Prenesh Lingham, Group Procurement & Control Manager, Guvon Hotels & Spas (Sud Africa)
It’s important that TUTTOFOOD will be held in person because the experience of tasting and feeling the products, and of meeting the suppliers, are vitally important. However if the Covid-19 risk is still high, this will be a problem. The new opportunities we expect to find thanks to the simultaneous access to HostMilano involve new Kitchen equipment, bar equipment, new hospitality technology, card reader machines, top grade olive oil, olives, long shelf-life foods, etc. Among the main innovations we expect to find, there are the latest European technology and new recipes, new ideas, etc.
Amr Tawfik, Commercial Manager, Arabian Stores Co. (Sarawat) (Arabia Saudita)
Attending makes the difference. I would like to see and feel the test of high-quality products. The exhibition, laid out according to product area, offers a complete range and focuses not only on traditional goods but also on emerging consumer trends and new market segments. It gives a chance to know the product innovation, market trends and training: more than 250 events allow buyers, visitors and exhibitors to learn about new products in the food beverage sector and benefit from training and information regarding hot topics in the sector. We will continue to talk with existing and new suppliers about their products, brand and the evolution of the sector, support innovation and influence change. Consolidate relations with suppliers and ideas. We will look for innovation that allows for the planning and development of B2B supply-demand meetings.
Tom Berger, Operations Manager, Cheese and Specialty Importer, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace (USA)
I feel it is important to have face to face contact when making and structuring deals rather than by online meeting. Online meetings are to quick to dismiss. This also lets you have a more personalized attention to detail, see product first hand and maybe tour a facility. I hope to find new dry goods for my other company I have, Italiana Import Connection. As to my expectations, I will know when I get there, hopefully it is reconnecting with my colleagues to make some great deals.
Besher Zarnaji, Managing Director, Valor International Trading (Qatar)
It will be much better and practical to meet the potential companies face to face during this exhibition, especially when we meet new companies and we need to have knowledge about these items and to build a business relationship with the decision makers. Concerning what we expect to find thanks to the simultaneous access to HostMilano, we are always looking for new solutions and trendy products can enhance our business and reach our product portfolio. The main innovations we expect to find are anything related to the food service market, food & beverages solutions, organic items, vending machines.
Marwan Al-Hamdani, F & B Division Manager, Al-Majid (Dubai)
Usually face to face meeting will add more value to proceed more faster in closing the deal specially if it’s come to the new business opportunity. That's why we do prefer to meet from time to time with our partners. We believe that again it deepens of the expiators and the size of business ( For example: We are interested in different categories such as commodities , dry and frozen. We do prefer to evaluate each opportuneness based on the meeting and based on the market requirements. We are sure that Italian companies have a strong knowledge and strong innovations that's why we are usually finding the strong partners and since more than one year and during to the current situations of Covid-19 we were not able to have a sold negotiations to agree on the suitable innovation.
K. K. Usman, Operations, 5 Group Trading (Qatar)
I Strongly believe that It is very important to attend an Exhibition physically to choose Products and suppliers. Virtual platforms will never help us to find good suppliers and suitable products for the local market. Making interaction with suppliers physically and directly will help us to know the quality of the products , their service, market support and Ex factory/FOB/C&F/CIF price. As I mentioned above, making direct interaction with suppliers in person to know more about the products and their capability in exporting goods is very important . We can see the products physically and of course it will help us to understand that those products will move in the local market or not.
“In the Sweets sector, however, there is a growing focus on healthier products”
Riccardo Bonuccelli, importer of Zona Sul, Brazil
In the Sweets sector, which I work in, a market that is showing a strong growth trend here in South America is that of chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa and more bitter flavours, which are very attractive to an adult public. With regard to younger consumers, and children in particular, demand continues to be oriented mainly towards sweeter tasting milk chocolates.
Also in the Sweets sector, however, there is a growing focus on healthier products with functional features, such as sugar-free or low-sugar products. Once again, this is a trend that concerns in particular products designed for more adult consumers, while products for children continue for the most part to have traditional formulations.
“There is a strong demand for Italian products and typical festive sweets”
Daniele Margheri, independent Food & Beverage broker
I am an independent Food & Beverage broker, I deal mainly in Sweets and I am active in particular in the Gulf countries and in the Middle East. They remain very dynamic markets although they too have obviously been affected by the pandemic, with rather severe lockdowns. Even here last year there was a boom in basics like flour and yeast, but we are seeing a gradual return to normal.
