11/06/2019 – Special Report / Food Processing / Event / Thaifex World of Food Asia
THAIFEX solidifies position as foremost F&B trade show in Asia
The recently concluded Thaifex-World of Food Asia 2019 – the region’s largest, dedicated industry tradeshow – recently concluded, after having attracted over 67,000 visitors from 134 countries; and having featured 2,745 exhibitors, including 28 start-ups. Organiser Koelnmesse has said the 2020 edition of the premier event will be rebranded as THAIFEX-Anuga Asia.
Plant-based meats, drone-based food delivery, an edible coating solution that prolongs the shelf life of fruit, smart packaging for traceability and authentication, and insect-based protein powder – these were just some of the innovations showcased at the recently concluded Thaifex event, which concluded in Bangkok earlier this month.
Envisioning the future of F&B, THAIFEX’s 16th edition marked the largest volume to date of attendees at Asia’s foremost dedicated F&B tradeshow – at total of 67,136 visitors, with representatives from China, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia and the USA, amongst others, holding a strong presence at the show.
More than 2,000 international hosted buyers in attendance at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia, with 152 handpicked to participate in a two-day closed-door business matchmaking programme exclusively organised for international exhibitors to discuss trade deals. Across the programme, over 1,300 successful meetings took place. The meetings were pre-arranged through an online business matching platform, which allowed top buyers from across Asia to select the international exhibitors they wanted to do business with in the weeks running up to the event.
F&B trends and future innovations
The inaugural THAIFEXfuture Food Experience received a highly favourable response from attendees. As part of the programme, demonstrations at Future Food Live! included a unique cooking show hosted by the ASEAN Food and Feed Insects Association, where Le Cordon Bleu chef Frederic Legras created well-loved desserts with a twist - incorporating cricket powder and whole insects, to confound and delight audiences in equal measure.
Meanwhile, the THAIFEX Startup Zone boasted a contingent of 28 innovative new firms, who engaged in networking sessions with investors and venture capitalists hailing from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Oman, US and Thailand.
“The exposure we achieved…was truly phenomenal. The networking session, in particular, provided a great platform for us to present our innovative food technology solution to combat diabetes to an international audience of media, buyers and potential investors,” said Alan Phua, CEO and Master Builder of Singapore-based Alchemy Foodtech Pte. Ltd – a start-up that created a patent-pending food composition to lower the glycemic index of carbohydrate staples such as rice. “We hope our participation at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia will be a springboard for us to help improve food and nutrition in the region, and across the world.”
On the other side of the coin, executives from F&B industry giants were enthused to learn about the innovative ideas of start-ups and how these might help transform the sector in the years ahead. “We are doing a lot of work with the start-ups through our LEVEL3 setup in Singapore,” said Hans-Friedrich Zeh, Vice President Supply Chain Foods & Refreshment SEAA, Unilever. “To see the different start-ups here in THAIFEXfuture Food Experience+, from a different perspective, especially focused on the food industry, is a great inspiration – and of course, a source of new business for us in the future,” he remarked.
Elsewhere, more than 300 participants attended the new Leadership in Food Innovation Conference series, with speakers exploring changes in the F&B landscape via an array of topics that included innovation and growth in 2019, accelerating business in food and technology, sustainability, consumer insights and marketing strategies, and a greater focus on nutrition.
Bringing local tastes to a global platform
In 2019, THAIFEX-World of Food Asia welcomed six new country groups, Australia (AUSVEG), Brazil, Poland, Spain, USA, and Sri Lanka.
Spain provided a unique experience at its pavilion with seminars and a tapas-style networking lunch, while Sri Lanka arranged a lunch buffet with a selection of local delights for visitors to sample.
“The United States is proud to have had major exhibitors like the California Milk Advisory Board, US Potato Board, US Dry Pea and Lentil Council, and Washington Apple Commission represented at our inaugural stand at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia. As Asia’s largest F&B trade show, the trade fair is an important opportunity for us to showcase new-to-market products and innovative applications from the United States to the rest of the world,” said Russ Nicely, Agricultural Counselor, of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Bangkok, Thailand.
Results of coveted chef awards
The eighth edition of the Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge (TUCC) saw over 1,300 professional and budding chefs from 13 countries display their skills to 47 judges from all over the world, as they competed to win a host of coveted championship titles.
Those titles and the 2019 winners are listed below:
● Best Establishment Award – Chef Tiddawn Culinary Club
● Best Ultimate Professional Chef Award – Natrada Keeratipattarawut, Chef Tiddawn Culinary Club
● Best Ultimate Junior Chef Award – Mayurin Tongto, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University
● Best Ultimate Pastry Chef Award – Ting Yu Wang, Kun Shan University
The qualifying final Asia round of the Global Chef Challenge (GCC) was also held at THAIFEX-World of Food Asia for the third time running. Finalists for the three categories include:
● Global Chefs Challenge – Chia Ho Li, Taiwan Chef’s Association
● Global Pastry Chefs Challenge – Fang Qianqian, Shanghai Disneyland Resort
● Global Young Chefs Challenge (The Hans Bueschkens Trophy) – Wei Xiaoyue, Wangsen School
Rebranding and evolving in 2020
After 16 years of strong partnership, the event’s organisers (Koelnmesse, Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion, and the Thai Chamber of Commerce) will be elevating the trade fair with a rebranding to THAIFEX-Anuga Asia.
The refreshed name will further emphasise the strong relationship between THAIFEX- World of Food Asia and Anuga – the world’s largest F&B trade show – as well as affirming the global standard of the fair, with Anuga’s 100 years of history and experience backing the THAIFEX event.
Koelnmesse will continue to work with the Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Chamber of Commerce to grow the show and bring an unprecedented business matching platform and experience to the industry.
“As organisers, we’re constantly fine-tuning our programmes based on feedback from exhibitors, buyers and visitors, and aligning them with the latest industry trends. We were delighted to hear that new programmes such as the THAIFEXfuture Food Experience and the THAIFEX Startup Zone were very well received. The future of the F&B sector is always evolving as consumers’ tastes, considerations and preferences progress, and we hope to continue refreshing and creating new programmes that will deliver the ultimate trade show experience to keep attendees - even exhibitors and buyers - ahead of the curve,” said Mathias Kuepper, Managing Director at Koelnmesse Pte Ltd.
THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2020 will continue to pursue its focus on the Future of Food, and will take place from 26-30 May next year.
Other upcoming Koelnmesse events include: Annapoorna - ANUFOOD India, Mumbai, India (29-31 August 2019); Anuga, Cologne, Germany (5-9 October 2019); ISM, Cologne, Germany (2-5 February 2020).