Local food expo leaves consumers with sour taste: Organiser faces problems importing foodstuffs in time for show

The “International Food and Machinery Expo 2014” seemed like a great event for restaurant owners and consumers alike to find international-quality items for sale last week, but some visitors were left disappointed, saying there were too few new items and even fewer international companies represented.

“I thought this expo would have new products, but I can buy these products [already] in Yangon. It’s the same companies and the same products compared with last year’s expo,” said Ma Ei Mon Htwe, who owns a small restaurant in Yangon and attended the event hoping to find new goods to promote at her restaurant.

While the event attracted hospitality industry investors and business people who were looking for a bargain on restaurant-quality appliances, attendees complained that many of the products on offer offered no such discount.

“I am not interested in this expo,” said Ma San San Htwe who attended the event on January 9, the first day of the four-day expo held at Tatmadaw Hall in Dagon township.

It was not only interested buyers who were let down by the expo. Sellers were underwhelmed by transactions.

A vendor who also sold items at last year’s event expressed disappointment with this year’s lacklustre offerings.

“I showed [my items] for the first time in Yangon,” said a representative with the TMT Trading Company. “I also showed in Mandalay. In Mandalay the sales were brisk, but at this expo, the sales were not good.”

The International Food and Machinery Expo 2014 advertised that it would show food and kitchen items from Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

A representative from South Korea’s SAGA Agp Trading Company said his imported seaweed did not sell as well this year as last year.

“People in Myanmar like expos that show foreign products, which we do not have in Myanmar, and they like the promotions,” said Daw Nilar from SAGA. “If the products are not new and you can buy them in Myanmar, the expo will not attract people.”

U Zarni Maung Maung, managing director of Myanmar Professional Services Co. Ltd, and the organiser of the event, said he had planned to focus more on food, than machinery during this year’s expo, with ambitions of holding a seminar on wine, but complications regarding the importation of certain products forced him to abandon his plan.

Despite the setback, he said, he was happy to see more Myanmar companies participating and offering more items this year than last.

“There are different companies this year [compared with] last year’s expo,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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