Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisboa, held 27–30 March at Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL), brought together for the first time the entire food distribution, restaurant and hotel industry equipment, and technology and machinery for the food and drinks manufacturing industry supply side. The show confirmed the organiser’s original expectations, receiving a record number of visits from 30,612 professionals.
Organised by Alimentaria Exhibitions and FIL, Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisboa has established itself as the most important trade show for the industry in Portugal and one of the major European agri-food market events. The four exhibition halls at FIL, with an area of 45,000 m2, were occupied by over 800 exhibitors, with the significant international presence featuring 404 companies from 30 countries.
Spain and France were the countries with the most representatives at the exhibition. For their part, Bulgaria, Romania, China, United States, Argentina and Germany attended the show for the first time, an indication of the importance of the Portuguese market for foreign trade in these countries. More than 20 other countries were also noteworthy for their strong participation, primarily Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Mexico, Korea and Thailand.
According to the organisers, another aspect of international involvement in the show, the Hosted Buyers Programme, was a great success. In total, over the four days of the event, more than 600 meetings were held between exhibitors and international buyers from countries such as India, Bulgaria, Brazil, Spain, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Israel, Ukraine, Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, United States, China and France, representing a potential market of over 220 million consumers open to Portuguese producers.
The presence of Brazilian buyers was especially significant as they come from a country with enormous business opportunities for international investors.
Both event organisers and participants offered a very positive assessment of the Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisboa combination. As a result, the continuation of this trade show model in 2013 is assured, according to the organisers. The event is estimated to have moved close to 185 million euros, bringing 18 million euros into Lisbon’s economy.
For Fátima Vila Maior, director of the show for FIL, the various strategic partnerships established during the exhibition undoubtedly contributed to the success and dynamism of the event, ‘creating an exceptional venue for promoting business and attracting new growth opportunities’.
In this regard, Víctor Pascual, director of the show for Alimentaria Exhibitions, highlights the ‘commercial and strategic’ importance of the more than 600 bilateral meetings scheduled by the organisers for exhibitor companies and invited buyers from fifteen different countries, especially Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOPS in the Portuguese acronym).
Conferences, workshops and seminars
The crisis in markets and consumption, new challenges for agri-food companies and industries, the need for entrepreneurship and ongoing innovation were all analysed and discussed at seminars, workshops, lectures and demonstrations held during the show. All of these activities reinforced the dynamic and galvanising nature of the event, while also providing an exceptional venue for interaction among the industry’s different actors.
University and market
The Food I&DT (Research and Technological Development) space promoted partnerships among researchers, companies, technology centres and institutions of higher education with the aim of encouraging the marketing and exploitation of technology within the industry. With 51 technologies in its catalogue, including new products, processes and services, Food I&DT was the largest food technology exhibition in Portugal to date. This brokered event allowed participating companies to arrange bilateral meetings with the researchers responsible for the technologies on display.
Innoval, flying the banner of innovation
Continuing the principle of innovation and focusing on convenience, sustainability, health, pleasure and features, the Innoval space, designed to launch and present new products, featured more than 40 new items intended for retail, restaurants and hotels. Highlights among the items on display were a fig vinegar reduction (Mendes Gonçalves); adult muesli based on the Peruvian plant maca, which, in addition to its nutritional properties, also boosts sexual activity (Pharmabiz); a green cheese with omega 3 (Montequeijo–Queijos de Montemuro); cold-pressed flaxseeds, chestnuts and walnuts from Brazil with omega 3 and Q10 enzyme, a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging effects (Pharmabiz); pork sausages with vegetables (Galapa); packs of pre-cut assorted Iberian pork products for individual consumption (Industrias Cárnicas Iglesias); and cooked and frozen octopus, ready to heat and serve (Europacífico Alimentos del Mar).
Avant-garde cuisine played an especially prominent role at Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisboa 2011. The Food Experience space hosted a number of technical cooking presentations, cooking competitions, tastings and culinary debates, all led by the sector’s top professionals. The conference offered companies the opportunity to participate and see how their products were transformed in the Food Experience kitchens.