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When in food retail, note in your agenda 2015’s main events
20/CENT Retail's Podcast

When in food retail, note in your agenda 2015’s main events

Planning, planning, planning… We have all done it in the past couple of days or weeks. In our plans, we set our objectives and goals for the next year but soon we will be caught in our everyday activities. With your nose in the steering wheel, you can easily have an event sneak up on you. “What? The fair is next week? I already planned meetings next week and I didn’t book my hotel yet!”. Those kinds of surprising statements are happening more often than you can imagine. Before you know, appointments have to be moved, or visits have to be cancelled. To avoid this, it’s best to put the dates already now in your agenda, including your visiting date.

After a couple of days of personal planning, I also did the exercise and selected (from a Benelux and European oriented point of view) the events not to miss in 2015.

Food shows, tasty, creative and informative

The classics

The year starts with a double feature. You can visit the Ethnic Foods Europe fair to see get into the world of ethnic food. The show still aims to be the best gateway in ethnic food for manufacturers and retailers. Although, last year’s offer wasn’t huge, and this year it doesn’t seem to be bigger. So plan carefully. The bonus is that you can also take a dive into the latest trends in foodservice and catering in Netherlands by visiting Horecava as both events are organised at the same venue.

ISM in Cologne is the event not to miss if you are into confectionary, chocolate and sweets. It’s also a great rehearsal for Anuga following in October. Let’s not forget that ISM is presenting a big offer of Belgian manufacturers, always great in chocolate and cookies. The fair is easily visited in a day and presents you the latest innovations, special animations and seminars.

Mentioned in a previous post, I believe the Food Innovation Summit organised for the first time this year is worth to attend. It’s not a trade fair, but the event is definitely international and the programme offers a wide scope, which should please all people in our profession.

MDD Expo (Paris) and PLMA (Amsterdam) are the two main events worldwide when it comes to private label. The latest trends in PL, the best innovations as well. Both are not to miss if you are a private label manufacturer (as exhibitor or visitor).

The Seafood Expo in Brussels is again a not to miss event for the seafood industry. The Seafood Prix d’Elite is in itself interesting to visit. Also, among the exhibitors, you can find many country pavilions, often a perfect place to encounter innovations and young companies venturing into export.

The second part of the year, especially September month offers also its share of events worth visiting. Even though Meat Expo and Broodway in Kortrijk have a strong local characteristic, they are interesting enough to experience the latest in the meat, and in the bakery sector. The advantage is that both events are held at the same location, and easily visited in one day.

If you are looking for exclusive and high-end products, then Gourmet Food&Wine Selection is the place to visit in Paris. End of September, you will be able to discover products such as wines, chocolates, special cheeses, … aimed for the specialised channels such as delis.

Finally, let’s mention the main event of the year: ANUGA in Cologne. Every two years, the food industry gathers for one colossal main event. Yes colossal is the word to use; with more than 6500 exhibitors and thousands of visitors, ANUGA is the biggest and definitely not to miss.

A vending and out of home year

Three events are interesting to visit this year if you are into out-of-home markets. With the Sandwich & Snack Show (Paris), the Pizza Benelux and Vending & Barista Benelux (Brussels) and Euvend & Coffeena (Cologne), you get three events to evaluate the health of the sector, or simply to get in touch with major players of on the go consumption. Various seminars are organised on those events definitely worth attending. I thought of outlining these in a specialised section, as these sectors of the food industry are still quite unknown for many.

Ecommerce and Point of sales

Obviously, food is well represented in my selection. But ecommerce and new technologies for points of sales also get their own events.

Dusseldorf will host Eurocis. Last show saw around 235 exhibitors showcase their innovations and services to aproximately 7000 visitors. The trip is definitely worth it if you want to keep up with the latest in retailing technology.

Local events E-shop Expo (Brussels) and the Webwinkeldagen (Utrecht) will help you find local partners, and solutions; especially if you are a start-up as these are more local events.

Finally let’s mention Paris Retail Week. Two events will coincide: E-Commerce Paris and Digital (in)Store by Equipmag. The purpose is to offer a 360° approach for both online and offline. Next to the fair, special networking activities or tours will be organised. 

Planning is done

So there you have my picks for 2015. As mentioned earlier, I choose the events according to the relevance for my market. But also, next to ticking the dates of the major well-established events, I like to select a few new or unknown events, in order to be pleasantly surprised.

Maybe some other events will be added to the ‘not to miss list’. Who knows? Maybe we’ll cross each other on one of these events. In that case, make sure to give me a sign if you are there, especially if you want to discuss about the Benelux market.



Here is a reminder for you in chronological order:

Ethnic Foods Europe



Food Innovation Summit


Sandwich & Snack Show

E-shop Expo

MDD Expo

Seafood Expo


Free From Food

Pizza Benelux and Take Away + Vending & Barista Benelux


Digital instore by Equipmag

Eu’Vend and Coffeena

Meat Expo


Gourmet Selection


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