SIAL Paris is just around the corner. with this in mind, ESM brings you our comprehensive guide to the biggest food fair of the year, showcasing some of the event highlights and must-see stands, as well as trends to look out for. This article first appeared in ESM Issue 5 2018.
Taking place at Paris Nord Villepinte from 21 to 25 October, SIAL 2018 promises to be the food event of the year and an inspirational meeting place for the entire industry.
It’s been more than half a century since SIAL (Salon International de l’Alimentation) hosted its first exhibition, with the ambition of becoming the world’s most important networking event for food professionals. Today, the biennial show gathers more than 155,000 visitors and 7,020 exhibitors, 85% of whom come from overseas – highlighting its evolution from a showcase of the best of France into a truly global gathering. It’s testament to the puling power of the five-day show that almost a year out from the event, around 90% of its floor space had already been reserved.
“All eyes in the food industry will be turned toward Paris in October 2018,” says Nicolas Trentesaux, director of the SIAL network. “SIAL Paris is a unique, inspirational platform for testing new markets, launching new products, and meeting the main professionals in the sector to discuss the challenges that lie ahead.
“It is also a veritable laboratory, with R&D departments from around the world finalising their innovations to test them in the aisles of the exhibition. More than 2,500 innovations will be unveiled to the world for the very first time as part of SIAL Innovation, serving up yet more inspiration to the food-processing industry.”
If SIAL itself is all about discovering the latest trends, then SIAL Innovation offers a snapshot of how said concepts are put into practice. At the last edition of SIAL, some 2,188 products were presented for inclusion in SIAL Innovation, from 942 different companies, with more than 600 products selected for scrutiny by a panel of 19 international jury members.
This figure was 24% higher than it was in 2014, thus, selecting winners for all 15 categories was no mean feat.
The diverse list of past winners includes a range of pure, cold-pressed juices featuring aromatic herbs; a mix of dried mushrooms in a pepper mill; a range of dried citrus leaves for creating everything from cakes to cocktails; a range of frozen-fruit products that can be scooped right from the skin; a range of meats matured according to age-old butchery techniques; and a nutrient-rich meat alternative derived from lentils and chickpeas. An interesting mix, we’re sure you’ll agree.
The top three winners in this year’s SIAL Innovation competition are set to be unveiled during a special SIAL Innovation Awards event, taking place during the five days of the show.
Since its foundation, SIAL has also been about fostering the next generation of inspirational food leaders, acting as a springboard for many of the trends that are now common in the marketplace. The event provides a platform for both large firms and food start-ups to showcase the foods of tomorrow, offering opportunities for round-table discussions on new trends, as well as guided tours.
There’s more to SIAL than just food, however. Beverages are also in line to receive an extra push this year, while ‘Made in France’, devoted to home-grown products, is another central theme. The show’s Equipment and Services segment will return, offering an opportunity for micro-enterprises and SMEs to present their latest technologies, while the Future Lab will provide a platform for start-ups in the food and retail industries.
Styled as ‘a peek into the future’, the SIAL Future Lab will be located at the entrance to Hall 6 and incorporate a number of different functions.
Chief among these is the SIAL Food Lab, which will seek to address topics that will be central to the food debate in the not-too-distant future. For example, what alternative proteins will come to the forefront when feeding the estimated 8.6 billion people on earth by 2030? How will artificial intelligence revolutionise our food production practices? These topics and more will be debated in full.
The SIAL Future Lab also plays host to SIAL Rising Startup, a new start-up space for 50 young creators focused on developing solutions for the food industry of the future, in terms of new products, services, packaging, and so forth. Elsewhere, the SIAL VR Lab is a virtual-reality experience highlighting how VR technology will revolutionise our daily diet, focusing on a number of different sectoral applications.
The SIAL Future Lab has been developed with a number of industry partners, including business intelligence and trend-forecasting agency AlimAvenir; IDEFI EcoTrophelia, a group that focuses on food excellence and innovation training; AgroParisTech, the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences; Easycom, a creative agency specialising in immersive technologies; and Laval Virtual, a virtual- and augmented-reality solutions provider.
Embrace The Alter’Native
The modern food landscape is awash with trends, both old and new. Thus, SIAL has embraced this evolution with the creation of a space devoted to all things alternative. Over the five days of the event, the Alter’Native Food Forum will see retail and foodservice professionals, as well as manufacturers, take part in conferences and round-table discussions to examine trends such as organic, free-from, eco-friendly and sustainably sourced products.
The Alter’Native Food Forum will also play host to bilingual guided visits to the sector from two perspectives: alternative ingredients, conducted by experts from NutriMarketing, a firm aimed at the nutraceutical industry; and health, conducted by experts from Atlantic Santé, a nutrition, health, and food safety consultancy.
“[The Alter’Native Food Forum is] a unique potpourri of experiences that we will be proposing for the first time in 2018,” says Nicolas Trentesaux. “SIAL has always been at the vanguard in food matters, and this year we wish to go even further, with this alternative food sector, organised against the backdrop of SIAL, the world’s leading food innovation exhibition.”
Topics proposed include an overview of the superfood sector, the clean-label phenomenon, Agriculture 2.0, sustainable development and animal well-being. It promises to be a fascinating addition to this year’s SIAL exhibition.
SIAL Paris also positions itself as a source of inspiration for chefs and culinary professionals. In 2018, the theme of cuisine moderne will be on the menu, led by three-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, who runs restaurants in Dubai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai as well as, of course, Paris. Alléno is an enthusiastic, inspirational advocate for French cuisine, and ambitious in developing new concepts with a distinctly Gallic identity: cuisine moderne.
Alléno will also take part in the selection committee for the prizes awarded by SIAL Innovation and develop a foodservice-themed trail at the show. He will also be appearing on SIAL TV on the opening day of the exhibition, on 21 October.
All in all, from its Parisian origins, SIAL is now a truly global network, with organisers Comexposium hosting eight regular exhibitions around the world to keep up to date with the innovation cycle. These include SIAL Paris, SIAL Canada, in Montreal and Toronto, SIAL China, SIAL Middle East, SIAL InterFOOD, in Jakarta, and Food India, inspired by SIAL, in New Delhi.
Together, these events welcome 14,535 exhibitors and 359,800 visitors from 194 countries – a truly global network.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.