Tuttofood: Exhibition To Give Italy A Place Of Honour in Trade Fair

A clearly, exclusively b2b exhibition, a business platform of international merit for Italy's food industry: these are the guidelines for TUTTOFOOD, Milan World Food Exhibition, which will be holding its second edition from 10 to 13 June at fieramilano (Halls 13/15 and 22/24). An exhibition that is developing along strategic lines that see the Italian food industry among one of the most interesting in the world legitimately aspiring to international visibility where it can confront strong, important national industries such as those of France or Germany on equal terms; however, today these have much bigger trade fairs with greater pulling power at their disposal.

These high expectations explain why right from this second edition, TUTTOFOOD will be increasing exhibition space by more than 20% and putting more focus through conferences and targeted events on those aspects that really count, such the search for quality niche products, the protection and development of traditions and, naturally, special emphasis on the two key sectors of Italian food, meat and dairy products, which were the "heart" of TUTTOFOOD's debut in 2007.

The calendar of events starts with three competitions, Shop window for innovative products, Shop window for niche products and the TUTTOFOOD Cheese Award, all arising from a common necessity the market's need for new products. Even if everyone likes to remember food as it was "in the good old days", the truth is plain to see ways of producing and selling food products change because as society evolves, ways of eating change.

Talking of cheese, there's the problem of promotion. In Italy we have so many excellences that are, however, little known. We have hundreds of products that differ in taste, consistency, cost and ways to eat. Historically it is the task of specialist fairs to spread a general "taste" culture and educate distributors so that products which find the appropriate, "convinced" marketing channels will also find the way to end up in consumers' homes.

The cheeses that won the TUTTOFOOD 2007 Cheese Award are today on sale in the USA even though they are produced by very small companies, which without the exhibition would never have been able to aspire to such a vast, distant market. This is also why the Cheese Award with an expert jury of distributors, journalists and importers will once more be one of TUTTOFOOD's central elements; a valuable occasion for "quality small enterprises" to put themselves in the spotlight.

In terms of organization, TUTTOFOOD 2009 will repeat the formula of its successful debut, based on large areas for each sector Meat and Cured Meats, Cheeses, Combined Products, Beverages and Frozen Food as well as a hall devoted to an international presence. An exhibition of industrial production, it only excludes fresh produce, unless they are cleaned, ready to use fruit and vegetables.

TUTTOFOOD is gaining significant international visibility; one only has to think of the high degree of participation, for the first time in Europe, of meats from the USA, the South American (Argentina, Brazil) collectives and the agreements just signed with Japan, a country rich in food traditions and individual skills and highly appreciative of Italy and its food. Also of great significance is the agreement between TUTTOFOOD and Fancy Food, which has resulted in an exchange of visits between the Italian and American exhibitions and two interesting meetings to be held during the fair to examine the topics of information, labelling and liberalization, as well as a more general exchange on the respective food cultures.

During the exhibition an all-round assessment will be carried out on the chances of Italian products to find increasing success in a market as vast and difficult as the USA, and also an assessment of the opportunities given to US buyers to work with Italian companies. Support on the part of the institutions is also considerable, with a high level of participation by Italy's great food-producing regions.

TUTTOFOOD's strategic aim is to make the event increasingly professional; to achieve this it has created an easy access system (early registration online which generates barcodes exchangeable at reception for entry passes). Once the exhibition is over, this will provide a valuable database with a precise, credible picture of the market of practical use to exhibitors. The ideal that the exhibition is aiming at is to eventually admit only pre-registered visitors in order to be able to organize highly professional visits and targeted meetings between buyers and producers.

In any event, services offered to visitors and exhibitors are very innovative, starting with the reductions for travel for visitors (TUTTOFOOD was the first exhibition in Italy to give visitors free underground tickets), and then there's the digital catalogue sold on a USB memory stick (visitors will in any case be provided with a free Pocket Guide to the exhibition). Targeted markeing initiatives, with invitations to buyers issued at the request of exhibitors, are planned to maximize the number of attendances and at the same time, the commercial value of these contacts. The organization even offers the more important buyers air tickets and hotel accommodation.

How will things go for a "strictly professional" exhibition like TUTTOFOOD in difficult times for consumption like the present? In reality, not as badly as it would appear. It is exactly in times when people spend more prudently that attention to the quality of what we eat increases, with an eye on product labels and a strong desire to "see clearly". Ways of eating are also changing, and so in partnership with FIPE (Italian Federation of Restaurants and Catering), a great deal of focus will be put on "eating out".

Social-demographics are also changing for example the number of single people is on the increase so food has to adapt with regard to format, portions and preservation techniques. This all results in new products or the relaunch of some that seemed to have fallen from favour; take the case of yoghurt, cold cuts or bread substitutes, all new products that meet new consumer needs and invite purchase. All products, innovative ideas and suggestions that will find the ideal shop window for their new position on the international market at TUTTOFOOD.

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