The 41st edition of HostMilano, the biennial on the HoReCa sector organized by Fiera Milano, took place from 18 to 22 October. The event chalked up growing numbers with respect to 2017, surpassing the impressive level of 200,000 visitors bent on discovering new developments presented by 2249 exhibitors, including 889 from abroad representing 55 countries (Albania, Argentina, Colombia, Latvia and Lebanon were on hand for the first time).
HostMilano 2019 was divided into sectors, such as Professional Restaurant, Bakery-Pizza-Pasta, Ice Cream/Pastry, Coffee/Tea, Bar/Coffee Machines/Vending, Furnishings, Tableware, Technology. IFDM interviewed Simona Greco, Group Exhibition Director of Fiera Milano, to discuss various themes regarding the event.
What were the new features this year, and how did visitors react to them?
The growth in the number of visitors beyond the (also psychological) threshold of 200,000 demonstrates the constant evolution of HostMilano, which adds new facets with every edition on a consolidated but flexible formula based on macro-areas, to make the various areas of hospitality interact. The new events met with success, and the macro-area on Tableware was the star of the show, with a stronger focus this year on design and trends.
How are technology and sustainability – the main themes of this edition – inserted in the HoReCa universe?
Already for many years now, hospitality has focused on energy savings, joined more recently by other sustainability factors. At Host 2019 we saw coffee machines with innovative solutions to prevent heat dispersal, or with standby functions that change depending on schedules, and new compostable packaging. In the layouts, there were recyclable materials, natural coatings, structures for easy disassembly, to be reutilized or more easily disposed of at the end of their life cycle.
How has the way of approaching the global hospitality market on the part of Italian companies changed over the years?
Starting in 2008, Italian companies have radically rebalanced their revenue mix towards exports, and today there are sectors like those of machines and systems for the pastry sector where exports account for over 90%. To achieve this result the companies have had to restructure, modifying processes, focusing on innovation and implementing new marketing strategies to effectively respond to the needs of very different markets.
The SMART Label Host Innovation Award, a competition organized in collaboration with POLI.Design, always attracts a lot of interest: what is the role and the importance of design in the world of hospitality?
Design plays a very important role, not just for furnishings and complements, but also to an increasingly extent for machines and packaging. It is a distinctive feature of Made in Italy and one of the reasons behind its success. The award demonstrates how technological innovation combines with sustainability, ergonomics and design, assigning 47 SMART Labels, 6 Innovation SMART Labels, 3 Green SMART Labels and 5 Special Mentions by Iginio Massari.
Italian companies, but also an increasingly international range. Which countries stood out this year?
The number of exhibitors grew by 3.8% over 2017, reaching 2249, of which 889 from abroad, from 55 countries. The other major exporter in this sector, along with Italy, is Germany, with an increase of 7%; we saw double-digit growth for countries like the USA (+20%), Belgium (+20%), Greece (+23%) and the UK (+12%). The top 5 countries taking part were Germany, Spain, France, USA and Turkey. New entries included Albania, Argentina, Colombia, Latvia and Lebanon.
The 2019 edition chalked up growing numbers with respect to 2017; what are the objects for the 42nd edition?
The 41st closed with burgeoning numbers: over 200,000 visitors, up +8% as compared to 2017, of which 40% were international visitors from 171 countries, especially Europe, USA, China, Middle and Far East. Among the buyers, the markets with the highest numbers were USA, Russia, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Business meetings organized reached the level of 12,956. For the next edition, our aim is to boost these numbers even further.