For the first time in three years, the global baking community is coming together again at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), taking place September 17-21 in Las Vegas. Among the largest international delegations is Brazil, which has more than 70,000 bakeries serving 200 million people with a wide variety of pastries, breads and other baked goods.
Baking & Snacking magazine contacted Rui Gonçalves, president of Sampapão, an association that brings together 6,000 bakeries in São Paulo. Sampapão is the acronym for São Paulo bakery and confectionery entities.
The organization is responsible for managing FIPAN, held in July and is the largest bakery and confectionery fair in Latin America and one of the main events for catering operators in the country.
Over the years, said Mr. Gonçalves, FIPAN and the Brazilian baking community have collaborated in many ways with IBIE and the US baking industry. Mr. Gonçalves shared his perspective on the Brazilian bakery market and a global perspective on the bakery industry as a whole.
How would you describe the state of the bakery industry in Brazil, especially since the pandemic hit?
Bakeries in Brazil have become a center of food production and convenience. The product range, previously focused on bread, milk and coffee, has become much more diverse and complete for the customer, with options for breakfast, pizzas, soups, products for convenience stores, among others. We focus on the 24 hour routine of our customers, being present at all times of the day, every day of the week. The bakery industry in Brazil has already recouped the losses it suffered during the pandemic and already the sales volume is slightly higher than in 2019. Another important point is that sales per delivery have increased, accelerating a trend that already existed before the pandemic.
How do you rate the strength of the Brazilian economy and its impact on the baking industry?
The bakery industry accounts for around 20 billion dollars (US dollars) per year, indicating a significant importance in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. Even with the pandemic, the strength of the bakery industry, as it is an essential activity and of national public interest according to law, remained open and continued to have daily sales, even if they are much lower than the pre-COVID phase. Compared to the economies of European countries and the United States, we have lower inflation, a recovery in the level of employment and GDP is expected to grow by 2.5% this year. Brazil continues to be the country of opportunities, with more than 200 million consumers and a constant evolution of various sectors, such as bakery, which increasingly seeks efficiency and international technology.
What are the current consumer and market trends driving sales in Brazil, and how do they differ from other countries in North and South America?
Food delivery has certainly been the biggest change post-pandemic. Bakeries have become experts in this type of service. Now, in addition to having know-how in customer service and craft production, we can quickly acquire experience in delivery, which is here to stay and which is evolving every day. Consumers have missed being at the bakery, so bakeries are taking advantage of this to improve services and retain customers even more.
How do bakeries deal with supply chain issues, especially around ingredients and packaging?
With the pandemic, many other packaging vendors have emerged in the industry. The number of businesses has almost tripled, largely due to delivery. In this way, the options for the market have increased a lot. Despite the lack of inputs, we have more products on the market and more options for suppliers. A negative factor was higher prices, especially of wheat, which we were unable to fully pass on to consumers. We have also adapted to other types of raw materials and ingredients to continue production, which has resulted in prospecting new suppliers every week and reviewing all contracts with them, leaving establishments freer and that can serve, even with less production, eager customers. to buy everyday products. The rule is to always have options for customers.
What is the labor situation in Brazil and how does it compare to the challenges faced by bakeries in other parts of the world?
Our sector employs 2.5 million Brazilians, but skilled labor issues persist, especially after the pandemic. The offer exists, but the demand must be more nuanced, which is why we have several educational projects at the FIPAN show and in our school, the IDPC, which offers a range of professional training for the entire sector. If we do not encourage vocational training, the baking industry will not evolve.
Why has FIPAN been so successful this year?
Lots of work and lots of planning. We have certainly conquered new markets and new audiences, bringing to our show what the bakery sector needs. FIPAN is the education, networking and business platform for the bakery sector in Brazil and also in the partner countries. Baking professionals from more than 30 countries visited FIPAN, which registered a record number of 360 exhibitors, 450 brands and more than 42,000 square meters of exhibition space. Our congress also included topics on 5G technology, delivery with drones, energy efficiency and other topics to prepare the baking industry for the future.
How does FIPAN work with IBIE to exchange knowledge between Brazil and North American baking industries?
We are at IBIE with a record delegation of Brazilian businessmen. There are around 50 owners looking for innovation and business at the show. We want a technology-oriented exchange and more efficient production between IBIE and FIPAN companies. So much so that we will participate in business roundtables and technical visits during the IBIE – just as they also had the opportunity to have a positive agenda with us during the last FIPAN. The bakery world must unite to be stronger.
What would be the demand for foreign equipment, products and technologies in Brazil?
Brazilians are looking for machinery and inputs that bring more efficiency to their production. We have found technologies that are not yet in the Brazilian sector, and that is why we have organized these delegations to bring to Brazil suppliers capable of meeting this suppressed demand. After all, there are over 200 million Brazilians and over 70,000 bakeries to serve them, so the opportunity for growth is huge.