BY CHRIS McCUIN
MANAGING DIRECTOR, MONTGOMERY ASIA
When I first started organising food and drink trade shows eight years ago, the landscape was vastly different. The UK was long considered one of the major hubs for speciality food, influencing trends and innovations in Europe and beyond; speciality food from Asian countries was present, but a rarity.
Today, Asian flavours are very much at the forefront of the industry and key Southeast Asian markets like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are driving demand.
Trade shows like Speciality and Fine Food Asia (17–19 July 2018, Singapore) are well placed to tap into this burgeoning market. As the connection between purchasers and exhibitors, it is our job to provide opportunities for both buyers and sellers to be exposed to markets that they might not even have considered. We’ve also moved beyond simply being a marketplace and find that it is important to reflect current industry trends whether it be through something as small as show organisation, panel discussions or even choice of partners. Here are some of the key trends in the industry today.
Emergence of more next generation talent
Start-ups are so vital to this industry. They provide a fresh perspective, disrupt our traditional ways of doing things and develop innovations that will drive change in the industry. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that they get the support and right platforms to showcase their new products. At SFFA, we have made it a point to create a dedicated ‘start-up zone’ to showcase some of the best and brightest who are reinventing the wheel and changing the game. This helps to spotlight these brands and creates opportunities for these like-minded talented individuals to draw passion and excitement from each other which can result in some truly out-of-this-world collaborations.
Growing halal influence
Another example of how Asia is changing the landscape of the industry is the increase in both demand and supply of halal-related speciality food products. The market for Halal products has been growing steadily, which is why, for the first time, we’ve partnered with the Singapore Halal Culinary Federation to create workshops and programmes to equip exhibitors and visitors with the knowledge and skills essential for understanding and tailoring their products to the wider halal market.
With major retailers around the globe already pledging to reduce waste, it’s not long before the speciality food industry follows suit. There is an increasing demand for sustainable packaging and technology that contributes less waste byproduct. This opens the door for new technology companies to come in and change the game and it’s heartening to see an increase in the number of exhibitors and companies who are answering the call and I am excited to see where this takes the industry as a whole.
Chris McCuin is managing director of Montgomery Asia, the organisers of Speciality & Fine Food Asia, which has recently announced Isaac Mchale of London’s The Clove Club as its headline chef; as well as RPB Asia, which brings together a fantastic mix of wines, beers and spirits suppliers and will host an invitation-only bartending competition that will crown the Best Bartender in Asia.
Both shows will be held in Singapore from 17-19 July 2018. For more information and to register (trade only), visit rpb-asia.com.
Set that trend
The inaugural Asia Food Innovation Awards offer a unique opportunity to showcase your latest innovations, and celebrate your NPD achievements, in front of an audience of peers at one of Asia’s leading food events. To find out more, including how to enter, click here.
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