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MEAT XPERIENCE  es la única feria especializada dedicada al sector cárnico, diseñada para carniceros, charcuteros y tiendas gourmet de productos cárnicos que se realizará el 27 y 28 de octubre de 2024. Constituye una plataforma desde la que se quiere potenciar el conocimiento compartido de profesionales que marcan tendencia en este ámbito. Entrevistamos a Vicenç Bardolet, presidente del Gremi de Cansaladers, Carnissers, Xarcuters de les Comarques Tarragonines. Explica la importancia de participar en una feria hecha a la medida de los profesionales del oficio de la carne.

What will MEAT XPERIENCE represent for the profession?

This fair should be the reference point for the artisanal meat sector in all of Spain. Achieving it will depend on us, the Catalan butchers and delicatessens. There are many fairs in Europe, even in Spain, in the industrial meat sector, but none of them are specified for us, and if MEAT XPERIENCE is, it is because we organize it from within the sector through the unions of the federation.

This event is new and aimed at professionals in butcher shops, delicatessens and poultry shops. Why have the large fairs not taken this professional sector into account?

Hasta finales de los años 90 del siglo pasado, si nos hacían caso. Piense que la Federación Catalana de Carniceros Charcuteros estuvo en los primeros Comités organizadores de las ferias Alimentaria e Intercarn. Pero un buen día desapareció el interés de los organizadores para que los minoristas opináramos porque, en aquellos tiempos, parecía que los charcuteros hacíamos la competencia en la industria pequeña catalana. Es la época en que nuestro Reglamento técnico sanitario quería arrinconarnos a un triste papel dentro del sector. Gracias a los gremios, que siguieron luchando, hoy estamos todavía aquí.

Now the meat industry fairs are held, not so much to serve the internal public, but to attract people from outside the country. If you notice, machinery or packaging companies present very few new developments designed for small processors. We would like to have meat machinery industries that have lines designed for us.

The objective of the fair is clear: to highlight the trade of butcher shops, delicatessens and chicken shops. What activities will visitors be able to see to make it an experiential fair?

We are working on it, but it is almost certain that we will find tastings and pairings commented by experts who can help us better defend our products; there will be technical talks from different areas, both professionals in the meat trades and business topics; and we can also enjoy thedemonstrations of the professionals of our Spanish Selection of Butchers.

MEAT XPERIENCE es la unión de diversas asociaciones y federaciones. ¿La unión es la fuerza del oficio?

Sí o sí, sólo la unión nos da fuerza. En un momento en el que cada día vemos a menos personas interesadas en seguir nuestros negocios o de entrar a trabajar en nuestros establecimientos, los gremios queremos que la sociedad entienda que perder los oficios artesanos de alimentación representaría, no sólo una pérdida cultural gastronómica, sino una pérdida de su capacidad de elección de productos de calidad. Porque si algo está claro, es que la calidad del producto cárnico está en las carnicerías y charcuterías.

From your point of view, what does the meat professional need to attract an increasingly demanding consumer who is open to other proposals based on non-animal proteins?

I think it is not true that we have a more demanding consumer, but rather what we have is a consumer who is increasingly less knowledgeable about purchasing meat. It is the older people and some young people with an interest in gastronomy who continue to buy from us. These are indeed demanding and know what to buy, but most new buyers are not so expert. An example would be hamburgers: we sell many, very good and different ones, but the cuts we use to make hamburgers had other culinary outlets 20 years ago.

And as for non-animal protein, I think that talking about it is not our place. If they want confrontation and publicity, they will do it among themselves. We cannot nor do we want to be against any gastronomic trend, as long as it is healthy. And in this sense, the ultra-processed products that they say compete with us are still unhealthy products that cannot stand up to any comparison with a natural cut of meat or an artisan sausage.

The fair will become the meeting point for professionals. Therefore it is the place for supplier companies to show their news. There is already a good part of the fair marketed, but do all the suppliers of meat professionals have a place at this event?

Of course! In fact, part of the success would be, not so much that it is filled with exhibiting companies, but that the companies are representative of the entire business network that butcher shops, delicatessens and poultry shops need.

It is important to highlight that the fair has been adapted to the professionals' schedules. MEAT XPERIENCE is made on Sunday and Monday, is that correct?

Yes, Sundays and Monday mornings are the two days when, for the most part, we have more free time and therefore, most of us will be able to go visit the fair.

Finally, and as a summary: Why should it be exhibited at MEAT XPERIENCE?

Companies from all sectors that are suppliers, from machinery to business services, from meat products or meat, from containers and packaging to spices or tripe, will all be welcome. And from this page I make an appeal: we need suppliers who understand our needs and know how to satisfy them. We are good customers to do business with!