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Q&A: What to expect at Alimentaria 2024

Antonio J. Valls, Alimentaria Exhibitions general manager highlights what attendees can expect from Alimentaria 2024, which runs March 18 – 21 in Barcelona Spain.

Q: What is the Alimentaria food show and what does it offer to attendees?

Alimentaria&Hostelco, one of the leading international platforms for food, beverages, food service and hospitality equipment sectors, will take place at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Vía venue (Spain) from 18 to 21 March 2024. One of the highlights this year is the embraced offering of Hostelco, the International Exhibition of Equipment and Machinery for Catering, Hospitality, and Collectivities, with Restaurama, the Alimentaria trade show specializing in the Horeca Channel and Food Service sector. This consolidation solidifies our event as the premier gathering in Europe for the Horeca channel.

The upcoming edition will feature a 15% increase in international exhibitors compared to the last, with some 900 foreign exhibiting companies joining 2,300 Spanish counterparts. The event will highlight the strong comeback of Asian companies, led by China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q: What are the key attractions at the show that would be of interest to Canadian retailers or Canadian importers?

Canadian retailers and importers attending Alimentaria can benefit from several key attractions tailored to their interests. The International Pavilions sector offers a diverse range of global products, providing opportunities for sourcing unique and exotic goods to cater to Canadian consumer preferences. Additionally, specialized zones can help retailers align with growing consumer demands in Canada. These zones include Intercarn, the meat and meat products industry show; Interlact (dairy industry); Expoconser (canning sector), Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionary (sweets and snacks); Hostelco&Restaurama (equipment, services, and products for the Horeca channel), Fine Foods (gourmet products and extra virgin olive oils), Organic Foods, Coffee, Bakery and Pastry and Foodtech (transversal solutions for processes, machinery, technology, industry 4. 0 industry and ingredients for the food industry).

Networking events and seminars provide valuable insights into market trends, regulatory updates, and business opportunities specific to the Canadian market. These will occur in The Alimentaria Hub, a space for dissemination and networking that will occupy a central place in the show and that will once again be an observatory of trends in the sector in 360º Sustainability. The other main axes will be R+D+i and brand value; Nutrition, health and wellness; Internationalization and globalization; Distribution and retail; Marketing and communication.

Moreover, Canada is the fourth most significant market in our hosted buyers program, and the event organizers have extended invitations to 30 hosted buyers from Canada, all representing importing and distribution companies. In total, the program will bring together over 2,200 top-level importers, distributors, directors, and purchasing managers, with more than half of them hailing from 80 different countries.

Q: What networking opportunities, seminars, or events are available for international retailers or importers at the show?

At Alimentaria & Hostelco, international retailers and importers have multiple networking opportunities, and activities to engage with professionals from the food and hospitality industries. There will be so much going on, with over 350 activities lined up. From seminars to business meetings, it’s the perfect chance to connect with professionals from all over the globe and talk about innovation, sustainability, and international business.

Q: Could you elaborate on any exclusive events or showcases at Alimentaria that would appeal to Canadian retailers or importers?

Alimentaria&Hostelco offers exclusive opportunities such as product demonstrations, matchmaking sessions connecting Canadian buyers with international suppliers, and expert-led discussions on trade opportunities between exhibiting countries. These sessions provide valuable insights into emerging trends, market dynamics, and potential partnerships, enabling Canadian attendees to stay ahead in the competitive food and hospitality industries.

Moreover, the show features a diverse range of events including conferences, seminars, and cooking shows, showcasing the latest innovations and culinary delights from around the globe. With visitors and exhibitors from over 60 countries, including prominent buyers from United States, Canada and Mexico, the event serves as a hub for networking, knowledge exchange, and business development. Canadian retailers and importers can use this international platform to form strategic alliances, discover new products, and gain inspiration to propel their businesses forward in a constantly changing market landscape.

Q: Are there any specific trends or innovations showcased at Alimentaria that are particularly relevant to the Canadian market?

Alimentaria&Hostelco showcases a diverse range of trends and innovations relevant to the Canadian market.  For example, we have detected a rising interest in sustainable and healthier food options in Canada, and Alimentaria addresses these trends with dedicated spaces. Specifically, Alimentaria Trends focuses on sustainable and health-conscious food, encompassing categories such as Vegan Foods, Functional Foods, Plant-Based Foods, and Free-From options (lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free).

In the last few years, Canadian consumers have shown an increasing interest in Spanish food products, mainly in olive oil, canned vegetables, meat, and confectionery products, according to data from FIAB (The Spanish Food and Drinks Federation). By visiting Alimentaria’s dynamic areas Canadian grocery retailers will find the most popular Spanish products for their clients: Intercarn, a major international business platform for the meat sector with a strong presence of the best Spanish pork products; Expoconser, for canned an semi-canned vegetal, fish and seafood products; and Fine Foods, for gourmet products, which includes the Olive Oil Bar, a tasting space with more than 100 top quality Spanish olive oils.

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