More than 1,300 exhibitors and 95,000 visitors gathered in Hamburg, Germany, for the 2018 edition of Internorga, the international trade show for the hotel, restaurant, catering, baking and confectionery industry. A fixture in the calendar of foodservice professionals from all parts of the industry – from Germany and beyond – Internorga played host to a broad spread of exhibitors from 9-13 March.
Alongside the regular trade exhibition, separate forums took place, including the international foodservice forum which had a focus on future consumer trends and included speakers such as Stavrola Ekoutsidou of Ikea Food Deutschland, who talked about how the furniture giant has implemented a foodservice element with great success.
This year visitors were met by new areas, including the newcomers’ area. “This area is interesting to all parts of the industry, whether you are a restaurant, hotel or caterer, because they are new products and new companies who want to get into the hospitality market and who have new and interesting products,” says Claudia Johannsen, business unit director for Hamburg Messe and Congress.
“The visitors nowawadys do not come just for the products or to see new concepts, they want to see trends – what is going on in the industry, meet each other and have a modern young show. That is the reason we have added a lot of new exhibitions and awards over the past ten years.”
A good example of this is the craft spirit lounge, which debuted at the show this year after organisers noticed that craft spirits had followed the trend for craft beer, which is in its fourth year at Internorga. “I think these things have added value for visitors when they are deciding to come to Internorga,” she says.
The rise of digital
While Internorga is a show for foodservice in the broadest sense of the word, covering everything from small restaurants and larger chains to equipment manufacturers and large foodservice companies such as Nestle and Unilever, Johannsen points to one factor that unifies the diverse group of exhibitors.
“Digitalisation is the major trend,” she explains. “The Internet of things (IoT), not only in cash registers and similar equipment, but also in the technical halls. The machines communicate with cooks and cost control and with each other – this is a big trend. You can see it all over the kitchen equipment exhibition.”
She points to the spread of this into the hotel sector. Smart phones allowing clients to pre-order, apps that recognise customers when they approach the hotel and greet them.
“A lot of people don’t understand what digitalisation means for their business and at the show we have seen a lot of solutions that can explain it,” says Johannsen.
She expects the digital element to have a continued and strong presence at future trade shows in Hamburg. Her large extended network of industry contacts ensures Internorga will remain among the leading foodservice shows in Europe and she is keen to attract a wider and large group of visitors in the future. “We are not a niche exhibition, so we have all parts of the out-of-home market and we are seeing some market segments have an increased presence in the industry; hotels and retail are an increasing part,” she says.