Fiera Milano, Rho


Retail Plaza analyses changing business models 

and Modern Distribution formats


Emerging trends in the FOOD value chain that directly and indirectly affect all the stakeholders in the chain - meaning producers, retailers and consumers - can today be summarised in the following three macro themes, which call for new approaches, new distribution formats and new business models:







These will be some of the topics that will enliven Retail Plaza by Tuttofood where retailers, producers, companies and experts will discuss new approaches and new lines of evolution for the modern distribution, also in response to the new settings in which companies operate.


The confirmation regarding these three supply chain innovation trends comes from the exogenous factors we have witnessed in the last two years (pandemic and geo-political crisis) and the rise in the use of IT tools (web, app development and TLC infrastructure strengthening) that have been more easily accepted and used by consumers.


In support of these statements, one can cite the data related to the development of e-commerce services over the last two years at around +50% for the period 2021 vs. 2019 (various sources) and the proof of growing technology platforms both to foster new business models (e.g. remote working) and to facilitate the ways of interaction between producers and consumers (direct to consumer) and between retailers and consumers (e-commerce and last-mile delivery management).


This shows a change in behaviour from end-consumer regarding the use of advanced technologies for ordering and delivering goods, as well as an increased awareness of sustainability issues in the supply chain.


Therefore, the challenges that manufacturers and retailers will have to face in the years to come will be mainly focus on the development of new business models, the need to revise supply chain relations (direct to consumer mode and involvement of pure players such as Amazon), the increasingly active involvement of a fourth stakeholder that we could say is represented by value-added service providers (change in the role of the logistics operator from cost centre to profit centre) and technology platforms.


The rate of growth of these changes will be strongly influenced by the new purchasing behaviour of the new generation of consumers (Generation Z) and a new systemic approach of all parties in the supply chain.





The food retailer business is an energy-intensive business. This is due to the fact that the products and raw materials circulating throughout the supply chain are subject to a different perishable rate and thus require technological solutions (e.g. refrigerated counters, temperature-controlled goods transport, careful shelf management) that heavily impact the amount of energy used to meet the needs of the business day by day.


In particular, the actions that can and should be taken are: use of alternative energy sources, the use of logistics operators to meet transport and delivery requirements, the implementation of packaging solutions (reduction/elimination of plastic used) and, last but not least, the development of targeted circular economy programmes and business models that favour direct-to-consumer modes.





Over the last three years (even before the pandemic and the geopolitical crisis), innovation hit the food supply chain, affecting all the traditional elements of all-round change: process, technology and organisation.


As far as process innovation is concerned, reference can be made to the ongoing sustainability phenomenon in the food supply chain.


On the other hand, as far as more strictly technological issues are concerned, one can speak of an increasingly massive use of ICT technology for reordering, delivery and end-consumer loyalty processes.


Last - and by no means least - one must consider both the new operating methods used in the work organisation of producers and retailers through the development of new business models (remote working) and the new ways of managing the last mile through truly innovative ways of intercepting and meeting the needs of the new consumer (e.g. the development of specific apps and food delivery through the design and implementation of the dark kitchen concept).





Consumer behaviour that industry businesses will have to face in the years to come will most likely be less loyal to the brand, more loyal to the concept of value pricing, less loyal to “nerd technology” and more loyal to the use of technology that is functional to specific needs.


In short, to borrow a phrase from Paul Valéry: “The trouble with our time is that the future is not what it used to be.” Forecasting techniques will be less and less reliable in interpreting the future.




05/08/23 h 12:00 - 13:30

SACE together with agribusiness companies

SACE has been working alongside Italian companies since 1977 supporting them in their growth both in Italy and abroad by managing the risks associated with operating in new and often unfamiliar geographies.

05/08/23 h 14:30 - 15:15

E-commerce solutions to maximise business in Food Retail

How people's shopping habits have changed and the importance of high value-added services ranging from delivery in minutes to click-and-collect and in-store technologies that allow users to view products remotely before purchasing them.

