Alimentaria 2018 a Draw for U.S. Buyers

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By Katie Martin - 02/05/2018

Alimentaria Barcelona, a food, drink and foodservice trade show that takes place every two years, is a must-attend for U.S. buyers and retailers looking to add Spanish-made food and drink to their product line.

At the 2016 show, Alimentaria drew 11 percent of the international visitors from the United States, ranking 8th in attendees by country, and this year, show organizers expect this number to grow. Overall, the 2018 show is expected to have more than 30 percent of attendees from outside of Spain. The show attracts importers; distributors; buyers from supermarkets, wholesalers, hotels, restaurants, caterers and specialized retailers. The 2016 show drew more than 140,000 attendees, and this year, Alimentaria will have exhibitors from 80 countries and attendees from 170 countries.

“Alimentaria is the most important food and beverage show in Spain,” said Josep Lluis Bonet, president of the Alimentaria Organization Committee, at a recent press event.

Spain is the world leader in many food sectors: olive oil, olives, and fruits and vegetables, noted Fernando José Burgaz Moreno, managing director for the food industry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing food and the Environment at the press event. “Spain is the cradle of the best and healthiest diet – the Mediterranean diet. In the last few years, our chefs have become well known. Tourists are ambassadors of our food in their countries. One of the biggest challenges is to grow exports outside of the E.U., but Spanish exports are expected to grow,” he added. In the last year, the Spanish food and drink industry represented 11 percent of the country’s exports, totaling €27.5 billion ($34.25 billion), with an annual growth rate of 8.4 percent in 2016.

Alimentaria 2018 is focused on generating innovation and quality, and offers a variety of ways for attendees to interact. The exhibition space encompasses more than 100,000 square meters and is collated with Hostelco, the International Exhibition of Equipment for Restaurants, Hotels and Mass Catering, making the show one of the largest platforms for the food industry.

In 2018, Alimentaria is strengthening is key show segments: Intervin, wines and spirits; Intercarn, meat and meat derivatives; Restaurama, foodservice in hotels, restaurants and mass catering; Expoconser, canned and prepared food; Interlact, dairy and dairy derivatives; and Multiple Foods, featuring consumer goods and food trends that encompasses the International Pavilions, Lands of Spain, Snacks, Biscuits & Confectionery, Mediterranean Foods, Organic & Functional Foods, Grocery Products and Fine Foods.

Intercarn 2018, dedicated to the meat category, is expected to draw more than 48,000 visitors with more than 500 exhibitors, including those from Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland and Denmark. The demand for Spanish meat is growing, with demand especially strong from the United States, and the country’s meat industry now exports more than 40 percent of its output.

Restaurama will focus on coffee and frozen food with the soft drinks, mineral water and beers also consolidating at the show. The 10,000-square-meter space will feature more than 300 exhibitors. Restaurama also will feature about 100 chefs, holding about 40 Michelin stars among with, along with up-and-coming talent, sharing their innovative ideas in the gourmet zone of The Alimentaria Experience. The Experience will home to master classes, tasting sessions and demonstrations.

The Alimentaria Experience will have four demonstration areas that will showcase 45-minute demonstrations including a tasting session and pairing suggestions. A Chef of the Year Competition also will take place with eight young chefs competing. Outside the Experience, eight food trucks will offer a variety of popular urban foods.

Intervin 2018 will feature more than 700 wineries and exhibitors in 15,000 square meters. The space also will be home to Intervin Business Meetings, a hosted buyer program with meetings held at the exhibitors’ booths, and Intervin will bring about 300 key importers from the distribution industries of the United States and China. The show also will feature Vinorum Think, an area for informing, discussing and doing business with Spanish wine experts. The show also will introduce a 400-square-meter area of organic wines as well as house a new 700-square-meter Barcelona Cocktail Art where spirit producers will showcase their wares and feature presentations, workshops and tasting sessions.

Multiple Foods will showcase confectionery, olive oils, ingredients for the Mediterranean diet, organic products, premium foods and special diet foods in 27,000 square meters with more than 2,000 exhibiting companies. The show will be home to the 8th edition of the Gourmet Olive Bar, which lets attendees sample about 100 AOVE brands from Spain and other Mediterranean countries.

More than 15,000 industry attendees are expected at the dairy-focused Interlact, with 150 exhibitors in 3,700 square meters. Cheese will have a significant presence at this year’s show along with the inclusion of new functional varieties.

The 5,000-square-meter Alimentaria Hub will be a center of innovation, exports or digital marketing. It will house congresses, conferences, presentations and more than 11,000 business meetings with 11,000 international buyers. This focal point of knowledge, trends, innovation and business will include more than 200 activities around six main themes: Innovation (R&D&I) and Brands, Nutrition, Health & Wellness, Internationalization & Globalization, Distribution & Retail, Marketing & Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. It will also house Innoval, an exhibit of nearly 300 new food and drink products that demonstrate brands’ commitment to quality and creating added value. Out of these new products, 16 will be chosen for the Innoval Awards.

For more information about Alimentaria, visit