In a milestone year for benchmarking organised event success, Fi Europe 2023 has shown that there is more demand than ever for a dynamic platform uniting the international ingredients industry. This year’s event, which attracted 23,149 attendees from 135 countries around the globe, was a resounding success, reaffirming its positive contribution to F&B industry innovation, collaboration and dialogue. Next year, Fi Europe is set to return to Frankfurt from 19-21 November.
The build-up started on 20 November, when the event platform went live, enabling attendees to access exclusive content previews, coordinate meetings and stream a live keynote session. Then, on 27 November, the Future of Nutrition Summit kicked off a carefully curated in-person content programme designed to inspire and inform whilst facilitating networking and discussion. Speakers from Nestlé, Microsoft, Deloitte and the United Nations Global Compact gave their takes on the trends and technologies reshaping the food industry landscape.
On 28 November, Fi Europe opened its doors to reveal a vibrant show floor that was to become a hive of networking activity for the next three days. Over 1400 exhibition stands occupied four halls packed with ingredients and solutions from all over the world, providing a sensory spectacle and a wealth of sourcing opportunities. Many attendees also took advantage of the additional inspiration offered by the Innovation Tours, New Product Zone and Innovation Hub.
The first day culminated with the announcement of the Fi Europe Innovation Awards and Startup Innovation Challenge winners. Honoured at a special ceremony, the recipients were chosen by an expert judging panel for their outstanding contributions to the F&B ingredients industry.
The two-day Fi Europe Conference, which ran in parallel to the exhibition, provided a further forum for exchanges on the latest advancements and future trends in the F&B industry. The agenda revolved around four topical themes: plant-based, health & wellbeing, alternative ingredients & protein, and reformulation & ingredient innovation. Speakers from a broad cross-section of commercial, academic and research organisations, including Mintel, Euromonitor, NIZO, Wageningen University, Rabobank and Cultivated Biosciences, made for a varied and insightful programme.
Sustainability as an industry challenge was a thematic thread throughout this year’s event, with dedicated features such as the Sustainability Hub and content that focused on ethical sourcing, transparency, regulatory compliance, ESG and gender equity, creating a forum for constructive discussions in this important area.
The industry’s challenge of cultivating a strong pipeline of emerging talent was addressed at Fi Europe 2023 through the introduction of a new programme designed to facilitate connections between students and businesses. The Future Food Leaders Day, which took place on 30 November, gave university students valuable insight into the potential trajectory of a career in the F&B industry.
Yannick Verry, Brand Manager, Food ingredients Europe & Americas, at Informa Markets, says: “For me, feeling the buzz of this year’s show reinforced the important role that Fi Europe fulfils for the global food & beverage community. Not only does it provide a forum for making meaningful connections and discovering new ingredients and technologies, it also makes an important contribution to advancing discussions and thinking around innovation, sustainability and the future of the industry. We are already looking forward to 2024, when Fi Europe will return to Frankfurt, from 19-21 November.”
These positive sentiments were echoed by exhibiting companies, who were effusive in their comments about this year’s show. A selection of quotes follows:
René Berendse, Marketing Associate Director Enablement & Operations at Cargill: “That was a busy show! You shouldn’t forget that not too long ago, we came out of a period where trade shows were done virtually. Last year, we were just happy to be back. This year we saw growth and a very high percentage of new and extra visitors. We noticed a very busy first day, then we thought it can’t be that busy the second day, which was even busier. Happy faces everywhere! “
Silke Ullmann, Manager Nutrition Communication at BENEO: “We had a very successful show, with lots of attendees coming to our booth and we were almost swamped on the first two days. The third day was a bit quieter, but that was also nice because we could connect with the students who attended the Future Food Leaders Programme.”
Nadine Vogels, Global Head of Product Management at Silesia: “For Silesia the exhibition was a great success! We had a lot of existing and new customers at our booth and they were impressed by the products and concepts we presented.”
Oliver Wolf, Marketing EMEIA at Gelita: “It was a great trade show for us with many visitors showing huge interest in our latest product that we launched here. Overall, we were able to generate many interesting leads at this year’s show.”