A Q&A with Alimentaria Exhibitions general manager J. Antonio Valls
Q: How does Alimentaria 2024 differ from other food shows?
The 2024 edition of Alimentaria, taking place next March 18-21 at Fira de Barcelona, reinforces its position as a pivotal hospitality platform in Europe by partnering with Hostelco, the International Trade Show for Catering, Hospitality and Collectivities Equipment.
Considering that there is a growing approach between the Horeca channel and the large-scale distribution, we have positioned Alimentaria&Hostelco as the most complete trade show in Europe. The embraced offering of both trade shows allows us to supply the demand with a fully transversal offer. In other words, so far no other European show with international projection can bring together the whole range of products and services to offer for both Horeca channel and organized distribution.
The way we organize our huge offer is also unique: the show displays the latest novelties in key vertical sectors (meat and allied products; the milk and dairy industry; the canned food sector; food service; gourmet products; organic foods; snacks, biscuits and confectionery, and coffee, bakery and pastry) and also transversal areas such as Alimentaria Trends -a space to discover the very latest in the development of new products, such as vegan foods, plant-based foods, allergen-free foods (Free From) and Halal and functional foods-, International Pavilions, Lands of Spain, Grocery Foods and Foodtech.
Another distinctive strength of Alimentaria&Hostelco is its wide activity programme: workshops, gastronomic content and cooking show sessions will be held in different areas by leading chefs, as well as debates and talks by more than 200 experts in innovation, management, gastronomy and hospitality, among numerous other activities.
Set in Barcelona (Spain), a multicultural hub, the event promises a unique melting pot of business and innovation for the international food, drink and hospitality industries.
Q: How many exhibitors will there be?
We anticipate around 3,200 firms from more than 60 countries. Apart from Spain, other relevant participant countries will be Italy, Turkey, China&Hong Kong, Poland, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina. We also observe that the participation of the United States and Morocco is growing significantly. And the Canadian Food Exporters Association will come back to Alimentaria to promote their companies in the International Pavilions sector.
Considering we are still four months away from the event and the number of international bookings has already exceeded our expectations, Alimentaria 2024 is set to have excellent participation. We forecast the occupation of practically the entire Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue, 7 halls, with a total occupation of 100,000 m2 (including exhibitors and featuring events such as The Alimentaria Hub, The Horeca Hub, The Olive Oil Bar and The Organic Market & Trends).
Q: Why would this event be of interest to Canadian grocery retailers?
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).
For sure, 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.
And, of course, they will also find relevant discoveries in many other sections of Alimentaria, and from companies coming mainly from European, Asian and Latin American countries. We believe that Alimentaria&Hostelco 2024 is the optimal business platform for companies from all over the world to expand their horizons in those areas.
As Canadian visitors are a priority target for our organization, for the next edition we have invited 30 highly qualified trade visitors from your country through our Hosted Buyers programme, which allows us to invite some 800 top-level international purchasers from all over the world to visit our trade show. These professionals will benefit from total or partial payment of their travel expenses and enjoy a series of special conditions for visiting the trade show and holding meetings with exhibitors.
Q: What key attractions would be relevant to Canadian grocery retailers?
Many sections are relevant to Canadian grocery retailers. 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).
Additionally, among Alimentaria’s extensive trade areas, Grocery Foods stands out with its impressive 9,000 m2 of exhibition space. It is not only one of the largest areas within Alimentaria but also attracts a significant flow of visitors. This trade show provides professionals with the opportunity to explore the latest innovations introduced by key players in the food industry, many of which are multinational corporations. Participants will be able to network and make key connections. As a prominent showcase for mass consumer products, Grocery Foods brings together a diverse and comprehensive array of offerings, offering unparalleled visibility to participating brands.
For the first time, we will include a Coffee, Bakery and Pastry sector, with a complete selection of products and equipment and its own programme of activities, and The Horeca Hub activity area, which will feature a wide range of proposals aimed at addressing the hospitality sector’s main challenges: innovation, digitalisation, customer experience, AI, sustainability, attracting and retaining talent, and differentiation.
On the other hand, The Alimentaria Hub, a central event space, will offer a glimpse into the future of the food industry. The space will host conferences, networking events, seminars, study presentations and the Innoval Awards, which are granted to the most innovative products of the year. All these around six main themes (Innovation (R&D&I) and the value of brands; Nutrition, Health and Wellness; Internationalisation and Globalisation; Distribution and Retail; Marketing and Communication and 360º sustainability) in which more than 200 speakers take part. One more time, The Alimentaria Hub will host Innoval, a showcase of some 300 new launches presented by the Alimentaria exhibitors.