The sector’s flagship trade fair in Spain is attracting an increasing number of US exhibiting firms to each edition
Alimentaria 2020, to be held at Fira de Barcelona from 20th to 23rd April next year, expects to reaffirm this interest and receive as many US professional visitors as it did in the last edition in 2018. The North American country occupied first position in the ranking of non-European attendees, which also made it the seventh country in terms of the number of visitors in the overall ranking, behind only Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The US market is a priority for the Spanish food industry, especially the olive oil, vegetable preserves and gourmet product sectors. The excellent perception of food and drinks from Spain in this country is reflected in the growing interest shown by US companies at each edition of Alimentaria.
Thus, the United States ranked seventh in terms of the number of visitors to Alimentaria 2018, behind Italy, France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany and the United Kingdom. This also made it the top non-European country in terms of the number of attendees. In this regard, the growing presence of Spanish companies in the US market is attracting more and more chains and major distributors to Alimentaria.
These include more than 80 purchasing companies which attended the event via the Hosted Buyers programme, promoted by the trade show’s organising committee. Thus, firms from the US food sector such as Commerce Casino, Chefs’ Warehouse, Cost Plus, Fairway Market, HEB, Market Hall Foods, Marky’s, Think Food Group, Whole Foods Market and United Sales Services, among many others, formed part of this mission of US buyers who visited the event in 2018.
The United States is the sixth largest recipient country of Spanish food exports, according to the Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB in its Spanish initials). In 2018, 5.7% of Spain’s foreign sales within this sector, accounting for a total of €1.73 billion, were shipped to the United States. The Spanish products most in demand among the Americans include olive oil (€424 M) and preserved fruit and vegetables (€255 M).
Opportunities for the North American food industry
According to the US Department of Trade, the United States exported food products worth €220 M to Spain in 2018, of which 60% were beverages. According to the data provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Business, the United States is Spain’s 13th largest supplier of these kinds of goods and accounts for 2% of its total food imports in 2018, a figure that represents an increase of 0.2 percentage points in comparison with the previous year.
As J. Antonio Valls, managing director of Alimentaria Exhibitions, points out, “the North American food and drink industry relies on Alimentaria as a showcase to increase its positioning in Spain and its areas of influence, especially the rest of Europe. The United States occupies a leading position in terms of the number of visitors to the trade show, while it also increases its representation of exhibiting companiesat each edition.”
The number of US companies exhibiting at Alimentaria has steadily increased at recent fairs. Thus, in 2018, its participation grew by 10% in comparison with 2014, leading to an exhibition area totalling around 140 m2, with the majority occupying a national pavilion. In addition, according to the trade show’s organisers, the exhibition area set aside for companies from the United States will exceed 150 m2 at Alimentaria 2020.
Alimentaria returns with renewed contents
Alimentaria will be held from 20th to 23rd April 2020 at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. A unique trade show is being prepared with renewed contents, mainly aimed at enhancing its entrepreneurial nature and projecting gastronomy as its differential value, with the hallmark of innovation that characterises the event. In 2020 Alimentaria will seek to reaffirm the levels of internationalisation achieved during the previous event, which was attended by 4,500 exhibiting companies (1,000 of them from 70 different countries) and around 150,000 professionals (45,000 of them from 156 different countries).
In addition, the event is structured around the meat industry (Intercarn), dairy products (Interlact), preserves (Expoconser), sweets and snacks (Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionery), the Mediterranean diet, fresh produce, olive and vegetable oils (Mediterranean Foods) and Food Service (Restaurama). Together with them, Grocery Foods will bring together the large food consumption companies. For its part, International Pavilions’ marketing has already exceeded 60%, seven months before the start of Alimentaria 2020, an unprecedented figure when compared to that achieved in the months leading up to previous editions of the event. It will bring together all the foreign products, while Lands of Spain will do the same with the national production of the diverse Autonomous Communities in Spain.
The main new feature of Alimentaria 2020 Trade Show will be Alimentaria Trends, which will display the latest trends in production and consumption, such as delicatessen foods (Fine Foods), organic production (Organic Foods), allergen-free products (Free From), halal preparation (Halal Foods) and functional products (Functional Foods).
For the second consecutive edition, Alimentaria will be held jointly with Hostelco, the International Trade Show devoted to Equipment for Restaurants, Hotels and Catering Groups, in order to provide distribution and the Horeca channel with a comprehensive and cross-cutting range of food, gastronomy and catering equipment. The two events will also jointly organise activities providing great added value, including “The Experience”, a space where workshops, gastronomy classes and cooking shows with prestigious chefs will be held.
The trade show devoted to wines and spirits will begin a new phase in 2020 with its own project. Thus, next year, Alimentaria’s Intervin event will be transformed into Barcelona Wine Week, which will boost the international image of Spanish wine. The new trade show will invite visitors to go on a unique tour of the wine map of Spain and will be held from 3rd to 5th February 2020 at Fira de Barcelona.