05/08/23 h 15:30 - 16:15

How Italian audiences react to foreign formats and how Italian excellence is increasingly in demand abroad

We will look at two innovative cases through the experiences of Giada Zhang, Mulan Ceo, who will tells us how Asian food produced entirely in Italy is being sold in our supermarkets and across Europe, and Pietro Nicastro, Lowengrübe CEO , who imported the success, flavours and atmosphere of Bavaria to Italy and who is now ready to promote Tuscan tradition abroad with Tosca, his new format.

05/09/23 h 10:30 - 11:15

Reinventing retail: new consumers, new business models in the food sector

The large-scale retail trade has undergone significant changes in recent years, also driven by new consumer purchasing habits. Sustainability, wellness, lifestyle, and Italian spirit: consumers are increasingly moving towards products that are targeted and relevant to their new needs, with a focus on innovation also regarding the purchasing process.

05/09/23 h 11:30 - 12:15

Better future Brands and signs meet sustainable innovation

What does sustainable innovation mean for brands and signs? Is it possible to look to the future in a sustainable yet profitable way? A round table to explore the topics of innovation and sustainability starting from the analysis of new consumer trends.

05/09/23 h 12:30 - 13:15

Last-mile-delivery: what are the changes and transformations in the Food Retail sector?

The twenties of the 21st century represented a decade of momentous changes for the world of food retail. The COVID19 pandemic gave life to new scenarios and the geopolitical crises reinforced the trend. New consumer behaviour and the development and adoption of new technologies accelerated the rate of change.

05/09/23 h 14:30 - 15:15

The out-of-home sector: transformations, opportunities, and opening up to third-party capital.

The away-from-home sector is on the upswing, with a total value of over EUR 90 billion in 2022. Chain catering is among the fastest growing segments thanks to experiential formats that appeal to young people, the new protagonists of away-from-home. In the panel “The Evolution of Food Retail” we will share with industry leaders how the sector is changing, investigating the areas that most represent growth drivers including: digital transformation, the role of dark kitchens, international development and opening up to third party capital.

05/09/23 h 15:30 - 16:15

Between metaverse and territory: the evolution of food retail

The Metaverse is a reality and significant growth is expected over the next few years. Gartner forecasts claim that by 2026, 25% of the population will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse between work, shopping, education and entertainment.

05/10/23 h 10:30 - 11:30

Export to USA: Aligning with the New Regulations a competitive advantage in the international context

The USA is a 6 trillion dollar market, strongly growing, in which Italian exports also register significant increases, year-on-year. Interesting, therefore, are the prospects that open up for Italian producers in this large market.

05/10/23 h 11:30 - 12:15

Green Retail Lab: strategies for sustainable nutrition

Nutritional sustainability is based on fundamental principles such as food safety, waste reduction, low environmental impact of food and food functionality, strengthening the link between human health and the health of the planet.

05/10/23 h 12:30 - 13:15

Packaging challenges between sustainability and new European targets

05/10/23 h 14:30 - 15:15

Italian industry know-how at the service of foreign private labels

Virtuous made-in-Italy companies are gaining more and more ground in the premium segment of private label in overseas supply chains. Case histories and best practices of the leading Italian industry partner of MDD.

05/11/23 h 10:30 - 11:30

Export to China: How to register your products and company at Chinese customs, how to comply with labeling regulations, market opportunities and threats

One year after the introduction by the People's Republic of China of new principles and requirements for food products imported from foreign countries, what has changed for Italian agri-food companies wishing to export to the country?

05/11/23 h 11:30 - 12:15

The food of the future: changes, trends, forecasts and interesting news

In recent years, the world of food has undergone profound changes, which have enhanced its social role and amplified its popularity. The changes in gastronomy have affected all the social parties involved: producers and consumers, public institutions and private entities, large-scale organised distribution and restaurants.

05/11/23 h 12:30 - 13:15

Food communication: from identity storytelling to brand activism

The boost of the food brand identity, good practices for a renewed storytelling (also with reference to the new social medial channels), the importance of identity to train, upgrade and retain staff, testimonials on values that are not just an excuse to charm customers but the main decision-making factor for buying food and more.