Alimentaria to Kick Off its Culinary Show
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
Alimentaria, an agri-food industry trade fair in Spain, attracts buyers from the five continents providing the 3,800 participating companies business and export opportunities. It showcases the sector's latest trends and reinforces the connection between industry and gastronomy with the chefs in "The Alimentaria Experience" who hold 50 Michelin stars between them. Alimentaria 2014 will be held from March 31st to April 3rd, at Fira de Barcelona's Gran Via Exhibition Centre. This year's show has been promoted around the world to identify and attract mainly buyers from emerging markets and European countries. It is expected that a large number of international visitors from more than 140 countries will attend and that more than 600 key importers and distributors in Latin American, North American and Asian markets will attend to participate in over 8,000 business meetings. This focus on internationalization falls in line with the objectives of the Spanish food and beverage industry, which aims to boost exports and go from 22,600 million Euros in 2013 to 46,000 million Euros in 2020. Industry and gastronomy in 14 shows The President of Alimentaria and of Fira de Barcelona, Josep Lluís Bonet, has reaffirmed the show's commitment to contributing to the internationalization of the sector, 96% of which is made up of SMESs: "Adapting to globalization is, today, an unavoidable challenge. Alimentaria is a good way to access new markets and an opportunity to establish contacts with international agents," he says. Meat products, wine and olive oil are leading Spanish exports and this importance is also reflected in the range of exhibits at the event. For the CEO of Alimentaria Exhibitions and of the show, J. Antonio Valls, "the Mediterranean diet, the international recognition of our cuisine and the innovative nature of the agri-food industry are trump cards for increasing exports." The emblematic Barcelona fair is split into 14 monographic shows: Intervin (Wine and Spirits), Intercarn (Meat and Meat Products), Olivaria, (Olive Oil and Vegetable Oils), Interlact (Milk and Dairy Products), Multiproducto (General Food products), Mundidulce (Sweets, Biscuits and Confectionary), Expobebidas (Water, Soft Drinks and Beers), Expoconser (Preserves and Semi-Preserved Products), Interpesca (Seafood, Aquaculture and Farmed Fish Products), Congelexpo (Frozen Foods), Alimentación Ecológica (Organic Food), Restaurama (Eating Out), Pabellón de las Autonomías, with the participation of the different Spaish Autonomous Communities and provinces and the International Pavilion with companies and institutions from 50 countries. Alimentaria has also increased the number of specific proposals, such as the Premium area, for haute cuisine and delicatessen firms; the "Gluten-Free and more" space with products appropriate for coeliacs and solutions for other food intolerances; "Cocktail & Spirits," in which spirits will be promoted brands and cocktail-making demonstrations will be featured; and "Pizza&Pasta Project" dedicated to these Italian specialities. Major culinary experiences The big new initiative at this edition will be "The Alimentaria Experience," an activities space that will feature around 50 chefs that hold over 50 Michelin stars between them. Joan Roca, Juan Mari Arzak, Quique Dacosta, Pedro Subijana, Carme Ruscalleda and Paco Pérez are some of the chefs who will be carrying out live culinary demonstrations and will teach master classes. This space will also host the Chef of the Year Competition. The event will also include a wine tasting space, "Vinorum," which will be presenting 50 of the today's most groundbreaking wines; the Gourmet Olive Oil Tasting Bar, where visitors will be able to sample over a hundred top of the range oils; and "Spain, land of 100 cheeses," a tasting and exhibition space covering the evolution of Spanish cheese making of the last 20 years. Another of the fair's important spaces is "The Alimentaria Hub," which will host the International Congress on the Mediterranean Diet, focused on the prevention of chronic illnesses by following a healthy diet; Innoval, an exhibition of over 300 innovative launches; the Nestlé Forum "Creation of Shared Value" which will analyse the food sector in the face of nutritional challenges of the 21st century; the FIAB innovation meetings on the development of food products for the elderly; and the new initiative The Food Factory, which will put start-ups in touch with Business Angels willing to invest in them. Responsible Alimentaria The food and beverages exhibited in Alimentaria will not go to waste. Once the show has closed, they will be given to the Fundació Banc dels Aliments (Food Bank Foundation). Moreover, any leftover food cooked in the exhibition centre's bars and restaurants will be distributed to social kitchens through the NGO Nutrition Without Borders. Alimentaria is a leading international trade show organized by Alimentaria Exhibitions, a Fira de Barcelona company specialising in events for the food and beverage industry. Its portfolio of shows includes Bta. -Barcelona Food Technologies-, Alimentaria & Horexpo Lisbon, Alimentaria Mexico, Alimentaria Brazil and Seafood Expo Southern Europe.