Alimentaria reaches its 40th year with more innovation, internationalisation and gastronomy

From 25 to 28 April, in the Fira de Barcelona‘s Gran Via venue, Alimentariacelebrates its 40th anniversary, putting more effort and resources than ever into achieving the most international, innovative and gastronomic edition in its history. Some 140,000 visitors are expected, 40,000 from abroad, and more than 10,000 business meetings will be held between exhibitors and the 800 key worldwide buyers directly invited by the organisation. Alimentaria brings together the latest industry innovations, showcasing trends and generating knowledge. It will also showcase gastronomy and the restaurant industry as the sector’s greatest allies when it comes to promoting the variety and quality of its food and drink.
In its efforts to reinvent itself and maintain its status as a global benchmark event in its specialist area, Alimentaria 2016—which represents 4,000 companies from 70 countries—is introducing a revamped structure to highlight the synergies between different sectors and reveal new market trends.
The trade fair offering will be split between the classic drivers of the show: Intervin (wines and spirits), Intercarn (meat and meat products), Restaurama (the restaurant sector) and Interlact (milk and dairy products). New for this year is Multiple Foods, the most cross-cutting of all the fairs that brings together virtually half of the companies taking part in the show, grouped by specialist area.
Included here are the Spanish autonomous regions (Lands of Spain) and the international pavilions, as well as growing market sectors such as Healthy Foods (organic food, preparations for infants and special dietary requirements), Fine Foods (gourmet products); Mediterranean Foods (oils, fruit and vegetables), Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionery (candies and snacks); and Expoconser (canned, bottled and semi-preserved products), as well as the Premium zone made up of a dozen select firms related to haute cuisine. Another new feature is the inclusion of drinks and frozen food manufacturers in the Restaurama segment.
Export opportunities
Due to its international drawing power, Alimentaria is an efficient platform for companies exporting to new markets. This year the organisation has increased its investment by 35% in order to invite 800 key buyers from different countries (Hosted Buyers), amongst which are importers and major operators involved in the distribution sector and the HoReCa channel. The event will facilitate business meetings, technology transfer and corporate collaboration with the trade fair’s exhibitors.
Alimentaria will be organising the programme with the support of institutions such as the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB), the Association of Internationalised Industrial Companies (AMEC), ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) and the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ). The show is focusing on strategic markets for its participants, such as Europe and Latin America, as well as Asian countries, the Middle East and North America.
Small and medium-sized enterprises and large distribution companies all recognise the contribution Alimentaria makes in opening up new foreign markets and its role in identifying business opportunities. According to Josep Lluís Bonet, president of Alimentaria and of Fira de Barcelona: ‘Internationality is no longer an option but rather an obligation in order to increase competitiveness and to grow the sector. That is why we particularly want to stand alongside and support SMEs trying to sell abroad.’
J. Antoni Valls, Managing Director of Alimentaria Exhibitions and of the show stresses: The emphasis of this edition will be on internationalisation, innovation, but also on doing business. The show will demonstrate that this a good time for companies to innovate, look towards new consumer trends and increase their presence in foreign markets.’
The most innovative trends and the future stars of haute cuisine
In its second edition, The Alimentaria Experience will explore in depth the relationship between haute cuisine and the industry, identifying synergies and collaborations. This area will feature famous names on the culinary scene such as Joan Roca and Ángel León as well as promising youngsters who are already setting trends and who could well become the next stars of haute cuisine. Names such as Ana Merino, Beatriz Sotelo, Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Virgilio Martínez form part of the group of 40 chefs taking part in the workshops and cooking demonstrations scheduled to provide first-hand experience of the new trends in a cuisine that has achieved unprecedented international recognition.
As a new feature for the wine sector at this edition, Alimentaria is introducing Vinorum Think, which reveals the latest developments in the sector, the Spanish wines that are setting the trends and the secrets to getting into key markets such as Asia, guided by renowned experts, wine critics, winemakers, Masters of Wine, sommeliers and chefs. The programme is rounded off with a series of talks, tasting sessions and culinary demonstrations. The tasting areas of the gourmet Olive Oil Bar and the exhibition ‘Spain, the land of 100 cheeses’will round off a truly gastronomic experience.
The show also includes the concept of Halal for the first time, in order to boost knowledge of the types of products grouped under this label and to turn it into a meeting point between exporters and visitors alike. The three activities scheduled are the Halal Supermarket, the Halal Congress and the Halal Showcooking Demonstration.
Meanwhile, The Alimentaria Hub, with the Innoval space as its focus, will form the central point for discovering the latest sector trends, innovations and business updates, providing a barometer of trends that point towards à la carte foods, organic products and local produce, not forgetting the interest in anything natural and environmentally friendly, which manifests itself in the search for new sources of protein. More than 200 activities will take place and 300 new products exhibited that will demonstrate the trends in the food industry over the coming years, and more than 10,000 business meetings will be held with international buyers. This knowledge centre will host, amongst other events, the 3rd Nestlé Forum on ‘Creating Shared Value’ and the 11th International Congress on the Mediterranean Diet. There will also be lectures and seminars where prestigious industry experts will reveal the keys to the future of the sector on subjects such as innovation, branding, health, wellbeing, internationalisation and globalisation, distribution, retail, marketing and communication, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Barcelona, April 2016