Host 2015: What to expect

The vast Host show, held every two years in Milan, Italy, prides itself on being the leading event in hospitality and foodservice. Michael Jones reports on what attendees can expect from Host 2015

Trade shows don’t come much bigger than Host and the 39th instalment promises to be even bigger, and better, than before. Taking place across 14 halls of the Fieramilano fairground in Rho, Milan, between 23-27 October 2015, Host 2015 will gain further exposure from its overlap with the nearby Expo 2015 exhibition, which will have attracted more than 20 million visitors to Milan by the end of its run on 31 October.

Expo 2015’s theme of ‘Feeding the planet’ and its focus on food, health, wellbeing, innovation and technology chimes well with Host, which will see 1,900 exhibiting companies in attendance from nearly 50 countries. “We had to devise a very dense layout to accommodate the exhibiting companies, 40% of which from outside Italy,” says exhibition director Simona Greco.

“The net square metres occupancy has increased by a 12%. We have some 84 exhibitors from Germany, 77 from France and 71 from Spain, while the US boasts a notable increase, with 50 exhibiting companies. More than 1,500 top buyers from 60 countries will be part of our Hosted Buyers Program this year, and we expect at least 135,000 professional visitors from all over the world.”

The show boasts three ‘synergic macro-areas’: Coffee/Tea (including SIC – the International Coffee Event), Bar/Coffee machines/Vending and Gelato-Pastry to complement the significant space dedicated to Foodservice Equipment, Bread/Pasta/Pizza and Furniture and Tableware.

Host has always been a focal point for the launch of avant-garde technologies and this year more space will also be set aside for important, fast-growing niches in the market, such as refrigeration and laundry.

“Professional hospitality is a gigantic and immensely diverse sector, featuring continuous change and innovation,” says Greco. “Our challenge goes far beyond the five-day ‘show’. Our aim is to provide operators in the hospitality industry with 24/7, 365-days-a-year services and consultancy to boast their business. The exhibition represents the peak moment of a constant commitment to bring to our stakeholders the most cutting-edge technologies, the most creative trends, the most innovative formats and business models. Moreover, there’s not only business to it; hospitality is also a cultural factor and we take culture into account very seriously, with a programme of meetings, workshops and events, as well as competitions and championships, with no comparison in the industry, devised in partnership with the most authoritative Italian and international organisations.”

And, unsurprisingly for an exhibition this size, there’s a vast array of things for attendees to see and participate in across the five days. Contests include the World Trophy of Pastry, Ice cream and Chocolate and the Cake Designers World Championship, while at the ‘What it Takes to Be Great – WBC All-Stars’, top international baristas will conduct hands-on training for those wishing to, quite literally, take the plunge.

Pizza, the iconic Italian dish, will be the focus of the European Pizza Championship, organized by the magazine Pizza e Pasta Italiana, with show-cooking and a focus on vegan options, while the Università della Pizza will, for the first time at Host, be presenting the concept of gourmet pizza. Workshops focusing on aspects of the sector will also be organised by Assofrigoristi and Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI).

HOSThinking, the prestigious design award jointly organised with, the Consortium of the Polytechnic of Milan, with the patronage of ADI, the Industrial Design Association, is now in its second year at Host. From the many candidates who entered the competition from all over the world, the jury has selected 10 finalists, from whose entries three winning projects will be chosen during the exhibition.

Host’s collaboration with the 2015 International Architecture and Design Award for bars, restaurants and boutique Hotels also continues to flourish and this year will also encompass projects by Italian designers executed abroad. The scope of the competition has also been extended to include all forms of accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, residences, farm stays and hostels.

For Greco, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular highlight of the forthcoming show. “It is very difficult to single out one highlight in such a wide and rich fair. An important date will be the one with Identità Golose Future. Identità Golose is Italy’s most important congress and event devoted to starred chefs and they have designed, exclusively for Host, a series of live experiences where chefs and experts will face the challenges of new technologies to develop innovative and creative proposals.

“Another important event in the food area will be Network del Gusto – five days of live lectures animated by top professionals in the sector, in partnership with the Italian Professional Chefs Association. And, of course, we are proud to present ‘The Best in Hospitality Consultancy’, the workshops on the role of qualified consultants in the design, operation and organisation of services in the hotel and professional catering organised in partnership with FCSI.”

FCSI will have a key presence at the exhibition. “We are delighted to be part of Host 2015,” says Martin Rahmann FCSI, chairman of FCSI Europe, Africa and Middle East. “We have organised our participation at Host together with our friends from Italy, who have a prosperous and growing FCSI unit. We have offered free accommodation, shuttle, entrance and invitational sponsor events for 40 professional EAME members. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the FCSI stand in Pavilion 2, A06/B11 where they will have the chance to network with current and future customers.”

Michael Jones

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