained by Josep Tejedo, the general manager of Mercabarna, ‘for business owners in the sector, Intercarn offers the chance to discover the new trends and commercial and consumer innovations that are taking hold in other countries in relation to food, as well as being able to establish trade relations and synergies with some 400 professionals from wholesale markets worldwide taking part in the event.'

The boost for local and regional firms is another major asset of the show: as confirmed by Maite Arrizabalaga, a member of the Intercarn committee and manager of the agri-food chain AECOC: ‘The Spanish meat industry is very fragmented, and for this reason the organisation of events such as Intercan, which facilitate meetings and offer the opportunity to increase visibility with buyers, is extremely useful, especially for companies that do not have their own resources to achieve this kind of market positioning.' 

Rising consumer trends

Showcasing innovations is one of the show's main strengths. As Anna Bosch says, ‘although traditional products are still leading sales, consumers are becoming more open to other more innovative or ground-breaking alternatives, such as individual and practical formats, better systems for conserving products and, above all, charcuterie tapas, which export the culinary traditions of Spain.'

Other burgeoning trends, according to Josep Tejedo, include ‘new meat products with less salt and less fat, meat and charcuterie with natural preservatives; antibiotic-free meat and organic meat.'

Economic driving force

The meat industry is the fourth largest industrial sector in Spain with a turnover of over 22 billion euros, more than 21% of the entire Spanish food industry.

In 2016, meat production in Spain amounted to 6.419 million tons, representing an increase of 4.7% over the previous year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment. Spanish meat production has experienced significant growth over the last decade, largely driven by increased exports.

Meanwhile, meat products generate an annual spend of 13,400 million euros. According to the consultancy Nielsen España, 16% of the total expenditure on staples in the average shopping basket corresponds to meat products: specifically, 11% on meat, 5% on charcuterie and 0.3% on pre-prepared meat products, the organisers said.