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Hear from Lars Vestergaard Nielsen, Corporate Marketing Manager at Arla Foods Ingredients about the benefits of exhibiting at Fi Europe brings along.
Hi Lars, could you please give us an overview of Arla Foods Ingredients, what your specialisms are and where your key geographical markets lie?
Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) is a global leader in value added whey solutions: our products centre on whey, proteins, lactose and permeates. Over the past twenty years, there has been a real shift in the value of the whey category, from its use as fertiliser and addition to animal feed, to an essential component in baby formula and athlete nutrition, amongst others. Nowadays, whey is a high value, high demand ingredient that we can apply to a wide range of applications, including infant nutrition, medical and sports nutrition and health foods, as well as food and beverage applications like yogurts, confectionery and bakery goods solutions. As a subsidiary of Arla Foods, we are a truly international company, and cater to global markets, in particular in Europe, Asia and North, Central and South America. Our business is also expanding rapidly in the Middle East.
How long has Arla Foods Ingredients exhibited at Fi Global and which events have you participated in?
We’ve participated in Fi Global’s events for over a decade now. As a leading global company in the sector, we focus predominantly on Fi and Hi Europe, however we also take part in regional shows.
Why do you choose to exhibit at our events?
At AFI, we have a long history of exhibiting at trade shows. Because we are a global company, we only partner with events that meet our expectations of professionalism and are aligned with our business mindset. Fi Global events consistently meets both these needs, and proves itself to be an important marketing and sales tool.
In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of exhibiting?
If I can only go with one, the most important factor for us is meeting with our existing customers. It gives us the chance to have face-to-face updates with them, find out what new situations or challenges they’re facing and discuss in depth about how we can help them. Often, the solution starts at the expo itself as we showcase new products that they can see demonstrated first hand. Your events give us a platform that enables us to get straight to business and meet our customers’ needs. It’s how we like to do business as a company.
Who is AFI’s target audience and do our events cater to them?
Our primary audience is the food sector and one of the challenges we face is that we serve a very wide range of segments at once. Fi Global events, unlike other trade shows, gathers visitors from across the food ingredients spectrum whether it be infant or sport nutrition, health foods, or cheeses and yogurts. So, yes, these shows are an ideal event for us to meet with existing and prospective clients from across our broad audience.
What are your general objectives when it comes to exhibiting, and do you achieve them at our events?
We’re familiar with our markets, particularly in Europe, so in addition to meeting with existing customers, we’re on the lookout for new leads. Representatives from major players and niche companies visit the Fi Global events, and these are the people we’re especially interested in meeting with. Launching our new ideas, products and concepts to the most relevant and new target groups ties in closely with this. Thanks to the show’s broad visitor profile, we can meet our goals in a short time frame.
How would you quantify how Fi Global has helped grow your business?
Brand reputation is essential to us as a company, and it’s as relevant to B2B as it is in B2C markets. When you invest a lot of time and capital in building your brand, it’s important that your reputation remains strong. Having a presence at the Fi Global events enables us to maintain this, and build on customers’ expectations year after year.
When exhibiting, do you use any of the free marketing tools or sponsorship options available to promote your involvement?
Yes, we use the marketing tools – it just makes good sense! We also support our partnership with Fi Global with FiTV packages. It’s a great option for us because video is a strong medium to tell our story. We need to prioritise which stories we want to tell, which is a challenge given that we cater to such a wide range of segments, and you have to grab visitors’ attention in a very short time. You have to be absolutely spot on with what you want to say.
How would you summarise the partnership that Fi Global has built with AFI over the years?
Our partnership with Fi Global goes far beyond a normal transaction. Rather than us paying for a service and that’s it, the team is very proactive, flexible and supportive, giving us chance throughout the year to ask questions and helping us when needed. The conference opportunities are also very valuable to us and to our collaboration with the show. Rather than selecting speakers from exhibitors with the biggest budgets, they consider the most relevant speakers depending on trends and changes in the industry. In this respect, Fi Global places quality over quantity, and we’ve been lucky enough to regularly have speakers take to the stage at the conference.
And finally, what benefits does your team gain from attending our events?
The show is relevant to both our marketing and sales teams as we gather a lot of industry information and updates, as well as meeting with customers. It helps us to keep up to date with changes, trends and customer needs in one go, making all of the Fi Global events that we exhibit at a highly productive, informative time for us.