This week representatives from UAE supermarket chain Choithrams, Dubai’s Al Islami and Kuwaiti distributors Alyasra Foods met a total of 29 Brazilian firms over two days, ahead of the opening match of the World Cup. Future meetings will see buyers from regional firms meet Brazilian fruit growers and other food vendors.
“It is a great opportunity to boost the sales of Brazilian exporters, bringing food sector’s buyers, which is the most competitive sector in Brazil, to have meetings with a larger number of Brazilian companies,” said Michel Alaby, CEO of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, one of the sponsors of the programme, adding it was a good way to mix business with the pleasure of watching football.
Chicken or fish
Saneep Khimnani, purchasing manager at Choithrams, said: “Initiatives such as this are good because they place you directly contact with companies that are looking to sell what we are looking to buy. This saves time and increases the chance of doing business.”
Khimnani is looking to procure poultry from Brazilian producers, in addition to the sugar and coffee Choithrams already sources from the country. Also looking for chicken products is Al Islami franchise department manager Talal Al Jarem, who agreed the programme was a good way to meet suppliers directly.
Alyasra Foods sales manager Fadel Fakih, said: “We already purchase a large quantity of poultry from Sadia, and we are looking for frozen products, such as seafood and fish. We also want chocolates, drops and candies.”
Playing the long game
While the visiting buyers may have the instant gratification of a major international football competition, the returns for Brazilian vendors may be longer to materialise. Silvana Oliveira, foreign trade co-ordinator for Brazilian dairy firm Piracanjuba, said she expected the meetings to open doors, but not bring fast results.
“Bringing them to Brazil was a good idea. However, negotiation in this industry takes a long time, despite the fact that we have exported to Arab countries in the past and we boast Halal certification,” she said.
Luiz Fernando Mion, export manager at vacuum-packed food producer Vapza, said: “This is a way to foster relationships, because the delegates are attracted into watching the World Cup matches. In return, they are put in touch with Brazilian enterprises. I believe the meetings we have had here may yield results in the medium term.”