The region’s premier and most comprehensive trade event for Asia’s food and hospitality industry, Food&HotelAsia2016 (FHA2016), closed on an upbeat note as attendees emerged delighted with their experience at the trade event.
“As consumer needs evolve, so do the expectations of our buyers. Innovative ideas are more critical than ever in meeting changing consumer demands. We are heartened and pleased that FHA has continued to be the platform for exhibitors to showcase new and innovative products and is the chosen sourcing ground for many international buyers. Its relevance to the food and hospitality industries remains as vital and effective today as ever,” said Ms. Lindy Wee, Chief Executive of Singapore Exhibition Services.
FHA showcased an impressive spread which ranged from the finest and most unique food ingredients and products, to food service equipment, hotel amenities and software solutions. The tradeshow gathered 72,000 attendees, 45 per cent from overseas. They included exhibiting staff, trade visitors, conference speakers and delegates, judges and competitors, and members of the media.
A hub for launches, leads and deals
FHA2016 commanded rewarding leads and deals for exhibitors and participants, with negotiations expected to continue even after the event. One of the quickest deals ever struck at FHA, less than an hour after the event’s opening, was between Dutch hotel room equipment maker, Bentley Europe BV, and Singapore buyer Hunwin Enterprises for a revolutionary sensor-operated hair dryer that premiered at the event.
Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream, a super-premium, all natural ice cream manufacturer launched its brand new and world exclusive ice cream that is loaded with six strains of probiotics.
“After months of research, we have launched what we believe is a world first: a super-premium ice cream that is almost the perfect probiotic delivery system,” said Mr. Angus Murray, CEO of the California, USA-based company. “We also have reduced the amount of sugar used, and replaced it with an organic inulin which is a sweetener and a pre-biotic – a beneficial fibre for the probiotics.”
“Launching at FHA in Singapore makes perfect sense – the region of the world known for leading dietary trends and early uptake of new ideas,” added Mr. Thomas Scruby, Foxy’s Commercial Director – Asia.
The Japan Pavilion, led by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Singapore, returned this year with an even greater number of exhibitors and space than the 2014 edition. Mr. Masaya Hasebe, Managing Director commented, “JETRO is participating in FHA for the fifth time this year with 79 exhibitors in our pavilion, a 70 per cent increase compared with the previous edition, as part of our continued efforts in supporting overseas business expansion activities of Japanese SMEs.”
“We have been receiving positive feedback from our exhibitors who see FHA as a one-stop platform to reach out to international trade buyers and understand the latest market trends and consumer needs. We anticipate a growing interest in the next edition of FHA among Japanese
food-related companies since it is one of the biggest food shows in this region. We look forward to having an expanded presence in 2018.”
Agilysys, a US-based software solutions company, is eyeing new opportunities in the region. According to Mr. Daniel Lee, Regional Director, Sales & Distribution, APAC & MEA, the hospitality industry is becoming a significant contributor to Agilysys’ business. “We are at Food&HotelAsia because this is where the region’s hotel owners and hoteliers converge. They visit to see and get information on solutions that can help their business. This is a very good showcase for us. We are happy for the opportunity to build awareness for our solutions and brand. Hotel chains are aggressively expanding in the region, and they need solutions like ours,” he said.
”It’s been a great show and we’ve been busy over the past few days. We have a very broad customer base in this part of the world, so it’s a great opportunity to meet many key customers in one place. FHA provides a good platform because it attracts the key industry players. For the Asian market, we believe this is the best show. We are pleased with the turnout,” said Mr. Douglas Dunn, President, Middleby Worldwide – Eastern Hemisphere. The Middleby Corporation is a worldwide manufacturer of commercial kitchen equipment, residential appliances and systems for industrial processing, packaging and baking.
Genuine buyers from the region
Trade buyers from across all sectors of the food and hospitality industries are pleased with FHA. With so much to see and sample, some visitors were pressed for time as they navigated through hall after hall to source, learn and network with sellers from all over the world.
Ms. Gene A. Rono, President of the Association of Purchasing Managers of Hotels & Restaurants of the Philippines, was a visitor who was extremely pleased with the wide array of products on the show floor. “It was a successful trip for us, especially for those new members who are purchasing managers from five-star hotels in Manila. In terms of sourcing, they were able to find the right products that they want, from ingredients to kitchen equipment. The top brands continue to manufacture top-quality products as they continue to work for perfection, quality, durability and after-sales service. We are always looking forward to seeing these at FHA. We will certainly be back every two years!”
“As a gluten-free establishment, it is not easy for us to find local suppliers of such products. This is the second time I am visiting FHA because it gives me the opportunity to source for gluten-free products from international suppliers. FHA has a fine selection of gluten-free products from a wide range of suppliers, which is very beneficial and useful for us,” said Ms. Agnetta Lew, owner of a popular gluten-free cafe in Singapore, Jonathan’s, who observed that there were more gluten-free suppliers and a better variety of such products available at the show this year.
Unsurpassed knowledge sharing arena
From destination investment opportunities to F&B design, hospitality technology, food manufacturing and bakery, the FHA2016 International Conference covered a wide spectrum of topics ranging from new strategies, to challenges and issues impacting the food and hospitality businesses.
Mr. Jesper Palmqvist, Area Director, Asia Pacific of STR Global, who gave the Industry Keynote Address in the Hotels & Resorts Management track, was excited about the conference agenda. He said, “There’s wide variety to get the right people in. If this succeeds the ambitious agenda this year, this could lead to something fantastic, even more in 2018.”
To delegates, the conference had been a fulfilling one. “The conference, especially the masterclass on bakery trends, is very informative. We were made to understand the present trends in bakery products. The latest innovations being discussed would surely help to boost sales, especially the story-telling way of inspiring our customers to be curious to buy the products. Insights on global preferences also made us aware of future products to be displayed in our stores,” commented Ms. Zenaida B. Gonzales, Owner of Michell’s Cakes & Pasteries and Stregato Gelateria, Philippines.
Platform to develop talent*
One of FHA’s most exhilarating events, the FHA Culinary Challenge saw a mix of both young and established chefs from around the world gather to compete in various challenges such as the Gourmet Team Challenge where Team Taiwan emerged winner; the Individual Challenge where Marina Mandarin Singapore won, and Raffles Hotel Singapore is the winner for the new Sweet High Tea Challenge.
Mr. Otto Weibel, Overall Chief Judge is of the opinion that young chefs can benefit from these competitions. “They learn a lot when they prepare and participate in the competition, they get exposure to what others are doing and there is lively exchange of ideas,” he mused.
Over at SpecialityCoffee&Tea, attendees were drawn to the high-octane FHA Barista Challenge and new CTI Latte Art Duel, where Sam Tan Sze Yuin from Malaysia’s Discover Coffee and Wong Stephen Cullamat from Singapore’s Park Hotel Alexandra respectively emerged as champions.
Team Singapore is crowned champion in Asia’s largest ‘live’ pastry competition, the Asian Pastry Cup, by esteemed judging panel that included pastry legend, Pierre Herme. The Asia Pacific selections of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or, where nine national teams battled it out for places in the finals in France, were also conducted within the halls of FHA. Japan emerged as the champion.
2018 edition to return bigger, better and more relevant
With overwhelming demand for booth space, FHA in 2018 promises to be an even grander affair. The event will be held across two locations, Singapore Expo and Suntec Singapore. With the move, there is room for FHA to expand at least 20 per cent bigger, to accommodate industry’s demand for more space, with installation of new features for a holistic and memorable experience.
The next edition of FHA will return from 24 – 27 April 2018. For more information, please visit www.foodnhotelasia.com