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Chocoa, the answers about a unique trade fair…

Gregor Küpper, you have launched this new trade fair which shines the spotlight on chocolate. What was the reason for this initiative?
To help Belgian and foreign chocolate makers to develop their export business.
Most chocolate-makers are small or medium-sized enterprises: they have a real need for a specific platform, in order to be able to meet and receive international buyers. Up until now however, the existing professional fairs are mainly directed at the industrial confectionery manufacturers' market. Chocoa aims to fill this gap and respond to the demand from this sector.

Will you manage to convince international buyers to make another trip, given that they will have already visited the ISM for example?
That is not really an issue, as a large proportion of the target public for Chocoa is different. An international buyer seeking a range of handmade chocolates or unusual, high-quality chocolates will only find them at Chocoa, and a very high concentration of them at that! Also, let's not forget the "volume" aspect: if ISM exhibitors and visitors for example generally work with container-sized orders, Chocoa business partners will negotiate deliveries of 100 kg or by the pallet.
Another important point to remember is that chocolate is truly an ambassador for Belgium, the Brussels Capital Region supports Chocoa through its network of commercial attachés throughout the world. Important budgets have been foreseen to invite buyers from strategic countries and regions. It is more than likely that the Flemish and Walloon Regions will follow this example.

Will the exhibitors also receive financial support?
As Chocoa's sole vocation is to promote exports, the Brussels minister Didier Gosuin will be granting a one-off subsidy (up to 30% of participation costs) to chocolate makers working in the Brussels Capital Region.
It is a real first in terms of financial support for companies wishing to participate at a trade fair in Belgium. This initiative will thus enable many chocolate makers to take part in this export fair in order to develop their business abroad.
The Walloon and Flemish Regions will be invited to do the same for chocolate makers in their regions.
Foreign exhibitors will probably also obtain support from their own national authorities.

Are you planning any events or demonstrations for visitors to Chocoa?
We should bear in mind that the trade fair is only open to professionals in the sector: buyers, importers and international distributors. They will be able to attend professional workshops “Sensory analysis of chocolate and its ingredients”. In addition, conferences on how to obtain financial assistance for exports, labelling requirements in terms of the ingredients or on the energy value will be open to both visitors and exhibitors.

Why is Chocoa being organised in Brussels?
Belgium is well known throughout the world for the quality of its chocolates. Brussels lies at the heart of Europe. It has a truly international profile and an excellent communications network. Also, our capital exudes an art of living, it offers top quality cuisine and incomparable conviviality! On top of that, I'm sure we shall have good weather at the end of April 2003…

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