‘Sial Paris is there not only for trade but also for inspiration’

NEW SPRING – After the summer, it’s finally time again. From October 15 to 19, Paris will once again be the scene of thousands of food producers from around the world presenting their latest products to many more visitors, who also come from far and wide. What can we expect from the two-year fair in 2022? Why should we definitely take Thalys? We asked Audrey Ashworth, director of SIAL Paris since the beginning of this year.

You have not been the director of SIAL Paris for very long. Can you tell us a little about yourself to the people who do not know you yet?
“It is true that I have not been in this position for long, but I have worked at Comexposium, which organizes the fair, since 2018 and have been in the industry for fourteen years. What I really like about my job is that we bring people together and are part of something bigger. We help make the world a better place by contributing to the global food supply. I am also partly French, partly British and the mother of three beautiful children. ”

Can you briefly explain what SIAL is and what its goals are?
“SIAL stands for Salon International de l’Alimentation and is one of the largest food fairs in the world. The fair was first organized in 1964 by the French Ministry of Agriculture. It took place in Paris and still is today. In addition, we also arrange sub-fairs in Montreal, Jakarta, Toronto, New Delhi and Shanghai and from this year also in Las Vegas, Mumbai and Shenzhen. We want to be as close to the market as possible. During SIAL Paris, more than seven thousand exhibitors will present their new products to more than three hundred thousand visitors on a 250,000 square meter exhibition floor. The big question then is: how do you know where to be as a visitor? How do you get the most out of your visit? Of course, the fair is divided into areas for, for example, meat, dairy products or frozen foods in addition to the traditional national pavilions. Our digital platform CXMP Marketplace is new. This is where buyers and sellers can meet and trade with each other. But the stock market is not exclusively for trading; it’s also a wonderful way to get inspired. ”

What else can you do at SIAL Paris 2022?
“This year’s theme is #selfchange. Together, we face the challenge of feeding nearly 8 billion people worldwide into a changing world. At the fair, we look at this question from all sides. How can we build the future together? Via SIAL Talks, formerly SIAL TV, visitors can listen to speakers from all over the world and debate with each other. People come to the fair to meet each other, but also to learn from each other. In fact, many visitors explicitly come to Paris to discover new trends and developments, to literally taste what is going on in the food world. There are also cooking demonstrations under the name SIAL La Cuisine. How do you prepare plant-based alternatives to meat or fish? Interesting to be with! In addition, we have had the SIAL innovation for a long time. The producers can participate in the competition for their innovations, and the contributions are judged by an international jury. We will do it again this year. You can still send! We are also looking further into the future of our Future Lab. There we are examining what the food trends in 2030 and beyond will be. ”

What trends and innovations do you expect to meet this year?
“The market analysis agency Kantar has, on our behalf, conducted a study of consumer trends in 2022-2023. Many interesting things came out of it. Such as the reasons consumers give to buy food. It seems to be primarily because of the pleasure that food gives people. Then health, convenience and ethics come as reasons to buy. Kantar identifies ten trends in its report. The first: small treats. It fits right into the pleasure that consumers get from food! ‘Immunofood’ is also on the list. The addition of cannabidiol, which is said to have a calming effect, is in my opinion only a temporary fashion phenomenon in contrast to the trend where foods contain as few ingredients and additives as possible. Trend number five is somewhat similar: more controversial additions have been omitted.Think of fish farmed without antibiotics.Something quite different is the increase in bulk supply, where forb the brooders buy the quantity they need, instead of pre-packaged. We see a lot of innovation in this area. Another trend is to look beyond the ‘organic’ label. For consumers who appreciate this, organic alone is no longer enough; For example, a lot of attention is now also paid to animal welfare, regional origin and reasonable compensation to the producer. Furthermore, the development of plant-based alternatives continues, with more and more varieties and the proportion of fish alternatives growing. This also applies to dairy products. Kantar further distinguishes the communication about the product’s ecological footprint on the label as something we will see more often this year. Finally, blockchains will also play a greater role in the near future, where consumers want to be able to map the route their food has taken, from seed to shelf. ”

What do you expect from Holland at the fair, which takes place in October?
“The Netherlands was the fifth exhibition country in SIAL Paris with 184 participants in 2018. At present, about 140 exhibitors are already registered and we expect to arrive at roughly the same. A quarter of them are there for the first time. Together they will fill about 7,300 square meters of floor space. So you are already well on your way! 27 percent of this group is on the show floor with dairy products. But meat, nuts, coffee, tea, biscuits and beer are traditionally well represented in the Netherlands. Many visitors also come from the Netherlands. to Paris, where your country is in fourth place after France, Italy and Spain. “

The world has been through a lot in recent years. To what extent does this affect the trading floor?
“Both the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are leaving deep traces in the food world. I am thinking, for example, of the challenges that have arisen in the field of logistics and the scarcity of raw materials and products such as sunflower oil. We will be able to gather fewer visitors and exhibitors this year due to Due to lockdowns in China, we do not expect Chinese exhibitors who have not been able to prepare thoroughly for participation, and Russian and Ukrainian trading partners are not expected to participate either, as a result we expect 10 percent fewer participants “About 700 in total than previously calculated. We expected to grow after 2018, but the number of participants is the same now.”

For more information about SIAL Paris 2022, visit https://www.sialparis.com or contact the Dutch representation Promosalons Nederland: 020 – 4620020 or
netherlands@promosalons.com.

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