Gama spoke to Marina Calheiros, Coordinating Manager, ahead of the inaugural edition of Lisbon Food Affair.
What is the rationale and the vision for Lisbon Food Affair?
Lisbon Food Affair has a distinguishing positioning, featuring a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability, and internationalization adapted to the recent needs and demands of consumers/markets and, consequently, to the challenges of companies and the global market, with emphasis on foreign representative participation. In this first edition of the event, dedicated to the professional segment, and that takes place from the 12th to the 14th of February, visitors will find three main areas:
The LFA Food&Beverage Area joins the food offer, organized around sectors that represent the wide variety of the food and beverage industry. In this area, there are agricultural producers and regional products, the industry and distribution of food and beverages, research and academic centers, as well as government, sectoral and regional entities, allotted in exhibition areas. Featured also is the International Area with the participation of individual companies, groups and countries.
At the Lisbon Food Affair Horeca Hall, which brings together the offer for the hotel and restaurant sectors, you will find manufacturers and distributors of machinery and equipment for hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, pastry shops and bars, hygiene and cleaning products, laboratory/HACCP products, cutlery, porcelain and earthenware, furniture, textiles, uniforms and decorative items. It will be possible to discover renown market brands, both national and foreign.
In the Lisbon Food Affair Technology area, we can find technology and equipment for the food industry and distribution. With a transversal concept, this area covers all the technological needs present in the food chain, from ingredients to packaging, handling, processing, and commercial distribution. Manufacturers and distributors of machinery and equipment for the food and beverage industry and for food distribution, packaging, safety equipment and logistics companies will also be present herein.
As a place of testing, the Lisbon Food Affair also includes activities with great importance for the sector, such as conferences, workshops, and talks about innovation, sustainability, supply chain, digitization, consumer, financing, among other themes. More than 20 solid topics will be up for debate, involving strategic partners, and more than 50 activities will take place during the 3 days of the event.
In terms of innovation, there is a space dedicated to the most innovative products launched in the Portuguese market between 2022 and 2023, aiming to promote. In this area named LFA Innovation we will feature 30 companies that have applied for more than 60 new products. Innovation will also play a strong role by the participation of entities and start-ups with specific projects for this sector, where concern for new consumer trends and sustainability stands out.
What are your expectations for the inaugural event?
This is the first edition of the Lisbon Food Affair, and our expectations are very high. The event is getting excellent reception in the market. More than 160 companies will participate in Lisbon Food Affair representing more than 500 brands, 20%of which are international , ranging from South Africa, Brazil, Slovakia, Spain, France, Italy, Peru, Poland, and Sweden; 55% of the entries are from new companies participating for the first time in our industry-oriented events organized by FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa.
This event comes at a very opportune and challenging time for the entire agri-food sector, marked by changes in post pandemic consumer habits, by the war in Europe, difficulties related to logistics and transportation prices, as well as the increased demand for differentiated products, as opposed to a mass offer.
As we know, where there is change there is opportunity. Therefore, we expect that Lisbon Food Affair will reinforce itself as the stage where companies can proactively position themselves and display their solutions, innovation, strategy, as well as brands, It will be a place of testing, where in real time, it will be possible to perceive the reaction and acceptance of the national and international market to the presented offer.
How should food and drink companies ensure success in the face of global political insecurity, supply chain challenges, and other headwinds?
We are facing a new consumer reality, stemming from the changes in post pandemic consumer habits, to the current war, inflation, changes in transportation and logistics costs, the greater environmental awareness, or the greater degree of consumer demand regarding the aspects of health and well-being, in addition to a buyer awareness. All these factors incur significant changes in the market, a fact which requires companies to think differently.
Faced with this new paradigm and in terms of the Portuguese market, it has evolved positively and has managed to adapt. There is also an increasingly clear awareness that innovation and research are vital strategies for the sector’s development. In this sense, there is an increasing cooperation between the entities in terms of technological development and internationalization, business and academia, which guide the industry towards new approaches. Today, demand is more oriented towards differentiated products, as opposed to a mass offer.
What key trends do you expect to shape food and drink innovation in Portugal and elsewhere in 2023?
Changes in eating habits, the need to reduce the carbon footprint of food production, trade disputes between countries that bring economic and food supply consequences, rising wages and the reduced power of companies to set prices, are provoking great challenges on the agri-food sector, and significant changes. In this context, there is increasing pressure for companies to seek a new placement and outlook at the market from other perspectives. As such, in this sense, Lisbon Food Affair is an excellent opportunity for the entire business sector to meet new players, brands, products and new businesses from various geographic locations.
About Lisbon Food Affair
Lisbon Food Affair is the new professional fair for the agro-food sector in Portugal, aimed at manufacturers and distributors of food and beverages, equipment, services and technologies for distribution and for the Horeca channel. To find out more or to attend, visit lisbonfoodaffair.fil.pt