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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Saturday, December 05 2009. 11:45

IFDE Show Marred by Recession, Confusion and Legal Disputes

The first edition of International Food and Drinks Expo India 2009 which closed yesterday has been a victim of recession and confusion created by a couple of other previous shows like IFDE India and IFE, resulting in much less participation and a thin attendance.

Photo By :: Adil Arora

As one enters Hall 11 of the Pragati Maidan for this maiden food and wine show, one is confronted with a message, ‘that the International Food and Drinks Expo India 2009 is organized by Tarsus Exhibitions and Publishing Ltd. and is in no way connected to, sponsored or organised by the company ITE India Pvt. Ltd. and has no association with the registered trade mark of ITE India Pvt Ltd, IFDE India.

The legalese would indicate that there might have been a legal dispute with ITE India Pvt. Ltd. which had organised the show IFDE several years ago and surely must hold the trademark. This information might have been forced by a court settlement.

In fact, the Managing Director of ITE India Ltd., Mr. Mukesh Sharma confirmed to delWine that they have filed a suit against the organizers for Rs.50 million and the case is sub-judice and the notice is due to the court intervention.. ITE India owns the trade mark IFDE and had organised a similar show a few years earlier till IFE came into the scene.

IFE is another food and wine show that was held annually at the same spot for 5-6 years. A joint venture between Montgomery International in London and Interads India, it seemed to be going great guns and the same dates and venue as the current show were announced last year for this year’s edition.. Due to some dispute between the two JV partners, the show had to be cancelled- only to be resurrected by the knowledgeable Tarsus of UK who immediately booked the same spot and the same dates with their own show for this first edition.

As a part of the dissolution agreement, neither party could reportedly hold any show as IFE or otherwise for two years. The Indian party alleges that this is a back door entry by Montgomery-reportedly there has been a common Director for Montgomery and Tarsus. The case is sub-judice-so neither party is willing to give more details. The organizers of this show strongly deny any connection with Montgomery or IFE, a brand owned by them.

However, with the confusion galore, many participants and the visitors were under the impression that this was a new avatar of IFE-oblivious to the fact that it was a a new show under the new management. Several participants decided to stay away as they were aware of the ongoing dispute and the legal proceedings.

The space has shrunk to much less than half of the 3000 sq mtrs last year. The big Spanish food and wine group chose to hold their event at the Taj Mansingh a day earlier instead; it was a huge success with importers coming from throughout India to attend. Companies like Suresh Kumar & Sons, Mittal International, Indage, Sula, Prestige Wines, Shroff and Taylor and Opera Wines chose to ignore the show due to recession or other reasons.

Vikash Gupta, the dynamic Director of Opera Wines says the show was mediocre with not much happening and hardly any attendance. ’There was no buzz as it was last year. We had people coming from all over to taste wines-a lot was happening. But one could visit this show in an hour or two. And it was disappointing to see a nice Indian pavilion but all stands khali- without any wines on display’    

Indian wine pavilion organised by the Indian Grape Processing Board was in fact an unfortunate disaster. IGPB had rented the space and given out to Indian producers. Barring Vintage Wines, all the other stands were empty-leaving a poor impression on the visitors. Apparently, there is some excise law that forbids the brands registered in Delhi to participate in such shows as it is considered as promotion, says Gianender Dua who says his company markets Vintage wines in various parts of India including Haryana and Delhi and as it happened, had not registered the brands as a business strategy this year.

Ridiculous as it may seem, last year IFE had many stalls which had brands registered in Delhi, like Sula, Indage and Opera had conducted tasting at their stands and were always buzzing with people. Possibly, there was some change in the policy during the last one year that the organizers had overlooked.

Click Here For Large ViewThe South African stand which had shrunk to a single small pavilion had no wines to taste and no person manning it when I visited the stand whereas last year there were 9 exhibitors who also participated in a guided tasting attended by the South African High Commissioner and attended by an over-flowing house of over 30 people. Perhaps, this year recession had taken its toll and the exhibitors decided to stay away.

