Bangladeshi companies that participated in the SIAL Food Fair 2016 in Paris have bagged export orders worth about $3 million.
Eight Bangladeshi food companies attended the five-day fair that ended yesterday. Over 7,000 companies from 105 countries joined the world's largest food fair to catch global buyers by showcasing their products.
Pran accounted for 85 percent of total export orders, and Sajeeb Group, a new participant at this fair, got 15 percent. Bombay Sweets got four orders.
Alin Food Products, Globe Soft Drinks, Danish Foods and ACI Foods that joined the fair late because of visa issues received queries from potential buyers.
“Buyers are happy with the improvements in Pran products, be it in increasing its line of products, packaging and quality," Mizanur Rahman, the company's chief of exports, told The Daily Star.
Of its $2.5 million in export orders, $1.5 million came from confectionary items and the rest was beverages, he added.
Most of the export orders Pran received were from Africa. Presently, Pran exports to 35 African countries.
“Our main objective was not to bag export orders. We came here to learn from networking with thousands of food companies that attended the event and develop new products accordingly,” said Rahman.
MA Hashem, chairman and managing director of Sajeeb Group, said the company bagged orders worth $400,000, also mostly from African nations.
"We received orders from five new customers. We are happy with the feedback from our very first participation at this fair," he added.
Salim S Jivani, director of Bombay Sweets, said he was happy to be part of this fair for the first time. "We received queries from 50 to 55 potential buyers."
Bangladesh is a competitive manufacturing country and it has huge potential to export processed and packaged foods, he said.
"But we need to make premium items for the global consumers."
Debashish Singha, deputy general manager of Partex Star Group that came to the fair with its Danish brand of food items, said the fair has created a bridge between their products and buyers across the world.
"If we get three export orders out of a dozen queries, that'll be enough for us."
Jalal Uddin, general manager of operations at Alin Foods, Rahimul Islam, head of export at Globe Soft Drinks, Mukir Uddin Ahmed Dipu, deputy general manager of ACI Consumers Foods, also hoped that their product queries would turn into export orders.
Bahar Hussain, an importer and distributor of a number of Bangladeshi food companies, said demand for Bangladesh-made foods are increasing in Europe with growth in the number of expatriates.
“Bangladeshi foods are also in demand among the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan communities in Europe. This is another reason for the success of Bangladesh in food after garment," said Hussain, who has been living in France for over three decades now.