Tastes Of Europe Fest A Great Oppportunity For Malaysian Distributors

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 (Bernama) -- The Tastes of Europe Fest held here recently provided a great opportunity for Malaysian distributors to familiarise themselves with authentic European food.

The fest, now in its 15th year, showcased the diversity of European foods and beverages including beers, wines, cheese, breads and chocolate.

The one-night gala event, organised by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EU-MCCI) and officially opened by Ministry of International Trade and Industry Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, drew crowds from 14 countries including Malaysia.

It was also an opportunity to foster economic relations between Malaysia and Europe in the food and beverage sector, said EU-MCCI Chairman Roberto Benetello.

Citing an example, he said Nam Lee Cheong Sdn Bhd, among the country's oldest and largest homegrown importers and distributors of European wines and spirits, has benefited greatly from the event.

He said Nam Leong supplies hotels, hypermarkets, restaurants, retail outlets and end-consumers, moving in excess of one million bottles annually.

Benetello said this year there were 350 participants and over 25 exhibitors, including from Belgium, France, Denmark, Georgia, Italy, the Netherlands and Malaysia, a big increase over last year's.

Benetello said the event aims mainly to promote quality European products ranging from ham, cheese, beef, grain, fruits and wine besides bringing together European suppliers and local distributors.

"We have quite a few success stories. Many of the foreign exhibitors have established restaurants here and we look forward to seeing more exhibitors to bring the European taste here and vice versa," Benetello told Bernama.

DPO International Sdn Bhd, a regional food distribution company, was participating at the Taste of Europe for the second time.

"Our participation last year was to find contacts for our B2B business whereby we supply food ingredients to food manufacturers and to bakery businesses that need ingredients like emulsifiers, vitamins, pro-biotics and sugar-free products.

"This time we wanted to promote our new B2C business which was launched early this year. We have a business division that distributes branded consumer foods to retail outlets via direct selling through our website www.thebigbox.asia," Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager Shobana Jayandran said.

DPO, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, has 20 sales offices and 25 warehouses in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Its role is to bring in global food innovations to Asian markets.

Another exhibitor was Nero Famiglia, an Italian restaurant that has been in the country for seven years whose customers are mostly non-Malaysians.

"I know the public get an opportunity to taste the food here, we are hoping that they will like our food and in that way we get to supply and promote our authentic Italian cuisine," Executive Chef Diego Reali said.

Nero Famiglia has three outlets in Malaysia -- at Plaza Damansara, Bukit Ceylon and Bangsar Shopping Centre here -- and hopes to expand in a year, although the current focus is on the three outlets.

Christian Dufour, of Provence Honey, which imports French lavender honey to Malaysia, said he used the event to make contacts with retailers, distributors and restaurants.

He said Provence Honey was started early this year, and there are plans to establish a store here in three years once the business picks up.

"The feedback has been extremely good as this raw honey is mixed with a hint of lavender flowers, and helps combat depression, stress and sleepless nights besides being a source of pure energy," he said.

The honey is produced in Provence, France by Dufour's cousin and is sold in Malaysia by Dufour and his Malaysian wife Sook Mei Dufour.

Source-- BERNAMA