Industry Partners

‘Own the Change,’ Say SIAL Organizers

2020 Paris trade fair to explore how the food industry can thrive in crisis
SIAL Paris show floor
Photograph courtesy of SIAL

“How will we feed the world’s population in 2050?” It’s an essential question that organizers of 2020 SIAL Paris, the International Food Trade Fair, plan to address at its in-person event from Oct. 18-22, 2020.

The unifying theme for this year’s SIAL is #Own the Change, which further invites food industry players to examine their actions and initiatives in facing change while also exploring how food businesses can develop and adapt when disaster strikes.

To be held at Parc des Exposition Villepinte in Paris, this year’s SIAL will include the Alternative Food Forum, featuring talks by industry experts to discuss the need for what organizers call “frugal innovation.” The forum will explore five major changes, including nutritional, geopolitical, sourcing, technological and food access.

“Food retailers and grocers are seeing increasing demand, but they are also encountering difficulties in their supply chains,” say SIAL organizers. “They must address consumers seeking reassurance and turning to foods that are reputed as healthy, such as immunity boosters (citrus juices and fruits), probiotics and organic foods.

“To rise to this challenge, companies in this sector are innovating in ‘frugal’ ways. This means unlearning the concept of innovation as it has been understood until 2020, and taking into account the following three rules:

  1. Simplify as much as possible: Move toward natural products and common sense.
  2. Make use of local resources: Raw materials, skills, workshops and so on.
  3. Relocate to be as close as possible to consumers: To adapt to current events, and to deter the consumer mistrust of prepared dishes delivered to their doors during this confinement period, companies such as UberEats, Deliveroo and even La Poste are offering no-contact delivery, and especially fresh, local food."

Technology Meets the Kitchen Table

SIAL will also provide opportunities to explore new technologies. “During this period of confinement, the kitchen has become a refuge,” say organizers. “An opportunity to step back and take a closer look at what we are eating and the impact it has on the environment.”

Applications such as ScanUp enable users to co-create products with industrials, while solutions such as Olio, FoodCloud, Too Good To Go and Farmdrop seek to combat food waste. What’s more, 3D printers offer additional culinary possibilities during confinement. Consumers can create their own cooking utensils, ice cube trays, bottle openers and cake pans at home.

SIAL plans to delve into these leading-edge technologies reshaping the food industry and much more.

Hopeful the Show Will Go On

As of today, SIAL is still planning for an in-person trade fair in October. “While questions are understandably being asked as to whether we will be able to meet up in several months’ time, we wish to remain resolutely optimistic and mobilized to offer our companies the export springboard they so badly need to rekindle their business,” said SIAL organizers in a release. “The uncertainties that are still hanging over us today should gradually lift at the same pace as lockdown is loosened. The French government has already given the go-ahead for the resumption of events from early September.”

SIAL organizers have said they are preparing for a range of different public health scenarios, as well as studying a variety of measures, including the technical management of human traffic flow, temperature-taking at entry points, mask wearing, regular hand washing, disinfection and ventilation of spaces, and badge digitizing.

Organizers have pledged to keep attendees and exhibitors regularly informed, with the aim of presenting a complete event schedule by mid-July.

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