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Sial (Paris) vs Anuga (Cologne), the battle of the giants

Sial (Paris) vs Anuga (Cologne), the battle of the giants

Every year mid-October, the food industry gathers for a main, huge, colossal main event: ANUGA (Cologne) or SIAL (Paris). Alternatively, the cities of Cologne and Paris become for a couple of days the world’s capital of our beloved food industry.

The trade fair aficionado that I am never misses the opportunities that these events offer. And yet, yearly, prior to the event or at the event itself, I get to hear the question: “Next year do you also visit ANUGA/SIAL? Because I don’t …”

Well in my opinion, it’s a no-brainer and there is no need to hold a debate to compare the events. But since it appears some people feel necessary to ask the question, let’s take a closer look and compare the two trade fairs.

Let’s talk numbers

  • SIAL (based on numbers from www.sialparis.com)
    • Approximately 6500 exhibitors from 105 countries
    • Approximately 150.000 visitors from 200 countries
    • Presented on 242.000m2
  • ANUGA (based on numbers from www.anuga.com about one of the last editions)
    • 6777 from 98 countries
    • 154462 visitors from 187 countries
    • Presented on 284.000m2

As you can see, both are quite similar in terms of size, with maybe an advantage towards ANUGA. But except in terms of space, I don’t understand why some tend to make the comment that ANUGA is way too big compared to SIAL in Paris.

In fact I don’t understand these comments at all. If you complain that these events are too big, allow me to refer to your objectives and planning prior to the fair. If you didn’t set clear targets or if you didn’t prepare your visit, of course you will drown in the ocean of booths and people running around. So again, the importance of your preparation is crucial. (see one of my previous posts)

The fair experience

Where both fairs offer the same experiences

The organizers of both ANUGA and SIAL Paris offer very comprehensible information through their website and have both a well designed and executed communication plan prior, during and after the event.

Both fairs also offer since their recent editions, a mobile application helping the visitors organizing his visit: sorting out exhibitors must see events, agenda…

In terms of content, exhibitors have their habits, and you often see the regulars every year. Also, not to miss are the land pavilions. On these you often find small and medium sized companies mature enough to venture towards export. Obviously, the organizers also create spaces for dedicated demos, animations, conferences… There is enough to see and experience on both fairs. 

For both events, you better reserve your accommodation way in advance. If you start thinking of it too late, you might end up at very expensive hotels, or most likely at a big distance from the fair.

Where both fairs differ from each other  

In terms of transportation, I find SIAL offers a bit more challenges than ANUGA. For those using public transport, with your entrance fee, ANUGA offers a ticket within the city of Cologne. Also you hear less people complain about the conditions of public transport in Cologne, than in Paris

For those using the car, again Cologne is more pleasant. At your arrival in the morning, you get to pay for your parking. So in the evening, you get to leave the premises immediately. In Paris, you have to endure, after the overcrowded shuttles to get back to your parking, the extra long queues at the pay stations. There is nothing more annoying after a long day of walking and standing.

Advantage ANUGA

In terms of communication, it seems to me that the organizers of SIAL have embraced the social media wave a bit more than the people of the Kölnmesse. Twitter accounts, and LinkedIn groups are well active when it comes to the event of Paris. Maybe 2015 will bring a change to the situation for ANUGA. 

Advantage SIAL

The Kölnmesse and the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte have both been renewed in the last decade. Both are clean and well maintained. Now this point is really subjective but I would tend to have a preference for the Kölnmesse. I find that to orientate myself is a bit easier in Cologne., and you are closer to the city. But again, it’s very subjective. Just a small remark to add in terms of services, both claim to have wifi access, but good luck to connect your device.

Advantage Kölnmesse (very subjective)

In terms of animations, both events multiply efforts to have not just a wide range of exhibitors. But one of the points I would point out is that it seems SIAL is more advanced in putting their innovation contest forward. SIAL INNOVATION tends to be more renown than TASTE.

Advantage SIAL

Final Score

Well as announced in my introduction, I don’t have any preference or winner, and I don’t believe you should either. If you are claiming to be internationally oriented, you have to visit both fair if you have the possibility. When you are interested to get information and inspiration, you cannot miss the biggest events of our industry. So I don’t expect that the question will never be asked to me again, but at least, now I can refer the doubters to this post now.