15 April 2016

FHA2016 closes on high note

The region’s premier trade event for Asia’s food and hospitality industry, Food&HotelAsia2016 (FHA2016), has closed on an upbeat note.

Source: Singapore Exhibition Services. The showfloor at FHA2016.
Source: Singapore Exhibition Services. The showfloor at FHA2016.
"As consumer needs evolve, so do the expectations of our buyers. Innovative ideas are more critical than ever in meeting changing consumer demands. We are heartened and pleased that FHA has continued to be the platform for exhibitors to showcase new and innovative products and is the chosen sourcing ground for many international buyers. Its relevance to the food and hospitality industries remains as vital and effective today as ever,” said Lindy Wee, Chief Executive of Singapore Exhibition Services.

FHA showcases ranged from food ingredients and products to food service equipment, hotel amenities and software solutions. The tradeshow gathered 72,000 attendees, 45% from overseas.

It got steadily more crowded as the day wore on at FoodAsia 2016.
It got steadily more crowded as the day wore on at FoodAsia2016.

A hub for launches, leads and deals

FHA2016 commanded rewarding leads and deals for exhibitors and participants, with negotiations expected to continue post-event. One of the quickest deals ever struck at FHA, less than an hour after the event’s opening, was between Dutch hotel room equipment maker, Bentley Europe BV, and Singapore buyer Hunwin Enterprises for a sensor-operated hair dryer that premiered at the event.

At the opening ceremony, a memorandum of understanding was inked between the Singapore Manufacturing Federation and the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association with the Federation of Indian Food Importers, signalling the commitment to expand Singapore's presence in the Indian market. Under the agreement, the three parties will collaborate to promote information exchange, form strategic business alliances, and organise mutually beneficial activities such as trade and study missions and joint promotions.

Source: Tan Seng Kee Foods (TSK). TSK is known for its KangKang (康康) fresh, preservative-free shelf-stable noodle range.
Source: Tan Seng Kee Foods (TSK). TSK is known for its Kang Kang (康康) fresh, preservative-free shelf-stable noodle range. The company is launching Express Meal Kits, which incorporate its noodles together with sauces for laksa, curry mee and the non-spicy prawn mee. All products are halal and have a shelf life of a month. 

Tan Seng Kee Foods rolled out its Kang Kang (康康) Express Meal Kit at the show. The halal kits incorporate fresh, pasteurised noodles and spice pastes for quick meals. The preservative-free products have a shelf life of 30 days in ambient conditions, and can last for up to six months if chilled. A QR code on the packaging leads to a video with preparation instructions.

Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream, a super-premium, an all-natural ice cream manufacturer, launched its an ice cream loaded with six strains of probiotics.

“After months of research, we have launched what we believe is a world first: a super-premium ice cream that is almost the perfect probiotic delivery system,” said Angus Murray, CEO of the US-based Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream. "We also have reduced the amount of sugar used, and replaced it with an organic inulin which is a sweetener and a prebiotic – a beneficial fibre for the probiotics.” 

“Launching at FHA in Singapore makes perfect sense – the region of the world known for leading dietary trends and early uptake of new ideas,” added Thomas Scruby, Foxy’s Commercial Director – Asia.

The Japan Pavilion, led by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Singapore, returned this year with an even greater number of exhibitors and space than the 2014 edition. Masaya Hasebe, Managing Director commented, “JETRO is participating in FHA for the fifth time this year with 79 exhibitors in our pavilion, a 70% increase compared with the previous edition, as part of our continued efforts in supporting overseas business expansion activities of Japanese SMEs.

“We have been receiving positive feedback from our exhibitors who see FHA as a one-stop platform to reach out to international trade buyers and understand the latest market trends and consumer needs. We anticipate a growing interest in the next edition of FHA among Japanese food-related companies since it is one of the biggest food shows in this region. We look forward to having an expanded presence in 2018.”

Agilysys, a US-based software solutions company, is eyeing new opportunities in the region. According to Daniel Lee, Regional Director, Sales & Distribution, APAC & MEA, the hospitality industry is becoming a significant contributor to Agilysys’ business. “We are at Food&HotelAsia because this is where the region’s hotel owners and hoteliers converge. They visit to see and get information on solutions that can help their business. This is a very good showcase for us. We are happy for the opportunity to build awareness for our solutions and brand. Hotel chains are aggressively expanding in the region, and they need solutions like ours,” he said.

Interest from the region

Trade buyers from across all sectors of the food and hospitality industries are pleased with FHA.  “As a gluten-free establishment, it is not easy for us to find local suppliers of such products. This is the second time I am visiting FHA because it gives me the opportunity to source for gluten-free products from international suppliers. FHA has a fine selection of gluten-free products from a wide range of suppliers, which is very beneficial and useful for us,” said Agnetta Lew, owner of a gluten-free cafe in Singapore, Jonathan’s. Lew further observed that there were more gluten-free suppliers and a better variety of such products available at the show this year.

The variety of food at FHA included Nature's Superfoods, which has been introducing Andean superfoods to Singapore since 2010. The company offers superfoods such as chia and quinoa, as well as products made from Criollo cacao and maca, camu-camu berry, maqui berry and moringa leaves.

The Filipino contingent focused on coconut-based virgin coconut oil, sugar, syrup, water, milk, flour and vinegar through exhibitors Cocowild, Monde Nu Agri, Prosource, and Region 12 (also called SoCCSkargen in Cenrtal Mindanao) were there to highlight the coconut's benefits. Coconut products are one of the Philippines' top 10 exports. The FoodPhilippines booth also featured organic sap sugar, rice, sweeteners, fresh produce, seafood, snacks and fruit juice among others. Philippines is a major exporter of raw ingredients, seafood and fresh produce to the US, China, Japan, Korea, UAE and Singapore.

A knowledge-sharing arena

From destination investment opportunities to F&B design, hospitality technology, food manufacturing and bakery, the FHA2016 International Conference covered a wide spectrum of topics ranging from new strategies, to challenges and issues impacting the food and hospitality businesses.

"The conference, especially the masterclass on bakery trends, is very informative. We were made to understand the present trends in bakery products. The latest innovations being discussed would surely help to boost sales, especially the story-telling way of inspiring our customers to be curious to buy the products. Insights on global preferences also made us aware of future products to be displayed in our stores,” commented Zenaida Gonzales, Owner of Michell’s Cakes & Pasteries and Stregato Gelateria, Philippines.

Talent development platform

The FHA Culinary Challenge saw a mix of young and established chefs from around the world gather to compete in various challenges, such as the Gourmet Team Challenge won by Team Taiwan; the Individual Challenge where Marina Mandarin Singapore took home the trophy, while Raffles Hotel Singapore won the new Sweet High Tea Challenge. Over at SpecialityCoffee&Tea, attendees were drawn to the high-octane FHA Barista Challenge and new CTI Latte Art Duel, where Sam Tan Sze Yuin from Malaysia’s Discover Coffee and Wong Stephen Cullamat from Singapore’s Park Hotel Alexandra emerged as champions respectively.

Team Singapore is the champion for Asia’s largest live pastry competition, the Asian Pastry Cup. The Asia Pacific selections of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or, saw nine national teams battle it out for places in the finals in France. Japan won this year.

2018 edition to be even more relevant

The next edition of FHA will return from 24 to 27 April 2018. With overwhelming demand for booth space, FHA in 2018 promises to be an even grander affair. The event will spill over from Singapore Expo to Suntec Singapore. This enables FHA to become at least 20% bigger, organisers said.

Signs at Singapore Expo invited delegates to visit again in 2018.
Signs at Singapore Expo invited delegates to visit again in 2018.