A trip to the capital of North Macedonia, with a series of important contacts – institutional and business – was made by FORUM’s International department, aiming to attract international buyers in view of the upcoming ARTOZA.
An emerging market looking for European recognition and development was the first stop in the series of contacts carried out by FORUM’s International Networking Department, with the aim of enriching the reliable and extensive data base of targeted international buyers that the company already has.
This methodology is applied by world-class exhibitions and has been used by FORUM for at least a decade, for all of its exhibitions. From September 25 to 30, a specialized team of the company, led by Mr. Filippos Papanastasiou, Director of FORUM’s International Department and Hosted Buyer Manager Ms. Ioanna Lalia held scheduled meetings at a high institutional and business level in North Macedonia, where key players committed to visit ARTOZA in March 2023. The size and influence of the international exhibition of bakery, confectionery, ice cream & equipment was already known in the market there, however the meetings contributed to the further deepening of the perception that North Macedonia’s economic agents have about ARTOZA.
Series of contacts at the Greek Embassy
The circle of institutional contacts was opened with the Embassy of Greece in North Macedonia, specifically with the advisor for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Mrs. Anastasia Zografou and the 1st counselor of Embassy and acting ambassador, Ms. Gina Andreadis. The meeting highlighted the fact that the relations between Greece and North Macedonia are at a historic high after the signing of the Prespa Agreement and so is the Embassy’s intention to promote FORUM’s contacts in the right commercial directions. According to this commitment and the company’s plan, more than 100 buyers will visit ARTOZA, with their travel and accommodation expenses covered by FORUM. As emphasized at the meeting, Greek business activity is strong in North Macedonia, with open scope for deepening, especially in the F&B and Hospitality sectors.
An important factor that affects the nutritional requirements of the country’s consumers is the trips made by the locals in Greece, where they discover a multitude of new projects in the catering sector: new creative concepts, modern specialized bakeries, bakery cafes, all-inclusive pastry shops are gradually shaping their daily life, building a western-style lifestyle. It is no coincidence that countries such as Austria, Britain, Greece, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany and Turkey have been highly investing in North Macedonia in the last two years, with Greece holding the third place when it comes to the investment portfolio.
State care for investments
Τhe formation of trade-investment relations with Europe in general and with Greece in particular is already high on the agenda of the country’s national economy, as confirmed in the meeting with Mr. Bekim Emini, CEO of the Investment Organization of North Macedonia (Invest North Macedonia), which is an official government body for promoting exports and attracting investment for the market. During the meeting, there was a clear interest in presence and networking among all FORUM exhibition brands, with representatives visiting the exhibitions scheduled for 2022 and 2023. Regarding the meeting with Mr. Antoni Peshev, Director of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, the intention of the Chamber to strengthen FORUM’s extroversion campaign was emphasized, promoting all of the company’s exhibitions to the companies belonging to Chamber of Commerce.
Mills and Packaging, pillars of extroversion
One of the most important appointments on the mission’s agenda was the one with Mr. Ilija Pavlickovski, General Manager of the Milling & Baking Industry and Vasko Ristovski, President of the North Macedonian Packaging Association. Both agencies operate under the official umbrella of the North Macedonian Chamber of Commerce. The strong demand for packaging machinery due to the great development in the agri-food sector, the increase in production and the effort to harmonize with the certifications, which are necessary to meet the specifications at the European level, was particularly emphasized at the meeting. It was also pointed out that in the domestic market there is a big problem of finding bakery materials due to high cost and low supply, which further intensified the interest of the two agencies to be present at ARTOZA. The dates 3 to 6 March 2023 have been added to the agenda of their exhibition contacts in order to attend the exhibition, where they will have contacts with local market players and businessmen to explore the potential of commercial agreements.
The market, through the eyes of the decision-makers
As pointed out in the meeting with Mr. Aris Vlachos, president of the Hellenic Business Association and former president of Hellenic Investments in the Balkan countries, the North Macedonians may not be familiar with the concept of the “Mediterranean” diet, however their eating habits coincide with the Greek ones. Under this circumstances, bakery and pastry are experiencing their “rise” there. So it is certain that it will be a big bet for the European markets who will first enter the domestic commercial environment. Greece, due to geographical proximity, nutritional relevance, but also the extroverted philosophy of the procurement market, definitely has the lead, an advantage that FORUM aims to further grow in the context of ARTOZA, through the Hosted Buyers program. The next stop on FORUM’s international contact calendar is the Albanian market.
Upcoming visits to ARTOZA
The delicatessen chain Candia LLC has expressed through its CEO, Mrs. Dimitris Vergitsis, its intention to be present at ARTOZA, as it is interested in frozen pastry and doughs.
The company of Greek interests Zitoleb is active in the bakery sector with over 30 stores throughout the country. It has fresh and frozen products, which it sells even to large retail chains. It has already established partnerships in the Greek market in the fields of equipment and raw materials, which intends to expand further, as was mentioned in the meeting with Mr. Branko Risteski, General Manager and Dejan Angelovski, Regional Manager.
The supermarket chain Τinex holds the largest share of the market, together with the Vero chain. In the meeting with Mr. Trajce Petrovski, Deputy Commercial Manager and Marjan Gjoorsev, Product Manager, it became clear the very great interest in bakery & pastry products as well as puff pastry, while their immediate plans include the opening of bakery and pastry corners in supermarkets.