The return of Sial

After three years food and beverage fair returns, and once again receives a delegation of Brazilian entrepreneurs organized by CCBC

By Sérgio Siscaro

North America’s largest trade show for the food and beverage industry is back live in 2022. After the restrictions applied due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Salon International de l’Alimentation (Sial) was held between April 20 and 22 at the Palais des Congrès, in Montreal, in the Canadian province of Quebec. The Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC), which has always sought to strengthen business relations between the two countries, was present through a mission of Brazilian entrepreneurs and featured its own booth at the event.

However, CCBC’s mission was much more than a simple visit to Sial. The program organized by the Chamber lasted from April 18 to 27, and included scheduling meetings with potential Canadian business partners and visits to points of sale – thus allowing participants to have a comprehensive view of the Canadian food and beverage market. Dinners were also held for VIP guests, in which Brazilian chef Mariana Valentini offered dishes made with products brought by the Brazilian delegation enabling Canadians to have a more direct experience of the country’s flavors.

Held with the support of the governments of the province of Quebec and Canada, Sial alternates each year between Montreal and Toronto. This edition marked the return of the fair to a face-to-face format – the last one in this format was held in 2019. This year, the event brought together 809 exhibitors from 49 countries in an area of 20,000 m2. More than 15 thousand visitors from 57 countries were registered – which gives a sample of the business potential represented by the show to Brazilian participants. The national products that caught the visitors’ attention were frozen tilapia and shrimp; fresh fruits; nuts; jellies; coffees; meats; rice; and flours, oils, and natural extracts.

Extensive program

CCBC’s mission to Sial had the participation of four companies and two institutions. “This was a resumption mission. The initiative had as one of its objectives to verify how this return to activities was taking place in the post-Covid period,” explains CCBC’s Business Intelligence coordinator, Beatriz Calegare.  

According to her, the participants were able to benefit from a set of activities that started before the visit, with the support of CCBC by means of information about the Canadian market and the shipment of product samples, which went on during Sial, when contacts were made with retail chains and potential buyers, and that continues after the return to Brazil, when the results are evaluated. “Based on the feedback given by the participating companies, we know that the contacts made at Sial are already leading to the establishment of business between Brazilians and Canadians”, she adds.

CCBC staff participated in more than 40 meetings during the Sial mission

“In addition, we also made some technical visits to establishments where these products are commercialized – which allows companies to have a comparative view of brand positioning, marketing, packaging, and how these products are advertised in the Canadian market”. One of these initiatives was visit to a unit of MVR Cash and Carry with the presence of the owner of this wholesale chain, who provided information to the participants about the company’s operations.

During the mission, a product that drew attention, according to Calegare, was the açaí powder, produced by one of the Brazilian companies. “The product was used at the tasting dinner promoted by CCBC. Some journalists who were there were quite surprised, trying to understand what it was. The other products were a little better known to the Canadians – like, “for instance, the tilapia and shrimp example”, he says.

The next mission

CCBC should now consult with participating companies so that they can provide information on their perception with the mission and the prospects for business generated during Sial. “In addition, we should develop with some companies specific business intelligence projects, establishing an action plan for them to enter the Canadian market.”

She confirms CCBC’s participation in the next Sial, which will take place May 9-11, 2023 in Toronto, in the province of Ontario. “We already have companies that participated this year and want to secure space in the next edition. This shows that participation in the CCBC mission to Sial brings results. We are already planning how our participation will be in next year’s edition”, she concludes.