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«Tenemos el reto de captar vocaciones y fomentar el relevo generacional, reivindicando una formación profesional a la medida del comercio de proximidad»

«Tenemos el reto de captar vocaciones y fomentar el relevo generacional, reivindicando una formación profesional a la medida del comercio de proximidad»

Meat Xperience is a specialized fair dedicated to the meat sector, designed for butchers, delicatessens and gourmet meat products stores that will take place on October 27 and 28, 2024. It constitutes a platform from which we want to enhance the shared knowledge of professionals who set trends in this field.

It is, as the organizers say, the fair of local meat establishments. The president of the Federation Catalana de Carnissers-Xarcuters, Prosper Puig, explains in this interview the spirit behind this first edition and what are its demands.

Why is the Meat Xperience fair necessary?

Because it is precisely a fair made to our size. It will be a fair with a very clear typology: that of shops. And it is a fair aimed, precisely, at the meat retail trade, at the artisan, and it addresses itself directly to its customer.

What are the data and challenges posed by the meat sector in small establishments in Catalonia and Spain? They are the same?

Not quite. In Catalonia we have a differentiating fact: production. Most delicatessens and butchers have a workshop, which does not happen in Spain. As for the challenges, mainly in Catalonia we have two: Being able to attract vocations, that is, young people; and secondly, the business or generational change, which is closely linked to the lack of professional training. Vocational training for trades is not well structured in that country; That is why we do not have a large number of young formats that are capable of carrying out a business like this.

What new features does the fair offer for the sector?

Basically new product innovation, and also, although we still do not know what the fair will be like, there will also be innovations at a technological and digital level. Technology moves very quickly and so does digitalization. Our sector was one of the first to reach the digitalization of businesses out of necessity, due to compliance with health regulations, to make scandals every day with our products... But despite everything, technology must help us reach the customer and also to analyze your data to offer the most appropriate services and products.

It is very important to know our consumer, although in the sector we have what is called “having a sense of smell” because we are very close to our client.

But once we have the data, someone should teach us how much time must pass between having the data, having it analyzed and getting started for this data to be valid. If it turns out that we have the data, but we don't know how to interpret it, then we have a problem.

“The Meat Xperience fair should serve as a speaker to highlight our sector and become a forum for debate”

Who are the organizers of the fair and what are the objectives?

This appointment is made by the Catalan Federation of Butchers-Delicatessens and, therefore, encompasses the entire meat retail sector. For this reason we would like all those people who believe that this fair is not for them, it is not like that. We encourage you to participate.

Surely we have a problem in our group: participation in events that entail additional work, such as travel. We must be aware that fairs like the one we organize are very interesting because we share knowledge and that exchange is very important. Our fair should serve this purpose: to share experiences and see where trends are going.

“Everything that is done in vocational training is designed for large companies, such as dual training. For the little ones, a tailored curriculum should be made”

“Everything that is done in vocational training is designed for large companies, such as dual training. For the little ones, a tailored curriculum should be made”

Meat Xperience is a small business. There is a big difference between the industry and us. The retail establishment has a tailored product and our services are as well. We are very close to our client, therefore, Meat Xperience is also very close to our client and other associations and federations. We were recently in Madrid at the first meeting of meat artisans and everyone put Catalonia as an example to follow. Therefore, we understand that from Catalonia we have a lot to teach.

What activities do you plan to show?

Obviously demonstration workshops will be held. But it is very important that there are much more transversal actors. There is still a year left, but the activities must focus on providing solutions not so much on the product, but on themes that are accessory but essential to run the business. We talk from packaging to management software.

We have a good grasp of the product, and demonstration workshops will probably be held, but I think it is much more important to have this much-needed complement for our businesses and to make it available to the professionals who will come.

And especially thinking about sustainability?

Our sector is very sensitive. People come to our stores every day, therefore we must also be champions in sustainability... and in KM 0, and by taking care of the territory... we can do all this, what the industry cannot do.

You explain that the fair is specifically intended for butchery, delicatessen and poultry establishments. Why?

Because it is our sector. And it is a very broad sector. Food is today the great attraction pool of commercial hubs and markets. Our sector has been quite unfairly vilified in recent years and I think we should value it. We must defend the quality of our product. And we are also defending the primary sector, fundamental for the development of society.

We are talking about empty Spain, empty Catalonia... with our purchasing action in the primary sector, we make the primary sector last over time.

You have already begun to make contacts within the sector and estimate that the fair will bring together around 3,500 people, including suppliers and visitors... also from the generational change?

Evidently. Keep in mind that our sector is one of the few in which people who join have a guaranteed job. My claim goes far beyond whether students come to our fair. It is clear that we want students to come to the fair and see that we are a sector where they can build their future. But I think we have a general problem in the country: how we structure vocational training towards micro-businesses and trades.

Everything that is done in vocational training is designed for large companies, such as dual training. For the little ones, a tailored resume should be made. In Europe there are success stories and we should just try to copy it. There is money to do it, we just lack the political will to do it. It is, therefore, a problem that has been entrenched for many years. I have been preaching in the desert for 30 years. We are identically the same as we were 30 years ago.

One place where we can look for people to join our sector is in the restaurant industry: people who are frustrated with the restaurant business. People who work a lot, with weekend schedules, etc. and that they could be incorporated into our workshops, which increasingly resemble a kitchen. With better hours and salaries, at least equal.

We have to do a lot of pedagogy for young people. We are a creative sector. And we can also be in contact with people, behind the counter.

«I have a very positive vision of the sector and the business and we want to be able to transfer it to society. "We cannot accept the story that in our sector people work long hours: the agreed hours are done like everywhere else."

We are a sector with a future and therefore, the people who join also have a future.

It is very important that Meat Xperience becomes a speaker and a discussion forum. It is also important to involve the administration, precisely because of everything said before. It is not because they do not know, because we have told them actively and passively. But we think that it is they, the administration, who must take the leap forward. We must involve the entire public sector so that we take into account what the demands of the private sector are.

People interested in having a stand at the fair, how should they do it?

Or with the company that manages the fair, and which can be seen at www.meatxperience.com, or in any of the guilds. It will be much easier to target the guilds that are part of the Federation, 5 guilds in total. Any supplier or person who is interested in the fair will have the information whether they want to be an exhibitor or if they want to visit it, through the unions and the organizers of the Meat Xperience stands.

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