Dispatches from Europain 2014
World Cup Brazil: Good for Brazilian bakers?
Speaking at Europain 2014 in Paris, Monique Morata, project manager for the Brazilian Manufacturers Association of Equipment, Ingredients and Accessories for Food (ABIEPAN), said she found the issue frustrating.
"I prefer to be remembered by the professionals we have in Brazil," she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
"Everybody will talk about the football and not our companies. Everybody remembers the French for their perfumes. In Italy, design. In Germany, technology. We are more than football and samba," Morata said.
However, one of the nine bakery-specific members present at Europeain told us that the World Cup had helped boost interest in Brazilian specialty bakery products.
Paulo Roberto Cavalcante, director of PMAN, said: "Some supermarkets are interested in having a Brazilian corner for typical Brazilian products."
In light of this, his company, which sells mold inhibitors, enzymes, bread mixes and equipment, is pushing its mix for a bread containing the Brazilian fruits acai and guarana.
"The World Cup attracts attention, so it's an opportunity, but what we have is a very-well installed industry," he said.
World class but unable to compete on price with China
Meanwhile, another ABIEPAN member at Europain told us there were many stereotypes for Brazilian manufacturers to battle.
Pedro Bruno Pereira, marketing officer for the Brazilian technology solutions firm MCI, said there was a stereotype that Brazilian technologies were not as good as those from European countries like Germany or France. "But what we see is that we have a very competitive product, achieving high standards like the Japanese and in Germany, but we don't have the same competitive price like Chinese products," he said.
Pereira said that it is currently very expensive for them to ship machinery around Brazil and to European markets due to long-distance transport prices, taxes and labor costs. As such, the firm is looking to find partners and local distributors to provide the same support it already supplies to clients in Latin America.
"Some people think that just because we are a Brazilian technology company we must be low price. That's not exactly true because this kind of technology we are selling here you won't see in any other part of the world," he said.
When placing Chinese machinery next to Brazilian, he said the price may be lower in China but claimed Brazilian machinery would be of higher quality.
"Some customers just see the final price, they are not concerned about the way this machine was produced, the safety or if it's easy to assemble. Everything has a cost and everything in the long term will make a difference."
Beyond a niche...
Pereira said that another hurdle was overcoming preconceptions that the company was only for a niche market. "People see these machines and think it's about [traditional Brazilian bakery] only. We want to be known as a factory and a company who sells technical services and solutions for the food services...We want to understand what each country has as it's food product. We don't want to sell our way of food. We want to sell a solution for your type of food," he said.