This post is sponsored by SIAL Paris.
The past few years have brought major changes in the global food industry – from increasing consumer focus on health and sustainability to digital transformation that offers new ways to access products and information. These topics and more will drive discussions at the SIAL Paris show in October, which will reconvene in person for the first time since 2018. In this interview, SIAL Network CEO Nicolas Trentesaux discusses how the international event has evolved along with the food industry and what attendees can expect at this year’s show.
How have the events of the past few years since the last SIAL Paris show affected the content of this year’s show?
As the 2020 edition had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, we seized that as an opportunity to innovate and bring the trade show further. We are convinced that a crisis period is a very good time to accelerate changes or reinvent business models.
Firstly, we have launched a B2B marketplace called CXMP, which serves as a digital platform for the show and a transactional marketplace. Prior to the show, you can find the list of all exhibitors and all the products of the show, as well as get in touch with the brands you are interested in, thanks to the networking feature. After the show, you can stay connected and order products all year long. The platform is free of charge for both our exhibitors and buyers – subscription fee will apply later on for the exhibitors.
Also, we have launched several new areas. Startup Village will present a fine selection of startups in partnership with Startup Sesame and FoodTech. The Business Lounge will allow our stakeholders to conduct business meetings in a more relaxed environment. We have also put a lot of care in enhancing the visitor experience. New interactive maps of the show will be available via Google Maps. We have doubled the number of shuttles to and from Paris to access the venue. In addition, we have created a new visitor category, Top Buyers, which will allow us to offer them special treatment and services throughout the show.
Last but not least, in keeping with the main theme of Own the Change, an ongoing focus since 2020, SIAL Paris will offer time for discussion and provide a great platform for raising disruptive subjects, finding new drivers and anticipating future issues. SIAL Talks will feature a range of keynotes and panel discussions addressing the Own the Change theme from various angles.
Chef Mauro Colagreco is the patron of this year’s show. How/why was he selected, and what message will he bring to this year’s show?
We live in a period of transitions, reinventions and global social responsibility. Inspired by a society whose expectations and lifestyles are evolving at a rapid pace, and by an agrifood industry challenged by economic, environmental and social issues, the SIAL theme of Own the Change is today more than ever sending a strong message that a radical change of course is needed if we are to achieve an agrifood transition that works everywhere, for everyone.
Mauro Colagreco has been an obvious choice as his vision of food industry is totally in line with our Own the Change theme. On top of his social and environmental commitments, Mauro is a unique, three-Michelin-starred chef with an inspiring international background that we believe fits well with the international scope of SIAL. His path has been filled with travels, discoveries, ambitions and the unrelenting efforts that have led him to the peak of his art. His bold approach and innovative vision are reflected in his cuisine, which transcends seasons and regions. Convinced of the benefits of short supply chains and supported by the bonds that he has established with the natural environment, he is committed to saving the planet. This extraordinary, ethical chef has definitively broken with conventions, and he works tirelessly to participate in the fight against climate change.
SIAL Paris unveiled the Future Lab at the 2018 show. How has this portion of the show evolved for 2022 and what cutting edge trends and technologies can attendees expect to see this year?
We choose to focus on 2030, which is basically tomorrow from an R&D perspective. We wanted a real prospective eye – not a sci-fi animation – so our visitors are able to see the potential for their businesses and get an idea of the investments they should make right now to be in the best position to embrace those trends.
Also, we always keep in mind that every professional attending the show is a consumer, a human being making choices every day, and those choices have an impact on the world. Future Lab has the mission to enlighten the consumer in each of us as well as the professional. Three perspectives will be offered: agriculture 2030, retail 2030 and dining 2030.
SIAL put on its first US show this year in Las Vegas. What was the impetus behind launching a US show, and what benefits will US-based professionals get from attending the SIAL Paris show?
SIAL is the biggest worldwide network of B2B trade shows, and we organize around 15 events every year. We have been in North America for over 20 years with a Canadian show, alternating between Montreal and Toronto. We are now clearly developing a new business platform to develop the US market, the biggest food market in the world. The current market is fragmented by region and by food vertical with dedicated vertical trade shows. There is a clear demand from both buyers and exporters to develop a new export/import business platform.
The SIAL Paris show remains an excellent place for US food professionals to connect with others in the industry from all over the globe, and the number of US attendees has been growing. In 2018, 3,649 attendees of SIAL Paris came from the US, a 15.76% increase compared to 2016. This year, we expect approximately 120 US companies to exhibit at SIAL Paris 2022.
How do you register to attend the SIAL Paris show?
US attendees are encouraged to pre-register to take advantage of discounted rates. Visit the SIAL Paris website to secure your badge today.
Nicolas Trentesaux is CEO of SIAL Network. After starting his career as an export manager for the Danone Group, he held various marketing positions at United Biscuits Group. His professional background is based on international marketing and business development in the food arena. The SIAL Network is part of the Comexposium Group, and since its creation in 1964 has become the world’s No. 1 food innovation network.