Lynn How, project director at Koelnmesse, explains why THAIFEX - Anuga Asia, an international trade show in May, is a must-attend event for the F&B industry.
What can exhibitors and visitors expect at THAIFEX - Anuga Asia this year?
A fantastic line-up of Food & Beverage (F&B) innovative highlights and industry experts talks. The theme for 2023 is 'Reimagine the Future of Food and Beverage Industry’ and will feature 11 distinctive segments under one roof, encompassing 11 trends and six special shows, with a focus on innovative blueprints of the future. Visitors can look forward to a line-up of live cook-offs, business networking activities and live talks, all offering potential opportunities within Asian markets.
This year is particularly exciting as we’re anticipating around 2,700 exhibitors from over 40 countries and 60,000 trade visitors – that’s close to pre-pandemic levels. Bangkok is an ideal location for the F&B industry to come together in Southeast Asia.
Thailand has a large population with a growing consumer economy, and a significant growth in the food manufacturing industry. This, combined with the modern infrastructure of the city, makes it even more exciting to welcome visitors to an event of this size in Thailand.
Who should attend?
We cover the entire spectrum of F&B and attract leaders across multiple sectors, from hotel, restaurants and airlines, to manufacturing, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, importers and e-commerce. Each of the 11 segments has its unique presentation element to attract buyers and help them connect with exhibitors – the largest is Fine Food, where this year we are expecting new products from France, Hungary and many more. The show grows every year and our objective is always to bring in interesting innovations, new ideas and the most comprehensive product range for the buyers.
After the pandemic, a face-to-face event must be more valuable than ever…
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on industries and today, more than ever, F&B businesses and consumers are facing supply chain issues and higher costs. Our job as show organisers is to create a platform that drives value by helping businesses and consumers ease some of the challenges they’re facing, so attending in person is a really important element.
Hosting a large event like this allows all the stakeholders to experience new products first-hand and identify some of the most interesting future trends and game-changing innovations under one roof, and hear more about them from the experts who will be there.
For business owners, networking is a key element that allows them to have in depth discussions and build those all-important relationships
And of course, because its food and drink, attending the show in person is so important because you will get a chance to actively experience the smells, tastes and flavours yourself – something that’s just not possible to do remotely!
Tell us about some of the new and exciting features in store for 2023…
They are multiple events at THAIFEX - Anuga Asia. Firstly, the Future Food Market which will showcase emerging breakthroughs in alternative products, and bring together exciting elements such as future food trends, new nutrition and tech-enhanced processes. Food and drink professionals will also have a chance to experience the supermarket of the future.
We’re also launching a new HORECA experience for the food service sector where we’ll be offering inspiration and progressive business solutions for restaurant owners and anyone looking to set up a food service business. The platform merges innovations, functionalities and sustainability and industry players can speak to exhibitors to help identify solutions to grow their businesses.
Also, back by popular demand for the ninth year, is Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge which will focus on Asian culinary skills and cuisines. New for this year is a Plant-based cooking competition category where chefs will work with novel ingredients to create flavourful plant-based Asian dishes. This year we’re expecting to have over 700 professional and aspiring chefs from around the world, competing for four awards across 19 categories.
And finally, we work very closely with our knowledge panel, Innova Market Insights, to predict F&B trends to present at the Future Food Experience stage. As well as showcasing products there will be live demonstrations and workshops where stakeholders can experience topical trends and emerging categories, including megatrends in F&B, future protein, plant-based and new processing technologies.
What are the challenges in bringing a show of this scale to life?
We, Koelnmesse, work closely with our Thai partner, The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) and the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) to execute everything on time and within budget. We coordinate all the exhibitors’ requirements to ensure they have everything in place, as well as managing all the logistic elements and moving parts – importing F&B products into Thailand is not always easy, so we work closely with our shipping vendor to bring everything into the country. And, of course, we are constantly looking promoting the show to a wider region to help our exhibitors achieve their goals at the event itself. It takes more than a year to organise and it’s very rewarding for it all to come together.
How have advances in technology enhanced the show over the years?
Our stakeholders are much more tech-savvy these days and we have moved our printed materials to an interactive floor plan in the mobile app which helps visitors navigate the floor more efficiently when they’re at the event.
We also have an online exhibitor listing, so you’ll be able to see who will be exhibiting and presenting, and make connections with them. Visitors can also tap into our social media during the event and we will be doing on-demand video to support the on-site programme which will be available to download.
We are constantly working towards sustainability and exploring resources that minimise environmental impact. For example, reducing printed materials and using QR codes to scan contacts, and of course making use of screens and video to showcase products. This is definitely an area where technology can come into play and enhance the experience for everyone.
Our online portal also includes a business matching programme which allows exhibitors to connect with potential buyers – it’s all part of inviting everyone to come together and reimagine the future of food.
This year’s event will be held 23-27 May at IMPACT, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand. To find out more and register your interest visit THAIFEX – Anuga Asia.