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Q&A with Marie Odile Fondeur, Sirha

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The managing director of Sirha tells Tina Nielsen what we can expect from the 2019 show

How would you describe Sirha and its place in the foodservice market?

Through its focus on the influences and innovations in the industry, while at the same time preserving the spirit of a festive gourmet event, Sirha has become one of the most important trade shows in the foodservice industry worldwide.

It is an exceptional venue for business and yet it is also an event that people enjoy for its friendly ambiance, brought by 24 competitions and more than 1,600 exhibitors’ demonstrations every day. Above all, Sirha is the only trade show that hosts the Bocuse d’Or and the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. That really makes the difference.

For 2019, how many exhibitors and visitors are you expecting?

We are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and brands and are on track to reach our aim. We will certainly reach 25 % of foreign exhibitors versus 17 % in 2017. We are satisfied with this growth.

As for visitors, we are aiming at 200,000 professionals, which is similar to 2017.

What is different from previous years – have you changed anything?

We always change things at Sirha. The market is constantly moving and growing as consumer trends change. In 2019, we have again worked around the future of foodservice to enrich our show and provide our exhibitors and visitors with major paths to follow.

We have worked with our trendspotter Frederic Loeb who has identified five long-term emergenging trends that will determine consumers’ behaviour.

Second, we have created Food Service Vision, a large-scale multi-source survey to capture the major current and short term influences in foodservice.

These two studies have helped us build the content for Sirha 2019, as they determine the topics dealt with on our major stages.

As an example, the influences Awareness, Wellbeing, Territoriality and Augmented Experience have inspired three live pop-up restaurant concepts showcased on “6e Sens”, and will also be used to showcase exhibitors’ new products on Sirha Innovations and the new products area.

How will Sirha 2019 reflect the foodservice market trends?

Market trends will flow through all the aisles and stages of Sirha. On Sirha TV, seven main themes will be addressed each day among which GREEN plate, sustainable development, digital or best operational practices.

The food design exhibition will present a selection of original creations around the theme of culinary landscapes, territoriality and regional wine and food pairing.

A start-up village will gather about 30 young talents offering brand new ideas for tomorrow’s foodservice.

How can guests make the most of their visit to Sirha 2019?

Sirha is so huge – 40,000 sqm – that any professional must prepare their visit.

Before the show, the website can help visitors identify the exhibitors they want to visit in advance. Our search engine, dedicated to events, can make a selection of the not-to-be missed competitions, according to the activity of the visitor.

On site, our new app will be very useful to make the most of the visit of the show even for those who don’t have much time.

Finally, we of course have the Expert Advice Desks to help delegates make the most of their visit and identify the relevant exhibitors quicker. These will propose itineraries, related to specific themes or even customised to fit individual needs, as well as personalised advice for areas including mass catering, innovations and interior design.

Are there any show areas, speakers or events that particularly stand out?

Yes, we are also launching a great event called the Sirha World Cuisine Summit. I believe that Sirha must offer ever more solutions to both exhibitors and visitors. With this in mind we have imagined an exclusive event with top level international contributors in order to put into perspective the fundamental issues in the catering and foodservice industry. We’ve just had confirmation of the presence of Raj Patel, economist and writer; Amir Nahai, Accor food & beverage and lifestyle managing director; and Paul Pairet, Michelin-starred chef among the speakers.

Sirha will take place on 26-30 January at Euroexpo, Lyon. For more information visit: www.sirha.com

Tina Nielsen