Fruit Attraction 2019, the Spain-based trade exhibition for the global fresh produce sector is expected to feature more than 200 importers, retailers and buyers from India at this year’s edition, reflecting the stated aspirations of the Indian and Spanish governments to increase bilateral trade between the countries.
With India and Singapore named Guest Importing Countries for the 2019 edition, which takes place in Madrid, Spain from 22-24 October, Fruit Attraction is likely to attract increasing attention from Asia this year, in part thanks to greater interest in European markets from the sub-continent and wider Asia.
India has become an increasingly important destination for EU fruits and vegetables over recent years, according to Fruit Attraction Director, Raúl Calleja. “These are very interesting markets for European products,” he said. “In the case of India, importing food is a growing trend, driven by the new Indian middle and upper class, who are looking for healthier food options.”
EU exports to India grew by 306% in value between 2014 and 2017, reaching a total worth of €46.7 million, with apples being the main exported product. Over the last four years, from 2014 to 2017 they grew by 416% in volume and 309% in value, totalling 60,556 tonnes and €46.7 million, with apples being the main exported product at €32 million, according to data from European Statistical Office, Eurostat.
Speaking to the media at an India Chamber of Commerce event in 2018, Spain’s Ambassador to India, José Ramon Barañano, described the India-Spain trade relationship as “good but superficial,” with around $6 billion bilateral annual trade between the two countries. However, Ambassador Barañano said bilateral trade had the potential to grow by 20% annually over the coming years.
Oliver Huesmann, Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific at Fruitconsulting, predicted European exporters will focus increasingly on India as a result of substantial European production levels and a saturated marketplace. “Europe is becoming smaller and vulnerable to political decisions at a global level which can provoke changes in supply to other countries,” he said. “If we combine this with the threat from Trump to impose new tariffs on imported European products, we can see that new markets like India, China, Singapore and Indonesia will become important for Spanish and European producers.”
Nitin Agrawal, Managing Director of leading Indian table grape exporter Euro Fruits, which has been exporting table grapes from India to Europe for the past 27 years, believes Fruit Attraction will become an increasingly important date in the calendar for Asian exporters as a result of favourable seasonal timing.
Agrawal said Euro Fruits, which exports across Western Europe, was examining further export expansion, with a focus on central and eastern Europe. “Eastern Europe is still a very unexplored market for us, so we are interested in exploring countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia,” he said. “These are areas where we are not very active, so eastern Europe is potentially very interesting for us.”
Agrawal revealed Euro Fruits was working on integrating new varieties, although he stressed these were unlikely to be commercially available for another year or two. Looking ahead to Fruit Attraction 2019, he said the event had developed enormously since its first edition, and predicted its relevance would only increase.
Agrawal said: “When I first went to Fruit Attraction 10 years ago, nobody was interested, but now we see it has some real advantages – I think the timing is just fantastic, Madrid is a fantastic city, the weather is fantastic, so this event is now becoming more and more popular and is definitely going to be a big competition for other shows in the future.”