However, the individual stands were tastefully decorated whether it was the Italians, Sopexa or the Australian producers- the best being from the Opera consortium. The International Olive Council based in Spain had an interesting looking stall that had an even more interesting person spearheading the promotional activity- the ad guru and celebrity Prahlad Kakkar from Mumbai.

Prahlad Kakkar, the ever smiling, brand ambassador of IOOC was cheerfully tasting and talking about the olive oil to anyone who came but that did not keep him busy. He felt that the invitation list was very limited. ‘The exhibition must open up to more people and also consumers. The business people are limited and the stall owners need to get some traffic,’ he said. He was also critical of the Council for not providing the trade directory. ‘What is the use of my standing and explaining to people when the potential buyers cannot access the oil producers through the stand?’ he said.

Kakkar, who is also the Vice president of Terroir One- Delhi Wine Club Mumbai Chapter, was quite impressed with the wines, especially the Italian. He loved the wines from Cantine Due Palme. This is a co-operative winery in the Salento wine producing area of the region of Puglia in South Italy and makes several award winning wines and many of its wines have been awarded the highest Three Glasses by Gambero Rosso, the prestigious Italian Wine Guide. It is only the ignorance of importers and the failure of the hotels and restaurateurs to recognize the value of these wines that they are still not available in India. ‘But they must be available to us in Mumbai,’ exclaimed Prahlad who is not much familiar with the bureaucracy for imported wines.

Cantine Due Palme is part of the five big co-operatives who have formed Opera Consortium. Using their clout, they managed huge funding from EU to be spent in 2007-09 and this was their last hurrah using up the funds. It is no surprise that their stands-food and wine were separated this time, were the most impressive stands and well attended.

Hopefully, the organizers will be able to sort out their legal issues and come back with a better show next year dates of  which have already been announced. In the meantime, many of the old stalwarts have decided to stay on the fence and see what happens in 2011 and then decide their course of action whether to participate. Hopefully, the disappointed participants of this edition will be back next year, because the things should get better..

Subhash Arora




Subhash Arora Says:

Dear Jardine, I am glad it was a productive event for you-as it would have been expected. My focus was generally on the shrunken size of exhibition and the possible reasons thereof-to which South Africa did add in a major way for whatever reasons, and the footfalls which were unfortunately very disappointing for the people we came across in 3 days-including some participants who did not wish to be named. As for the South Africa stand being manned, I took a casual picture of it as I was passing by. I was sitting at the neaby café and IOOC stand for around half an hour and did not see anyone. That was around 3:30-4:00 pm on the first day. You are perhaps talking of the later days or perhaps the person who was manning the stall had gone on a coffee break during my visit. For whatever its worth, I am making the picture of the stand  taken casually, enlargeable. Once again, I am glad you were able to generate positive enquiries though I do wish South African wines should have been present in some form. I feel, it is important for your wine industry to be constantly in picture for chiselling in a better share of the Indian wine market.  Subhash Arora

Posted @ December 11, 2009 10:10


Jardine Omar Says:

We have a different experience to share about IFDE 2009. Despite the small size of the exhibition, it was quite a productive event as some good new contacts were created with importers, large retailers & distributors. As IFDE is a Food & Beverages exhibition, it is unfair to judge it on the basis of the presence of wine exporters/vineyards. There was good participation by food companies, some of them offering excellent products for the Indian market. Your comment on South Africa, is unfair, especially in the context of IFDE being a brand new exhibition. The same discretion was used by us in opting for an information booth initially and then increasing the size of our participation based on experience. The same process was followed for IFE too. As regard your comment on the South African stand not being manned, we would like to mention that between 10am and 5pm, the stand was not left unmanned for a single minute. Finally, we believe that there must be some kind of consolidation in the Food & Beverages exhibition space, as there is just a proliferation of exhibitions, some good and some poorly executed.

Posted @ December 10, 2009 15:36


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