Gama spoke to Josep Antoni Valls, director general, ahead of the latest edition of Alimentaria.
What are your expectations for Alimentaria&Hostelco 2024?
The 2024 edition will be the most international to date. More than 900 out of the 3,200 exhibiting firms expected will be international, coming from more than 60 countries. The show also anticipates 25% international visitors (around 25,000) and more than 1,100 top-level international buyers from 80 countries.
In addition, and thanks to its alliance with Hostelco – the International Trade Show for Catering, Hospitality and Collectivities Equipment – Alimentaria will encompass the entire value chain and provide tailored solutions for each segment. To date, no other European event with international reach has succeeded in uniting such a comprehensive array of products and services for both Horeca sector and the distribution and retail value chains.
We forecast the occupation of practically the entire Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue, which includes seven halls and covers 100,000 sq m, featuring events such as The Alimentaria Hub, The Horeca Hub, The Olive Oil Bar, and The Organic Market & Trends.
How should food and drink companies ensure success in the face of global political insecurity, price inflation, supply chain challenges, and other headwinds?
Companies that are committed to diversifying their target markets will be more successful in dealing with the uncertainty that has marked the global economy in recent years. Additionally, food and beverage firms need to invest in innovation, adapting to the changes in consumer preferences and exploring alternatives to critical ingredients or materials.
Transversal events like Alimentaria&Hostelco, which gather all the key players in the sector at a global level, are very useful for companies to explore new business opportunities and learn different ways to face all these challenges.
What key trends are set to shape food & drink innovation in 2024?
Sustainability, digital transformation and alternatives to traditional products will continue to shape food & drink innovation next year. Far from diminishing, interest in sustainability is stronger than ever. Consumers are demanding sustainable products and a greater focus on the circular economy, reducing carbon footprint. The emergence of artificial intelligence and automation represents an opportunity for companies to optimise their operations, improve their forecasting, increase their efficiency and create new personalised experiences for their consumers. Finally, we will continue to see a rise in alternative protein and plant-based products that will coexist with traditional food and drink goods.
These trends will be explored at Alimentaria&Hostelco through various events, including the Alimentaria Hub, the Innoval Awards, the Horeca Hub, the Olive Oil Bar, and Organic Market & Trends.
Starting on 18th March 2024, Alimentaria and Hostelco are together leading the international benchmark platform for the food, gastronomy and hospitality industry, offering a unique food, drinks and hospitality experience.