The 17th edition of TAVOLA, the trade fair for fine foods and fresh products is now behind us. And we can say with some pride that this 2014 edition was a great success: in initial evaluations, exhibitors have reported that they made an impressive number of high-quality business contacts that far surpassed their expectations. In addition to the traditional visitors from the Benelux, we saw a remarkable increase in the number of international visitors, a factor that was very much appreciated by the exhibitors. Enthusiastic reactions therefore as this extremely elegant and professional event came to a close. It is rightfully described as one of the most beautiful European food trade fairs.
A rich range of products
This 17th edition of TAVOLA was looking extremely promising right from the very start. Thanks to an extremely strict and selective screening of exhibitors and products, it became clear right at the very beginning that the 2014 edition was setting its sights very high that we would see some exceptional results. An impressive 415 companies from 16 different countries guaranteed a very rich and representative range of products. A large number of new companies in particular, 138 in fact, had taken the decision to showcase small, but almost exclusively very fine, superior products. A factor that resulted in an even greater diversity in the assortment of product s of course and made the mix between market leaders and artisan manufacturers even more attractive. The grouped pavilions were also strongly represented again with the very striking French pavilion of Ubifrance, the Gourmet Transfrontalier village with companies from Belgium and North France, the Apaq-W group stand under the slogan ‘lekker Waals’(Deliciously Walloon), Board Bia – the Irish Food Board, 2 Seas Trade with specialised companies from the United Kingdom and delegations from Croatia and Poland. The national and international companies all clearly consider Tavola to be an ideal platform for launching their products throughout Europe.
In terms of surface area the trade fair was the same size as previous editions: in economically challenging times exhibitors prefer to choose for a smaller surface area and in spite of the limited amount of space, they are courageous enough sometimes to go as far as focusing on showcasing a selective number of (new) products. However, when all is said and done, these decisions actually contribute to the impact that the showcased products make on visitors to the fair. One trend that receives the full enthusiasm of the organisers is the focus on the importance of the quality of the product presentations rather than the quantity. The new mini stands for instance in two specially dedicated ‘artisan aisles’ in halls 4 and 5 were particularly popular. But of course what makes the fair exciting and fascinating is the alternating presence of these small exhibitors with the strong product presentations by market leaders in the different food sectors. These market leaders present and test a wide range of innovative products that have been designed in response to social trends and for which they find a very clear platform at Tavola.
Strictly professional visitor profile
In spite of a shrinking target group, TAVOLA was yet again successful in 2014 in bringing together the crème de la crème of the food sector during this important meeting platform. And again we are proud to say that the organisers did not focus on trying to obtain an increase in the number of visitors, but on bringing together the purchasers from the whole of the retail, wholesale and trading and foodservice sectors. In keeping with tradition we focused on inviting a range of visitors from small artisan manufacturers in the retail chain to major purchasing companies. In other words, the whole spectrum from butchers/caterers, dairy, delicatessen and retail trade to purchasers in the wholesale industry. The purchasers from the wholesale industry as well as those in the wholesale trade and foodservice sectors are turning up from an increasingly wide range of countries with each edition. So, no great big numbers, but the carefully selected people who were chosen to receive the special invitation from the organisers to visit the fair. And in fact we have seen a strong increase in the presence from the Netherlands and France for the second time in a row.
Allow us to present a few statistics relating to the visitors: Sunday 6,962 visitors / Monday 5,847 visitors, Tuesday 3,924 visitors making for a total of 16,733 visitors, which is a slight decrease of 3% compared to the previous edition. However, as organisers of TAVOLA we are not so very concerned about the numbers in themselves, but we find it more important to point out that from the very first opening minutes on Sunday a wide range of different categories of product managers were present scouting out new products or companies that they could then offer on an exclusive basis via their different chains.
Detailed information was provided about the different fringe events in the preview reports. As is its usual tradition, the FEVIA & BIOFORUM VLAANDEREN export event drew a great deal of interest. The Food Business Meetings of ENTREPRISE EUROPE NETWORK were the source of more than 700 national and international appointments. And of course, THE fringe event of the fair the aim of which is promote innovation in the food sector – THE GOLDEN TAVOLA – produced a stunning range of winners again:
- Golden Tavola Retail 2014: Regendruppels by the company Enrico
- Golden Tavola Catering 2014: Cheese Bread by the company R&D Revolution
- Golden Tavola Foodservice 2014: Tasty Bites by the company R&D REvolution
- Golden Tavola Delicatessen 2014: Diamond Collection/Elements by the companies Deleye & Didess and co-inspired by Roger Vandamme
The GOLDEN TAVOLA was conceived to enable the organisers to show their appreciation of the efforts of manufactures to continue innovating and developing new and exciting products in the food sector. The presentation of the GOLDEN TAVOLA award was attended by a great many people and made by the Mayor of Kortrijk, Mr Vincent Van Quickenborne during a specially organised breakfast meeting on Monday 17 March at the trade fair. Professional visitors were able to vote for the ‘public prize’ at the GOLDEN TAVOLA stand choosing from the proposed winners and nominated products. They chose EDIKS by EDIKS van MARGA VUGS, a type of vinegar with reduced acetic acid.
An additional note from the organisers
We would like to announce a different type of fringe event. During the weeks preceding Tavola, Patricia Huygelier, who has been the Exhibition Manager of the fair for a great many years, gave birth to a beautiful daughter called Juliette. Kortrijk Xpo would like to thank her for all the efforts she made to ensure the impeccable preparation for Tavola right up until the very last moment. We would also like to thank her team of colleagues who replaced her brilliantly ensuring that everything on the ground was organised to perfection. Little Juliette will no doubt become a real foodie with Tavola in the background.
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