There is a strong demand for Italian products and typical festive sweets, such as panettone, pandoro and colombe. What’s new is that customers, even here, who until recently didn't care much about it, are starting to pay attention to the themes of naturalness, healthiness and sustainability. A special feature of these markets is that here the demand for sustainability is also translating into the demand for larger formats, in order to save not only on costs, but also on the amount of packaging used and the emissions associated with transport and logistics.
“For the foreseeable future, we plan to continue to expand all fresh categories”
Diana Velasquez, City Super Buyer, Hong Kong
Again, people spent more time indoors because of the pandemic and therefore had more time to cook. As a result, sales of fresh produce have increased considerably while less "healthy" goods such as packaged desserts have taken a back seat, with sales of these products not increasing but declining.
However, I wouldn't say that the focus on health foods and sustainability increased during the pandemic, because it was already very high in our market before the emergency started and the demand for such products was already very strong. For the foreseeable future, we plan to continue to expand all fresh categories, both by increasing volumes and by adding new items, and we also plan to add new items for ready meals, another product category that has been in high demand in the past few months at home.
“Consumers are demanding more frozen products”
Alessandra Rios, buyer at Tottus (Peru)
In 2021, we have noticed that consumers are demanding more frozen products and are more focused on healthy and wholesome foods. We intend to meet these new consumer needs by introducing more vegan and free-from products.
“Customers are more attentive to the healthiness, traceability, ingredients and origin of raw materials”
Rodolfo Foglietti, CEO of Piubio
Our chain is an independent organic chain operating in Rome with 4 specialised sales outlets and a distribution network serving various parts of Italy. From our perspective, in the year of the pandemic we noticed a certain but diverse contraction: the average receipt remained more or less the same, while the number of visitors fell. This suggests that those with the capacity to spend continue to shop in specialised shops, while those who have been financially affected by the emergency have turned to more price-based choices.
At the commodity level, we have seen growth especially in flour, eggs and meat, and we have seen a shift from fresh to packaged, but high-quality bread. Frozen food is also on the rise, with some well-known organic names coming on board. Wine is also good, especially wines without sulphites or particular grape varieties are sought.
“The pandemic has accelerated trends that were already underway, such as the growth of proximity stores, also with innovative formats”
Giovanni D'Alessandro - General Manager BASKO
A year has now passed since the start of the pandemic, so an initial assessment can be made. We have moved from emergency consumption in the beginning to more "reasonable" consumption in the later stages, looking again at convenience, also as a consequence of the spending limits that many families suffer. In some cases the frequency of visits has decreased and the range becomes a benchmark not only for proximity but also for positioning. In the POS we have seen a recovery in traditional and fresh products, with the exception of bread where we see a shift towards industrial breads and bread substitutes. Frozen food is also growing and spending is shifting from "out-of-home substitutes" such as frozen pizzas to more everyday products such as vegetables. Fruit and vegetables have been suffering a bit in recent months, but it seems more of a seasonal phenomenon. After the first emergency passed, the pressure of promotions is also returning.
“Sustainability is not a nice idea, but a path of concrete actions”
Interview with Adriano De Zordi – CEO Bennet
Since the beginning of the spread of Covid-19, Bennet has taken action with internal prevention and protection measures towards its staff and customers, in full compliance with the information issued by the Government, the Ministry of Health and in coordination with local authorities. All store employees were strongly urged to comply with the hygiene rules outlined as fundamental in the public information, such as frequent hand washing with sanitising products and the use of masks. The whole Bennet team, especially those who worked in the office, worked in smart-working mode. In addition, a separate insurance cover has been taken out in the event of illness due to Covid-19.
“More than a product aspect, sustainability seems to be perceived as a reputational aspect”
Giorgio Santambrogio, Chief Executive Officer of the VéGé Group
During this pandemic year, rather than trends, we have noticed phases. At first, we almost witnessed a "war economy" with bulk purchases of everyday, long-lasting products, such as dry semolina pasta, or easily used prepared products. When it became clear that the emergency was going to be prolonged but that products were still available in the supermarkets, we moved on to what I call the "home cook" phase, in which we moved from preparations to ingredients, such as flour, with the famous case of yeast, which had become almost unobtainable. In general, the quest for safety has affected the bulk product by favouring the packaged product, for example fruit in trays rather than to be weighed.
“The classic shopping lanes will be replaced by open squares”
Francesco Avanzini, General Manager of Conad
We believe that after the emergency the process of evolution of the formats that was already underway will resume. The classic shopping lanes will be replaced by open "squares" and the different ways of buying and enjoying food & drinks will blur into a continuum ranging from on-site consumption, in-store purchase, click & collect and delivery to digital commerce.