Arabs work to break into the market at Apas Show

Products on offer from exhibitors in the Arab Chamber pavilion include fresh dates from Tunisia and canned beans from Lebanon. The São Paulo Supermarkets Association expo opened on Monday and will run until Thursday.

Thais Sousa

São Paulo – Arab companies are trying to break into the Brazilian market. Their items are on offer at Apas Show, the biggest supermarket industry show in Latin America. The show kicked off this Monday (6) in São Paulo. The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce stand features 11 exhibitors from the Middle East and North Africa. “Apas Show is the premier show for this industry in Latin America. Our joining it is key, since this [supermarkets] is a crucial industry when it comes to Brazilian-Arab relations. The Chamber is bringing five countries to the show this year. These are markets with a lot of potential for growth, and the intention is to foster trade and boost sales in both directions,” said Arab Chamber Marketing director Janine de Menezes. The Chamber’s president Rubens Hannun was also in attendance.

The Arab countries featured in the exhibition are Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia. The Tunisian exhibiting companies have been brought to Brazil with backing from the Embassy of Tunisia in Brasília. Goods on offer include olive oil by Huilerie Loued and preserves and pepper sauces from Jardins de Carthage – one of conglomerate Sun Antipasti’s brands. Import-export company Bra International Group is also present.

Hannun (L) at the Tunisia stand next to Soltani (R)

The Tunisians are looking to broaden the variety of products available in Brazil. “Our olives and olive oil are already well known, and we want to increase sales volume to Brazil by at least 10%, but we are also looking to diversify. To show we have more to offer in terms of quantity and quality,” said Tunisia’s ambassador to Brazil, Mohamed Hedi Soltani, who was at the expo.

Bra International Trade, for instance, is seeking to sell fresh dates. “This is our first time exhibiting here in Brazil. We have different kinds of dates, and this one’s natural and unprocessed. We want to break into the Brazilian market with these dates,” said executive sales manager Manel Tayechi Bra. according to her, the biggest challenge lies in keeping the product fresh – that’s why it can be costlier than the dried fruit. Still, she explains, the quality of fresh dates is worth the investment from buyers.

Lebanon’s Cortas Food is showcasing canned table-ready goods like beans, fruit and rose syrup, sesame seeds, oils, olive oils and pickles. “We picked these items because that’s what Lebanese expatriates will look for mosto f the time. Our brand is about ‘Lebanon’s cuisine.’ The idea is to start out by focusing on the Lebanese community in Brazil, which is really big, and then work our way from there,” said head of logistics Jacques Hamati.

MSallem is also coming to Brazil for the first time, and according to the 30-year-old-company owner Joe MSallen, the first step is making connections. “We want to meet new people so we can have distributors here. I believe without confidence and trust in somebody one cannot make business,” stressed he that brought products such as olives and pickles.

On the other hand, the trade promotion agency Dubai Exports is a regular at the show, participating for the fourth year in a row in the Arab Brazilian Chamber space, now with products from four Emirati companies. “We are bringing new releases, such as the healthy sweets from Munch Box, for example. And we are here looking for distributors for these new products,” pointed out Dubai Exports specialist Zilda Rosa. One of them, the brand Date Crown, owned by Julia Biase, is also being launched at APAS in Dubai Exports stand but already has some sure buyers. “We have dates and date honey. We already have buyers and they are coming to supermarkets such as Oba, Mambo, and Casa Flora,” pointed out Julia.

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Other companies there are Wadi El Nile from Egypt that brought olive oil and other oils, olives, and canned tuna, and works with the logistics food trade company O Primo, an Arab Brazilian Chamber member.

In addition to them, Households & Toiletries Mfg Co., part of Sukhtian group from Jordan has, for the first time, brought products other than food to the Arab Brazilian Chamber stand at APAS Show. The brand is exhibiting sunscreens, repellents, and personal care items. APAS Show runs until Thursday (9).

Quick Facts

APAS Show 2019
From May 6 to 8, from 2 pm to 10 pm
May 9, from 1 pm to 7 om
Expo Center Norte
Rua José Bernardo Pinto, 333, Vila Guilherme
São Paulo, Brazil
More information:

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum & Guilherme Miranda

Thais Sousa/ANBA
Rodrigo Rodrigues/Arab Brazilian Chamber

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