Feature: Sial - 50 years young
Published:  17 October, 2014

Sial is back in 2014 with a number of new developments, as well as a 50th anniversary to celebrate. 

Sial calls itself “the world’s biggest food market”, and with 6,000 exhibitors coming from 100 countries, 150,000 visitors from 200 countries, and 1,500 journalists coming to the Paris show, you can see why.

Birthday celebrations

Of course, Sial is now a worldwide network, with exhibitions also in Canada, Brazil, China, Abu Dhabi and the Philippines. However, it all started in Paris in 1964, and the group will be marking its birthday in style this year from 19-23 October at Paris Nord Villepinte.

Dorothée Gricourt, communication director of Sial Group, explains: “Included in the main on-site activities is the ‘50 years’ day, which in the late afternoon of Monday 20 October will provide a huge birthday party on the esplanade. On this occasion, Sial invites all of the exhibitors to join in this jubilee by offering visitors cocktails and events on their stands after 5.30pm. The evening will continue at 7pm with an enchanting show in the very heart of the fair, on the central esplanade.”

After first appearing at the 2012 event, Sial Off, a guide to help discover the best gastronomy in Paris, is back, with a special anniversary edition. Guests can explore restaurants, bars, food and drink tastings and food museums using specially negotiated exclusive offers. Gricourt adds: “Our wish? Making sure that the visitors’ stay reflects the image of this occasion... festive!”

The essence of Sial

Gricourt goes on to explain how the core values of Sial are the same as they were at the beginning, and these will be firmly on display at this year’s show. She breaks the essence of Sial down into three core areas: “The first is to propose a real export platform for our clients. The second relies on innovation, confirming our trend-watching and innovation spotting role. Innovation and Sial have been constant companions for the past 50 years. With its never-ending commitment to innovation, Sial has become the guidebook par excellence to trends in the food industry on a global scale. A ‘retro-prospective’, developed by Sial Paris in collaboration with XTC World Innovation, will be presented on the Sial Innovation area in Hall 6 during the show. Finally, the third promise is constantly evolving ambition: to become the world’s biggest international network. It makes a big difference to our clients. Our approach is to multiply commercial opportunities, sharing at the same time the fun involved, intimacy, within a common interest community.”

Meaty options

Sial Paris offers plenty to meat businesses. In 2012, 225 exhibitors displayed meat and, of these, 86% were international companies with 56 countries represented. This year, meat will be the sector most represented at the show. Gricourt says: “Sial Paris is the best place to meet the meat industry.”

Sial says it offers an exhaustive array of meat of all types – beef, lamb, mutton, pork, veal and horse, and cured meat businesses are also being encouraged to take part. At Sial 2012, 223 exhibitors displayed cured and salted meats, 82% of which were international companies, with 22 countries represented. France, Italy and Spain were top exhibitor countries, and 193 contacts were welcomed on each stand on average, 56% of whom were new contacts.

More than 110 exhibitors displayed poultry at Sial 2012; 67% were international companies and 22 countries were represented. France, Belgium and Poland were the top exhibitor countries.

Innovation opportunity

Meat businesses are being encouraged to promote their products through Sial Innovation, described as a “global observatory of food innovation that reveals current food trends”. The event reveals exhibitors’ most innovative products and provides them with international media coverage. Previous meat products given exposure through Sial Innovation include slow-cooked gammon shanks from Sainsbury’s, a meat sushi assortment ready to eat, by Sva Jean Rozé in France, and sliced chorizo in cider by Spanish company Exnor

Quality Foods.

Sial says its Innovation event, which is free to register for, “provides exhibitors with a springboard to communicate on their new products and offers visitors an exceptional showcase of food trends and innovations spanning the world”.

Awards are given to a selection of innovative products, chosen by the grand jury, to be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday 20 October 2014 at 4pm.

A major new element

New to Sial 2014 is the ‘Equipment, Technology and Services’ sector, which used to be a separate fair. Chantal de Lamotte, Sial Group deputy commercial director, says the new addition “is now an integral part of Sial”, adding that “this is a real opening, in terms of B2B contacts and opportunities, making it possible to better link equipment and technological developments closely related to the agribusiness market. Sial, therefore, covers the whole sector: from the process to the finished product”.

Nicolas Trentesaux, Sial group director, adds: “We have created an edition that is more ambitious and more complete, as it integrates ‘Equipment, Technologies and Services’. Professionals in the sector have decided to enjoy the specialised business we can bring them, and we have met their expectations.”

World Tour

World Tour by Sial will take visitors on “a global tour of the major trends in food consumption”. A “unique agrifood map” will be created by expert journalists from 28 magazine titles from around the world.

There will be an exhibition area of over 500m2 with in-store photographs and outlooks, which Sial says will provide a window on market and consumption trends across five continents and the 28 main markets worldwide.

Sial says: “World Tour will help you to understand the specific characteristics of the food market by geographic area, discover the best-selling products and obtain all the information required to define your export strategy.”

Foodies conference

The FOODIES 2.0 debate on 20 October at Sial will look into how brands can develop internationally by using social media.

Sopexa Group’s Digital Factory is organising the event. It sees addressing social media as important, since “71% of consumers in the USA say that they are more inclined to make a purchase if the item has been recommended on social networks”, while “29.5% percent of the most popular pins on Pinterest come from the food and drink category, according to data directory Repinly”.

Experts from the leaders of global social media will take part in panel discussions. Emmanuel Marill from Facebook, Stan Massueras from Twitter, Stephanie Tramicheck from Pinterest and Chen Shen from Sina Weibo will discuss target markets, social media and export, brand content and the blogosphere, as well as social media strategy in overseas markets. Food brand marketers and a Chinese, a Spanish and an American blogger will also take part.

“Constantly seeking new experiences and new tastes. Foodies, by definition, have a spontaneous desire to share with others. They are opinion leaders, influencers. Today’s challenge for brands and products is to capture their attention and convince them to recommend the products,” explains Charles Collard, marketing director of Sopexa.