The Salon International de l’Alimentation (SIAL) food fair, which took place at Paris Nord Villepinte from 21 to 25 October 2018, delivered on being the food event of the year and meeting place for the entire industry with more than 7200 exhibitors from 119 countries, attracting 300.000 stakeholders to the fair. SIPPO supported country pavilions of Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Tunisia who delivered a strong performance contributing to this year’s innovations.

On trends and innovations: taste is king, organic and vegan on the rise

With its 10 halls and hourly side events on food innovations, trends, cooking shows and tastings, SIAL became the melting pot for all things food for 5 days.

In a panel discussion on consumer preferences, it was explained that the most determining factor for consumers when buying food was taste – globally, irrespective of purchasing power. In a survey 75% of consumers were found to give quality the highest priority, 62% stated that pleasure associated with food highly mattered.

In line with the 3000 new products introduced into the European market in 2018 by the trade fair, the survey further revealed that 6 out of 10 customers are curious to discover new foods – thus introducing new tastes and products has an important market value. Consumers may for instance find black garlic in European supermarkets soon as it won the second prize for the SIAL innovation award – which also was offered by an innovative Indonesian company supported by SIPPO!

Vegetarian and vegan products are on the rise in supermarkets as well as in restaurants, despite many of its consumers being flexitarians. Another important trend, unsurprisingly, is the rise of the organic sector: with large multinationals such as Danone and Nestle expanding their organic products range, this opens up important opportunities particularly for SMEs which would otherwise not been able to tap in to the already very saturated European food market.

SIPPO at SIAL: on remaining behind the scenes

The new SIPPO mandate which launched in 2017, places the business support (BSOs) organizations it supports at the center of operations; gone are the decade long SIPPO managed pavilions, to make way for a sustainable trade fair participation by BSOs, who are instead supported by SIPPO from the sidelines: transfer of knowhow and support for ie. the preparation of the pavilion organization, selection of companies, marketing material, B2B meeting organization and stand administration.

The Indonesian Pavilion, managed by the Ministry of Industry of Indonesia, partook with 18 companies who claimed to have roughly made 500 viable business contacts. SIPPO supported a select 9 out of the 38 present Peruvian companies with over 30 business meetings arranged by SIPPO. The Tunisian BSO GICA, present with 4 Harissa producers, received special attention to match their companies finished products -typically difficult to introduce to established markets – with potential buyers. South Africa’s pavilion with 38 companies was managed by the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, but also had the BSOs  Wesgro, FoodSA and TIKZN, represented, who also brought their own companies to the joint stand. Through study tours, as well as the planning for closer joint programming of activities, SIPPO tries to support the linkages between these four important players in South Africa.

With an average satisfaction rate of over 80% by its exhibiting companies taken up in evaluation sheets by the respective BSOs on the last day of the fair, SIPPO considers the participation at the trade fair of its supported country pavilions a large success.