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HostMilano 2019 delivers the goods

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There were big crowds, a buoyant atmosphere and plenty of new innovation at the show, while the FCSI booth showcased a variety of insight and expertise

Before the doors of the vast pavilions of FieraMilano opened on Friday 18 October for the 41st edition of HostMilano, organisers promised the show would be be “bigger, fuller and more innovative than ever.” And HostMilano 2019 did not disappoint.

In total 2,249 exhibitors – a 3.8% increase on the previous show in 2017 – showcased their products at the show this year. While final attendee figures are still being calculated following the close of the show on Tuesday 22 October, FieraMilano expected “to consolidate the brilliant [attendee] results of 2017” when it welcomed 187,602 professional visitors. In the mix of the attendees this year were 1,500 profiled buyers, 100 foreign journalists and 20 ambassadors.

Of total exhibitors, 1,360 were Italian, while 889 travelled to the show from 55 different overseas countries. US exhibitor attendance has grown by as much as 20% compared to the previous show, perhaps attributable to an endorsement of the show from the US Commercial Service (the US Department of Commerce’s foreign trade service), which is bestowed upon only a handful of international events.

Away from the numbers

The show continued to celebrate innovation in foodservice and beverage with the return of the SMART Label, Host Innovation Award, a competition organised in collaboration with POLI.Design and Consorzio del Politecnico di Milano with the support of ADI (the Italian Design Association). In the last three editions of HostMilano, the show has handed over more than 150 SMART Label awards and singled out a further 20 leading players in the world of hospitality, restaurants and catering (HoReCa) in Italy and overseas for special recognition.

A jury comprised of university professors and experts in the fields of design, hospitality and energy saving, including Italy’s very own master chef, Iginio Massari, were tasked with finding the “smartest solutions” being showcased at the show. Products were rated on functional efficiency, performance effectiveness or the usability of the service, the innovative nature in which technology was used and how the user is benefited.

This year’s evaluation process led to the selection – from the 214 entries put forward – of 47 designs for ‘Smart Labels’, six for ‘Innovation’ (products that break with and move beyond established trends in the industry); three for the ‘Green Smart Label’ (products with distinctive characteristics of eco-sustainability) and five ‘Special Mentions’ by Iginio Massari. The so-called ‘Magnificent 61’ received their awards during HostMilano on the Saturday of the show in the Smart Label area.

The Smart Label innovation theme was also extended via series of new, broad-ranging events. The Design Talks saw are seven professional development seminars for architects, experts and operators in the sector, including new challenges in hotel design, the relationship between food and retail design and one the evolution of luxury.

FCSI at the forefront

Innovation remained a constant thread for activity at the FCSI booth throughout the show. On Sunday the booth hosted the final round of live judging for FCSI’s inaugural Start Me Up Innovation Awards, sponsored by Electrolux Professional. The 3d food printing system Procusini 4.0 from Print2Taste GmbH, the SCRAEGG Pro unit from SCRAEGG GmbH and the Tablee platform from Tablee had one last chance to impress judges, comprised of five FCSI Professional Members and the design director of Electrolux Professional, and make a final pitch to win the coveted trophy.

German start-up business SCRAEGG, which can whisk and heat eggs soups and porridge to 96°C using a patent-pending steam nozzle, triumphed, taking home the trophy that evening at FCSI’s Sponsor Recognition Party. (Chris Rapp of SCRAEGG is pictured above with the trophy, next to Electrolux Professional’s Alberto Zanata, FCSI EAME chair Remko van der Graaff and Foodservice Consultant‘s Michael Jones). 

FCSI Europe Africa, Middle East (EAME) also hosted its Student Challenge 2019 during HostMilano. Two teams of young foodservice professionals pitted their wits against each other in order to present a hospitality concept for the future. The winner, Team One, also received their prize, which included an all-expenses paid trip to Australia and New Zealand to intern with FCSI’s Asia Pacific chair Mario Sequeira’s consultancy plus leading Australasian manufacturers, at the Sponsor Recognition Party.

Elsewhere the FCSI booth hosted a number of engaging expert seminars and panel sessions. Of the latter, Foodservice Consultant‘s editor Tina Nielsen hosted a session on ‘Fire suppression and staying safe in the kitchen’, sponsored by Ansul, that featured consultants Anton François FCSI, Alexander Hofer FCSI, William Taunton FCSI and Mark Neumann from Ansul (pictured).

Another panel session on ‘The connected kitchen’, sponsored by Irinox, featured Frank Wagner FCSI, Dene Rachid FCSI, Joseph Schumaker FCSI and Pietro Romanazzi of Irinox. A third, chaired by Michael Jones and sponsored by Middleby Ventless Cooking Solutions, addressed, ‘Ventless cooking: dispelling the myths’ and featured Middleby’s Scott Heim and consultants Armando Pucci FCSI, Brandon Kua FCSI and Nahum Goldberg FCSI.

Other seminars at the FCSI booth covered topics as diverse as BIM and IFSE standards, new technology to guarantee food safety standards and virtual reality.

Away from the booth, Foodservice Consultant’s Michael Jones chaired a ‘Titans of Industry’ roundtable of leaders from foodservice equipment manufacturers (pictured). Attendees included Iker Alberdi Urkia, CEO of Onnera Group; David Brewer, COO of Middleby; Andrea Cocchi, CEO of Ali Group for EMEA and APAC Regions and CEO of Carpigiani Group; Katia da Ros, CEO of Irinox; Stefan Scheringer, CEO of Meiko; Peter Stadelmann, CEO of RATIONAL; and Georg Weber, CEO of MKN. The event was sponsored by Kason Industries and co-hosted by VP of sales, David Ring and will published in Foodservice Consultant in Q1 2020.

Further information

Check out the videos from the FCSI booth and the rest of the show, here.

Michael Jones