6 key reasons to attend Fi Europe
4 days of thought leadership and networking
With a record number of exhibitors, a 4-day conference programme focused on thought leadership and new sections and initiatives, organiser UBM EMEA expects Fi Europe & Ni in Frankfurt to attract more visitors than ever before, and is ensuring they are senior professionals with considerable purchasing power.
To get a better insight into what FiEurope & Ni’s new sections and initiatives are really about, I spoke with Richard Joyce, Brand Director at UBM plc, about this year’s top challenges for the conference, and his expectations of what the event will offer the industry.
Q: I have noticed that the number of US and Asian exhibitors has been growing in recent years. What are the reasons for this?
A: Although Fi Europe & Ni is a European show by name, it’s truly global in character. We have exhibitors from more than 65 countries, and this year’s figures — 1500 exhibitors and a highly professional audience of 25,000 attendees — promise to set new records for both exhibitors and visitors. It’s not just about location or the fact that Germany is a global player and the biggest food and beverage market in Europe, it’s also about the quality of our exhibitors and visitors. Fi Europe & Ni is much more than a trade show, it’s the world’s most important F&B meeting place, a think-tank and a source of innovation. We want to provide insight into exciting new trends and present a vision of what the future of nutrition will look like.
Q: A great deal of food and food technology innovations are driven by food-tech start-ups. What processes, formal and informal, does Fi Europe & Ni have in place to support and encourage start-up operations?
A: Something that’s equally true in the ingredients sector as it is in IT, is the fact that it’s not only the big players who are responding to trends and reacting with great energy and R&D investments. Smaller companies and start-ups are also offering exciting new solutions and tackling industry challenges. Anyone who wants to experience the innovative power of this sector should step off the beaten track and visit our New Exhibitors Pavilion. These 250+ new exhibitors are a rich source of considerable potential!
The Start-up Innovation Challenge also offers a unique opportunity for innovative young companies who aren’t quite ready to invest in a stand at the show. It enables them to present their projects to a jury panel of experienced manufacturers, R&D specialists, investors and start-up incubators for constructive feedback and consultancy, and allows Fi Europe & Ni visitors to learn more about these promising newcomers and their creative ideas. The ten shortlisted entrepreneurs will pitch their innovations live at Fi Europe & Ni in the bustling Industry Insights Theatre, and the winners will receive a personalized support programme to further their growth.
For the first time ever, Fi Europe & Ni will offer an information centre in the heart of the Expo FoodTec Pavilion. The Expo FoodTec Content Hub will summarize innovations, interesting start-ups and expert views in packaging, processing and machinery. Fi Europe & Ni is and always will be an ingredients show; but, there are so many interesting connections between ingredients and the various aspects of FoodTec that we feel a strong commitment to present these to our visitors.
Q: A number of food and nutrition challenges of today and tomorrow are on everyone's mind: food waste, obesity, malnutrition, and many more. What are Fi Europe & Ni's strategic plans for addressing these challenges?
A: The ingredients industry faces many challenges, such as coping with the effects of an affluent Western society. Some countries have already taken preventive steps; now that fat reduction has attained mainstream status, it’s time to concentrate on sugar and salt issues, such as establishing legal standards. Sustainability is another core topic of the show: how can companies improve the energy balance of food production and how can the industry switch from artificial to natural or organic ingredients?
Fi Europe & Ni is the ideal platform for buyers and suppliers to find solutions for these issues. There are exhibitors with highly innovative microencapsulation technologies that enable food producers to reduce the salt content of baked goods. Others produce functional fibres derived from food production waste that can be used for fibre enrichment — sustainability at its best!
By contrast, we still have malnutrition in the so-called third world. Here UBM, as organizer of the show, has taken a proactive stand; we’ve worked with The Hunger Project – a global, non-profit strategic organisation that’s committed to the sustainable end of world hunger – to empower people in Africa, South Asia and Latin America to lead self-reliant lives and build a better future for their children.
Likewise, the Fi Conference also focuses on some of today’s biggest challenges. The 3-day programme will provide an inspiring and comprehensive agenda delivered by the industry’s thought leaders: product developers, market analysts and industry insiders alike will delve into the topics that are currently driving the industry and will propel it into the future. These topics range from sustainability and organic solutions to food safety and life stage-based nutrition.
The Future of Nutrition Summit, which takes place just before the show officially opens will examine the factors that will affect the food industry in 5, 10 or 15 years from now, such as increasing urbanisation and digitalisation.
Q: What is your personal take on the secrets driving Fi Europe & Ni's impressive success?
A: During my conversations with exhibitors, visitors and even editors from trade magazines, the sentence I hear most is this: if there’s one place to be in the food and beverage ingredients industry, it’s Fi Europe & Ni. In today’s digital world, where, theoretically, any solution is only a few mouse clicks away, this feedback is really satisfying! Both visitors and exhibitors value the direct contact between clients and suppliers, the high quality and relevance of the innovations and the unique combination of learning, networking and doing business.
Q: Tell me the six things you find new and most exciting this year at Fi Europe & Ni.
A: My personal number one is the Future of Nutrition Summit. One day before the hustle and bustle of the show begins, international scientists, market analysts and thought leaders will take an in-depth glance at the long-term issues within the food and beverage industry. The Expo FoodTec Content Hub, new for this year’s edition, is the must-attend zone when it comes to processing-related topics; there is so much activity in this part of the industry. And, for the first time ever, this information centre at the heart of the Expo FoodTec Pavilion will summarize innovations, interesting start-ups and expert views.
We all know how time-consuming networking can be, so Fi Europe & Ni tries to make it as quick and easy as possible for our visitors. If you’re a female industry professional, don’t miss the Women’s Networking Breakfast on 29 November. And, using our web-based Business Matchmaking Tool means reducing the time you have to spend on networking preparation to a minimum. Once you’ve registered, you can search for interesting and relevant exhibitors, find out about their offerings and pre-arrange meetings onsite at Fi Europe & Ni.
One thing I’m sure of, which makes Fi Europe & Ni so successful, is that UBM never claims to be the one and only company running the show. Despite our longstanding experience in the ingredients industry, we’ve never considered Fi Europe & Ni to be a one-person-event. We work closely with expert partners and analysists such as Innova Market Insights, Mintel, Euromonitor, Anderson Partners and The Healthy Marketing Team to provide rich insights into current trends for our visitors.
This year, our new and improved Fi Europe Innovation Awards will once again acknowledge trendsetting new ideas and put them in the spotlight. Previously, we’ve used award classifications based on the different industry sectors, such as confectionary, beverage or dairy; but, this year, the categories are geared towards key trends such as “Sustainability Champion” and “Reduction & Reformulation Innovation.”
Q: What would you like to tell the readers and attendees before we head back to the show floor?
A: With more than 1500+ exhibitors, finding your future partner or the most suitable ingredients or solution can be challenging. So, my advice is to prepare your visit with care to make sure you get the most out of the 3 days! Download the Fi Europe App, register for our Business Matchmaking Tool, check the Fi Conference programme as well as the free-to-attend lectures and sessions during the show. And make sure you pre-register in time. Fi Europe & Ni is free to attend when pre-registering online before 17 November. In addition, attractive early bird prices are still available for the Fi Conference.
Thank you Richard. It was a real pleasure speaking with you. I believe we definitely learned of many exciting highlights to expect at this year’s Fi Europe & Ni. And to the readers, come, join us (and don’t forget to fill the registration form). Happy mingling!