Exciting show floor in store for Fine Food Australia 2019!
This year the largest food trade event in the Southern Hemisphere is celebrating its 35th birthday. Fine Food Australia, to be held at the ICC Darling Harbour Sydney from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 September, has long been the ‘go-to’ event for the food industry – thanks in no small part to its constant reinvention, which ensures that every year visitors find something new and exciting to capture their attention.
“Currently our visitation rate is around the 23,000 mark, which is huge for a trade show,” says Fine Food Australia’s Event Director Minnie Constan.
“We partner with research organisations and conduct our own surveys to understand the challenges the industry is facing. We use these to create our educational content and exhibitor mix on the show floor, which means we’re always up to date and focusing on the needs of our audience.
“For example, years ago bakery and patisserie wasn’t such a big sector of the show but with today’s re-emergence of the high street baker, we’re finding a lot of patissiers and bakers are coming to the show, and we have to be on top of the trends that affect them and ensure we have the latest show content around bakery. Consequently a few years ago we introduced the Innovations in Patisserie stage presented by Callebaut, which is running strong year to year with innovative equipment by Van Rooy, and features leading pastry chefs conducting masterclasses on all things relating to patisserie and bakery.”
With eight stages, 50+ free demonstrations and 40+ free masterclasses, Fine Food Australia is overflowing with new ideas for any food business, with ingredients, equipment and techniques to take straight from the show floor to your venue. The event covers the latest in food and specialty tastes, healthy living, bakery equipment and ingredients, packaging, catering and hospitality equipment, international food, drinks and retail technology.
New to the show this year is the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) Innovations in Kitchen stage which is being supported by the NSW Government. “Through our research we realised that chefs and owner-operators want two completely different things when they attend an event like ours,” Minnie explains. “The chef wants to be inspired, to learn about new techniques and new ingredients on the market. The business owner, on the other hand, is focused on how to create an efficient working kitchen and how to improve margins. So this new stage has been created to fulfil both functions – it will show off the latest innovations and ingredients, along with the most efficient equipment an owner can use in their kitchen.”
Another new feature is the Talking Shop Stage presented by Freedom Foods, which is also Fine Food Australia’s 2019 Platinum Partner. It provides the opportunity to hear from industry greats as well as start-ups on how to take your business to the next level, what trends are worth implementing and most importantly, what you can learn from others through their food journeys. Food professionals from all backgrounds will share their knowledge, experiences and insights into business in 2019 and beyond.
Fine Food 2019 will also host the MONIN Coffee Chain Challenge. “Cafes and coffee are extremely important to the Australian foodservice sector,” Minnie tells us, “so we have partnered with ASCA, the Australian Specialty Coffee Association, to deliver a stage where baristas from multi-site businesses will create the perfect coffee based on time, presentation and taste.”
The Talking Trends stage presented by NCR Silver and powered by Food Industry Foresight is another new feature of this year’s show. “This will showcase all the international trends impacting the industry and will be an absolutely must-attend event for anyone who wants to reinvigorate their business and keep a step ahead. We will also be live-streaming trends from other parts of the world – we’ll have experts speaking from the US, UK, Canada and so on about what’s happening in their markets. And this will be running for the whole four days of the show.”
Fine Food Australia is partnering with Bernadette Dutton, Director and Principal of Loqui Speech Pathology, to present Dining with Dignity: Advances in Texture Modified Foods, a half-day education session on the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). “Concerns have been growing about the quality of food in our aged care facilities, so this practical workshop, demonstration and networking session is designed to help everyone understand and implement the new classification used across all foodservice industries supporting aged care, community and hospitality groups. Tickets are now available, with all the proceeds raised going directly back into aged care facilities via the Maggie Beer Foundation.”
Another charity event running as part of the show is the sixth edition of the Women in Foodservice Charity Brunch, which is attracting a larger audience every year. The facilitator for the 2019 event will be Jill Dupleix, founding editor of Truth Love & Clean Cutlery who has become an icon in the Australian food industry. This year’s speakers include Kylie Javier Ashton, Kate Gibbs, Jacqui Challinor and Janelle Bloom. “This impressive line-up of panellists will be talking about the unlimited potential that the foodservice industry offers women and how they’ve pursued their careers – it’s all about inspiration and aspiration,” Minnie says. “These women have inspiring stories to tell and tickets for the event are available now on Eventbrite.”
Other ‘old favourites’ returning for this year’s show include the Australian Culinary Federation’s Culinary Challenge – “one of this year’s participants will also be representing Australia in Russia in August at the World Championships, he started competing in Fine Food two years ago and knocked out 4000 other chefs,” Minnie tells us. “We also have the Bake Skills and the Official Great Aussie Pie Competitions which always attract big crowds. The Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Competition is also a great favourite as it consistently attracts the best and brightest young chefs – it’s not an easy win, but an arduous process for them to get to this point, and the winner will be announced on the Wednesday after the show.”
Fine Food Australia is now so big that this year’s show will take up the entire ICC Sydney – “there are more than 1000 exhibitors and thousands of brands under one roof, so there’s not going to be one square metre that’s not taken up by someone from the food ecosystem,” Minnie confirms. “We are even at work creating ‘activations’ in the foyers as well – so as you soon as you walk into the ICC, you’ll see masterclasses by leading chefs to start your Fine Food journey and a live streaming theatre showing what’s going on across both levels of the show floor.”