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Hear from Natalie Meijers, Communication Manager at FrieslandCampina DMV about the longstanding partnership with Fi Europe.
Hi Natalie, can you please give us an overview of your company, what your specialisms are and where your key geographical markets are located?
FrieslandCampina DMV is a division of FrieslandCampina Ingredients.
At FrieslandCampina Ingredients, we offer our customers ingredients derived from fresh milk from our own farmers, specifically by separating out its unique components, such as milk protein, milk sugar and milk fats.
FrieslandCampina DMV’s core business is milk protein: we have an extensive portfolio of specialised ingredients and share our in-depth knowledge of the nutritional aspects of protein and its specific benefits with our customers to help them react to trends in the market. Since our company was founded almost 100 years ago, FrieslandCampina DMV has worked consistently in the food and nutrition ingredients industry. Today, it’s developed into a very mature market for us, and we work globally in regions including Europe, the US, China, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
How long have you exhibited with Fi Global and which events have you taken part in?
We’re fortunate to have a longstanding partnership with Fi Global and have participated at Fi Europe since 1990. FrieslandCampina DMV also participates in shows in Asia and South America, and we even took part in the more localised shows before the expo’s format evolved, for example, in Spain and Eastern Europe.
Why do you choose to exhibit at our events?
The nature of our company centres on sports and food ingredients, which is exactly what you get with Fi and Hi’s events. All food and health ingredients suppliers from across Europe gather here, so if you want to see your customers, it’s essential to be present. It’s an essential platform for prospecting, as well as seeing newcomers to the market or those who may be switching their offering from food to health ingredients, and vice versa. A stand out feature is that the location changes each year. One year it could take place in Paris, another in Madrid, Amsterdam, London... This is a really refreshing take and makes each show truly unique. Not only does this create a distinctive atmosphere for each edition, it also attracts different visitor and exhibitor profiles, as well as new insights and perspectives. Switching locations is a specific charm of Fi and Hi Europe, and is especially noticeable to regular exhibitors. As our industry evolves and changes, so does the show’s format: the conference that used to be a regular feature has now evolved into new ingredient zones, exhibitor speaking opportunities, meeting rooms, innovation tours, sponsorships, FiTV interviews... it’s a truly active show.
In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of exhibiting at our events?
Without a doubt, the vast number of visitors – the shows are huge. Over the course of three days, you see new and existing customers, distributors, even new regions entering the European and international markets thanks to region–specific pavilions. There’s even the chance you’ll meet old colleagues as the entire industry gathers in one location.
Who is FrieslandCampina DMV’s target audience, and do our events cater to them?
Performance Nutrition and Food ingredients companies are our primary target, but not just the established, larger names. We’re also keen to find new, niche markets that meet our strategic performance nutrition focus as it’s a fast-growing area. For example, a cookie manufacturer may want to diversify into protein enriched, healthy snack products, bringing them into the area of health foods. A milk-based drink company can use our ingredients to offer a calcium-enriched product. Because the show alternates from Food ingredients to Health ingredients, you gain insights from both sides of the market and meet companies who want to optimise blending these two areas.
What are your general objectives when exhibiting, and do you achieve these goals?
We set up quantitative and qualitative goals whenever we exhibit. In terms of quantitative targets, we want to generate leads. There’s a huge economic benefit in being able to meet with so many prospects in one location at once. In addition to the meetings you can arrange during the show, you also get a high rate of passing traffic of new distributors and customers who are new to us and who want to know more about the innovations we are exhibiting. Visitors who see us as part of an innovation tour or attend our seminars also fall into this category. As for qualitative objectives, this tends to centre on product launches, commitment to the market, seeing which competitors are there and gathering research on the latest innovations so we can see how we fit in the scheme of the industry.
How would you quantify how Fi Global has helped grow your business?
We meet 150–200 customers and prospects over the three days of the events, with a conversion rate of around 5–8% hot leads at Hi Europe alone. Although it’s hard to pinpoint and precisely quantify the results, we certainly grow, as Europe is a strategic region for us. We also get instances where new business results from meeting with existing customers who find out that we can meet their needs in new ways they weren’t aware of.
When exhibiting, do you use any of our free marketing tools to promote your participation or take up any of our paid sponsorship opportunities?
Yes! We do both. Everything from mentioning our booth number on banners online and sending out invitations to our clients, to press and PR opportunities that arise at the show. Journalists receive previews from Fi and Hi Europe ahead of the show, so we can send press releases about our product launches and attendance. In terms of sponsorship items, we’ve sponsored the show map and lanyards which are distributed to every visitor. In addition, we’ve regularly taken part in the conference program, and been part of the product zones and exhibition theatre.
How would you summarise the partnership Fi Global has built with FrieslandCampina DMV over the years?
The Fi Global sales managers have made our partnership a very personal one. They know our company inside out, visiting us every year to check in person what our fields of in terest are. For us, it’s a two-way co-operation that we’re both keen to invest in, so we keep the sales team updated on our latest launches and news, and share feedback after every show.
Finally, what highlights or benefits do you feel your team gains from attending?
Our team always feels energised when they come to the events: there are so many people, cultures, outlooks and insights to be gained from each event that they get a great boost! We really look forward to these trade shows and plan our product launches around Fi Global for maximum impact and exposure.