Latino Entrepreneurs Exhibit Innovations At The Barcelona Food Fair

In Spain, the relaxation of measures imposed due to COVID-19 has caused mass events to return. One of the most recent was the Barcelona Food Fair, among the largest events in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. Several Latin businessmen traveled to the Catalan capital to present their offer and contribute to the reactivation of the sector. Guatemalan chocolate with social impact The incursion of the Guatemalan Julio Matute in the “black gold” industry came about by chance. It all started in 2018 when his brother Pablo, who was a tour guide, bought two quintals of cocoa after returning from a tour. “When my mom was home, I said, ‘Either you go or the cocoa goes, but one of the two has to go, because dry fermented cocoa stinks a lot.’ So we looked for how to make chocolate by watching YouTube videos,” Matute explained to the . After following the instructions on the Internet and with a lot of effort, the brothers managed to create their first chocolate: “We gave my Belgian uncle a try and he loved it . From that we start. We said: “here is something, it can be done”. From that moment on, the company began to grow. Over time they got a national distributor, and in 2019 they got the “Cocoa of Excellence” award. Likewise, Matute commented that during the pandemic they managed to reinvent themselves by creating chocolate for other brands. “It allowed us to expand our horizons and at the same time strengthened the business. It also now allows us to make different proposals to various clients.” At the Food Fair they made known to potential customers and distributors of various types of chocolate. One of them was made in the Lachoá lagoon, in Alta Verapaz, and described by the brand as “one of the most exotic in the world”. Matute explained the social impact that this product has for the Mayan cooperatives that grow it: “We bought it at a premium with the idea that they continue doing this, and with that they manage to protect the reserve where they live and the migration rate is greatly reduced because now they have a way out of the cycle of poverty.” New horizons for Costa Rican beer Europe leads beer consumption worldwide. According to the ranking made by the Expansivity portal, a Czech drinks an average of 468 beers a year, while a Spaniard consumes 417 “beers”. That is why the Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company wants to carve out a niche for itself in the European market: “We have dedicated ourselves to consolidating ourselves in the Costa Rican market and we already want to expand our borders, take the product to many more places (…) There are a lot of competition, but we believe that there is a good space for our products here in Europe”, explained María José Coto, sales executive of the brand. The company was born 12 years ago, and, according to Coto, it was one of the pioneers in the production craft beer in the Central American country. “It was a totally unknown concept in Costa Rica and all this work was done to start raising awareness a little, to expand craft beer.” Currently, with the aim of satisfying different palates, the brand has several product lines, among which are “fruit beers and very native to Costa Rica.” And the attendees of the fair have been able to savor them: “They like it, they have a very good perception, so we see a lot of potential for the products here,” concludes Coto. Both Central American companies are part of the “Eko Bootcamp 2.0” talent program, organized by the European Union and the Central American Integration System (SICA), and which seeks to support companies in the region by accelerating the export process. “Practically all the phases have been completed, in which they have received specialized coaching, and now we are in the consolidation stage in which we have brought them so that they can offer their products in person so that the European market knows the exportable offer”, explained Jessy Macoto, the show’s business and trade promotion specialist. The resilience of Puerto Rican coffee Puerto Rican coffee resurfaced like a phoenix after the deadly Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017, and is still wreaking havoc. “It devastated our farms and our fields (…) We battled against hurricanes and many climatic changes, which makes our coffee very special,” explained Daniel Morales, agronomist and representative of the Café Yaucono, Yauco Selecto and Alto Grande brands from the Puerto Rican stand at the show. And although they were left with practically nothing, the businessman commented that they never lost the illusion or the desire to move forward. “We redesigned the planting, the seed, and the varieties that we were using in order to promise a beautiful future for Puerto Rican coffee and ensure quality.” A work that, as Morales explained, saw its fruits this year. “The 2021-2022 harvest was the best since Hurricane Maria,” he said. Coffee is not the only Puerto Rican product on display at the event. The businessmen also showed other indigenous products from Puerto Rico, such as rum, pineapple and mango. Gloribel Cebus Molina, a member of the innovation fund for the agricultural development of Puerto Rico, highlighted the importance for the island of having representation at the Food Fair. “We are looking for a way to expand the business of our agribusinesses in Puerto Rico and Europe is one of the regions that we are looking to start negotiations (…) The best thing you can see here at the Alimentaria fair, the stand from Puerto Rico has to be one of them.” Connect with the ! Subscribe to our channel Youtube

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