Welcome back Tavola
This year marks the return of tradeshows and among them is Tavola. The Belgian event took place over three days and for many of the participants it was good to meet back in person.
Actually, Tavola was one of the first trade event impacted by the lockdown in march 2020. Back then, the organizer postponed the event a first time, then was forced to do it again, and again…until last September we all finally could attend A Taste of Tavola, a spin-off of the real deal which just took place a few days ago. And like all participants, I must say it was good to see the show and its participants happy to meet again and do business in a live setting. So how was it?
My 20/CENT on Tavola vintage 2022
First of all, we should always look at the numbers and there is no doubt that the organizer can be proud of the return of Tavola: over 400 exhibitors participated from 14 different countries and more than 30 countries were represented amongst the participants.
Also, I can confirm that many buyers came to snoop new products or meet current suppliers. In the alleys, I met or crossed the path with many representatives from the major retailers in the Benelux (Delhaize, Carrefour, Intermarché, Colruyt, Cora, Ahold …). So, despite the difficult context of trade negotiations, the major retailers were not hiding and participated to the show. Therefore, we can conclude that, despite a forced absence on the calendar and difficult circumstances, Tavola still attracts the right crowds.
Finally, I noticed something interesting and important in the communication around the show this year. The organizer was not shy to say that “Tavola is one of the highest quality food fairs in Europe”. To be honest, I salute this confidence and couldn’t agree more. Tavola may not be amongst the biggest events in terms of volume of exhibitors and visitors (compared to SIAL or Anuga for example), but the show does have an international aura. It offers quality, internationalism and therefore is in the top of the league, even before events such as Gourmet Selection, IFE or Specialty Fine Foods if you ask me.
However, I do see that compared to other shows, Tavola lacks a few elements that others have. This year, except for the Golden Tavola, there were no side events such a conferences or seminars.
Also, I do miss the digitalization of the event. To go there, I still had to print my ticket in the old-fashioned way to avoid queues. And Kortrijk Xpo still didn’t develop a performant digital app. Surely, the Tavola Online platform exists, but it is not what I expect from a major player. It should be more interactive and updated more regularly. All the other major shows in Europe have embraced or at least accelerated the digitalization of their events. The hybrid is the new standard and also safer in case the current pandemic flares up or a new one would occur.
To conclude, I would say that this year’s event confirmed that Tavola remains at the top of the European food events. This year was definitely a great vintage. However, in the next years, let’s hope Kortrijk Xpo decides to embrace the hybrid era.
PS: For those interested in what struck my eye during my visit, don’t miss my next article
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