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Event Preview: TUTTOFOOD Milano 2021

Global and innovative, TUTTOFOOD is a B2B exhibition for the agri-food ecosystem, and a national and international point of reference for sector development. Taking place from May 17-21, 2021, here we interview Exhibition Manager Paola Sarco for a closer look at the fair.

Paola Sarco

What differentiates TUTTOFOOD Milano from other industry, B2B food fairs?
TUTTOFOOD is the most internationalised food exhibition in Italy. It features a unique mix of Italian and international household names with niche SMEs representing the best Made in Italy products, and more.

Therefore, it’s a real international agri-food hub to discover new products, explore trends and engage in effective networking. It also offers an unparalleled programme of events, thanks to a number of partnerships with major associations and organisations.

Initiatives in progress include scouting activity to increase the number of hosted buyers and planning strategies to involve more bloggers, influencers, and trendsetters.

Tell us a bit more about the upcoming TUTTOFOOD.
We’re building a lot on innovation. We launched the new Fiera Milano Platform, an innovative, integrated system which focuses even more on networking by simplifying interactions between buyers and companies. An ecosystem of services, from websites and social media to a synergy between in-person and digital meetings, and redesigned catalogues will be on offer.

Moreover, TUTTOFOOD 2021 will be an effective knowledge-sharing platform. Evolution Plaza, the core of the TUTTODIGITAL area, will focus on next-generation digital transformation solutions, while the Innovation Area will present the new TUTTOFOOD contest dedicated to innovation. Also, making a return is the Retail Plaza, the meeting place for trends on Retail and large-scale retailers.

What gives the fair its ‘international feel’ and what does it focus on?
The growing internationalisation is underlined by both visitors and exhibitors. To date, more than 550 brands have confirmed attendance from countries including Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the United States, Switzerland, and Taiwan, as well as Italy.

In the 2019 edition, 3,079 brands were present, 16% of them international from 43 countries, while attendance reached 82,551 professionals, 23% of whom were from abroad, from a total of 143 countries.

What are some of this year’s most important food categories and products, and why?
We treasure all our sectors, especially the ones which have been the most successful such as Dairy, Meat, Sweets and Grocery.

In 2021, a new feature is TUTTOFRUIT, an area dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables, and innovation in the IV and V ranges, which house fruit and vegetable products with high quality and service standards. The next edition also focuses on the organic development of the latest sectors launched – TUTTOHEALTH will see the development of TUTTOWINE and a boost for TUTTODIGITAL.

Are there any trends that you consider of utmost importance to the GCC market now?
We look at the GCC market with great interest. An example of that is a webinar we have recently organised, live from Dubai, where industry experts presented the most interesting trends to our stakeholders.

High-end restaurant chains and hotel restaurants have been historically strong in Gulf countries. Our experts think this is set to continue in the upcoming years, but with a shift towards even more personalised luxury on one hand, and a new focus on nature, proximity and territory on the other. The trade between Europe and the area is already promising, but we think there are still growth margins for quality foods.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing in the wake of COVID-19 as the organiser; what obstacles is the industry facing? How do you plan on overcoming them?
Fieramilano is one of the largest and most modern exhibition venues in Europe and we’ve already held several successful trade fairs in a safe and secure environment since the reopening. We’re confident that the global situation will have improved by May 2021.

In any case, we’re ready to host a safe TUTTOFOOD thanks to technology and the commitment of our teams. Within the context of the Fiera Milano Platform, a digital map of the exhibition will allow for remote, virtual visits, as well as direct, real-time negotiations. The event becomes ‘phygital’, or hybrid, with the creation of new formats which are simultaneously digital and accessible to a live audience.

Fine dining versus delivery – which one’s the winner under current circumstances?
With the forced closure of bars and restaurants, lockdowns in several countries put food delivery in the limelight. Our data has shown that a substantial percentage of new customers who discovered it during the pandemic, will continue to use it.

On the other end, restaurateurs that wouldn’t use delivery before, have started proposing it to their customers. However, after the reopening, we’ve also seen that people were eager to go back to dining out. We think that mixed formats and concepts will be the most viable solutions for the foreseeable future. The ‘dark kitchen’ phenomenon is a good example of that.

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