FoodBev spoke with Jean-Gabriel Mollard, marketing director at Sial Network, about Sial Paris 2022 and what is expected from the event.
Could you introduce Sial and its main objectives?
During this period of transitions, reinventions and global social responsibility, Sial Paris confirms its ambition: to federate the food ecosystem around the principal transformations underway in the food industry. The upcoming edition will be held from 15-19 October 2022 at Paris Nord Villepinte.
Sial Paris brings together the best of the international food industry in one place. This year, more than 7,000 exhibitors and 300,000 visitors from around the world are expected. All the food sectors will be represented: meat products, groceries, sweet groceries, dairy products, frozen foods, organic and wellness, beverages, fruits and vegetables, catering and snacking, seafood and food processing, etc.
What are the main themes of this year’s event?
The central theme of this year’s edition is «Own the change». Sial Paris is both a reflection of the market and the observatory of its transformation, which has further accelerated during this pandemic period. By carrying forward the ‘own the change’ theme, which began in 2020, the trade fair continues to highlight these developments, transformations and metamorphoses.
Let me attract your attention to the key highlights of this edition:
Our first highlight will be Sial Innovation, which will underline the best in global food innovation. A jury of experts will reward the companies with the most innovative products in their category.
It is also important to mention Sial Insights/Think Tank, which brings together exclusive studies on consumer expectations, product innovations and restaurant trends. A new partner, NDP Group, has joined the team of Kantar and Protéines XTC experts in charge of the trend book.
With FutureLab, we will invite visitors to take a journey into the future of the food industry by 2030. This immersive, impactful and forward-looking experience will deal with the major trends, from agriculture to retail and the plate.
Can we expect any exciting new elements or attractions?
This year we are launching a great new feature: CXMP Marketplace, a platform to connect our visitors and exhibitors and help them make business together. CXMP will not only help our visitors to find the exhibitors and products of their choice and organise their visit. Accessible all year round, CXMP will allow buyers to stay connected to the international food community and order the products they need at any time.
Finally, this year and in collaboration with start-up Sesame, we are launching Sial Start Up, a new space where French and international start-ups will showcase innovative solutions in response to the desire for new, healthier and environmentally friendly products.
You mention that a key topic for this year is ‘own the change’. What is meant by this and how will it be demonstrated during the event?
We are all active participants in the change that is underway, and we must grasp the environmental, ethical, digital and demographic challenges facing the planet. It is up to us to rise to the challenges of food security and changes in consumption habits.
We must keep in mind our social responsibility overall, and we must collectively solve complex problems. For example, how to produce more while polluting less, or reducing the carbon footprint of our consumption.
Sial Paris offers time for discussion and provides a global platform for raising these subjects, finding new drivers and anticipating future issues.
What are you personally most looking forward to from Sial 2022?
On a personal level, I’m really thrilled to have the worldwide community gathered in Paris for five days. Actually, it has been four years since the last physical edition of Sial Paris. The 2020 [event] had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. We seized that time as an opportunity to innovate and bring the tradeshow further, and I am excited to be able to welcome the whole food industry back to Paris.
Could you highlight some of the current trends in the food and beverage industry and how these will feed into the event’s agenda this year?
There are several trends emerging this year. We can see a lot of innovation in the field of sustainability, alternative food products (meat, fish [and] dairy products), as well processes or services using blockchain technology for instance.
The challenges facing the food industry are directly addressed in the Sial Insights publication. The 2022 study encompasses consumer expectations, the global innovation panorama and the latest trends in out-of-home cooking. The studies show how eating has become a statement, and 73% of consumers have changed their eating habits over the last two years.
The publication has identified four key trends: health, enjoyment, environment and ethics, and price. According to the findings, “eating is something people enjoy, and they want their experience to be both healthy and ethical, now and for the future. Sacrificing one of these factors in exchange for more purchasing power is set to be less and less acceptable given the ongoing crises.”
The report added: “Economic pressure is evolving from the need to balance quality and price, towards a more complex equation: value for money. The plateau reached by the organic market over the period is a great example of that. But consumers do acknowledge that players are making changes. The challenge now is to be able to meet all their expectations with a clear offer that is affordable for as many people as possible.”
Attendees at Sial Paris can also attend the programme of Sial Talks for additional discussion about the state of the food industry. The 2022 programme is designed to help attendees understand, analyse and debate the food scene of tomorrow and reflect on the trends happening in the food industry ecosystem. Key speakers from around the world will address themes such as traceability, adaptability to climate issues and the place of women in the food industry.
Another returning feature for Sial Paris 2022 is the Innovation awards. “Every exhibitor can participate in the awards, provided that the product is new to a market and less than two years old. A nominated product must also bring something new to the market. The awards bring a lot of success and attract plenty of attention from the media as well as from visitors. Sial Innovation awards give us a great overview of the innovations present at the show.”
How have food and beverage events adapted over the years? What makes them so important in today’s climate?
Food sufficiency is a world challenge, and it is even more obvious in the current geopolitical context. People will always need to eat. That is why agriculture and the food industry are sectors of the future. However, the changes on the way in these developing sectors are considerable, and the challenges are immense. Food sufficiency will necessarily require innovation. That means taking into account a paradigm shift: producing more while polluting less, exploring new sources of procurement, evolving towards more transparency, and so on.
With «Own the change», Sial Paris is encouraging the food community to seize the reins of change and to collectively consider the solutions of the future during the event and beyond.
Does the Sial team have any exciting plans in the pipeline, with regard to future events?
The headline addition for 2022 is the CXMP digital marketplace, allowing for B2B sales in real-time during and after the trade show. We are truly excited about this new feature and are convinced this will bring great added value to our stakeholders.
Further digitisation at Sial Paris 2022 comes with the launch of an app to enhance the visitor experience at the show. This digital tool will help visitors search for exhibitors, [and] then highlight the best way through the show to the requested stand. This app is also available for attendees to download.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
At Sial Paris, we adapt the programme and the talks to include issues such as inflation, geopolitical challenges and food security. We think that the future of the industry is bright, for the people who can see through the clouds and make informed choices. The Sial team is here to help, and we try to do that, in a humble way, as all part of our mission.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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