Despite the tough times we are going through, the Alimentaria trade fair, held in Barcelona from 26 to 29 March, once again proved to be an exceptional mirror of the vitality of the Catalan food sector. Although it was one day shorter than on previous occasions, the fair drew over 142,000 visitors, 1.4% more than in 2010, and assembled a significant number of professionals from abroad (29% of total attendees).
Alimentaria is a fantastic showcase and one which Mercabarna decided to take part in again, with an impressive institutional stand in the Autonomous Regions Pavilion. Under the slogan “Mercabarna: Connect with the Future”, the market presented two of the projects it is promoting together with other institutions to boost food-sector competitiveness: the Barcelona Food Cluster Association and the Barcelona Food Platform. The space became a meeting point for numerous food-related institutions and professionals where they could learn more about the initiatives or establish possible trade contacts.
Mercabarna also had the chance to promote the Barcelona Food Cluster Association with a presentation at Foodexperience, a space for gastronomic workshops and conferences located in the Restaurama hall.
Innovations in products and services
As on other occasions, some of the Mercabarna businesses took advantage of attendance at the fair to promote their latest products. Fruit and vegetable firm Colofruit presented a variety of lettuce sold with the root intact and which can last for up to three weeks. Morales e hijos had fried green bananas designed to be consumed as if they were crisps.
Other companies promoted new formats that can extend fresh-produce shelf life to facilitate consumption among restaurant professionals and domestic consumers alike.For example, mushroom specialists Laumont presented a new line of fresh mushrooms sold on trays. Frigoríficos Ferrer also presented a new range of packaged products, in this case tuna cut in different formats and packaged in a controlled atmosphere to keep longer. Meat sector firms Sucarn and Productos del 5è 4t promoted their new lines of ready-made, meat-based dishes.
Other Mercabarna businesses focused on promoting new services they offer customers, such as transport company Petit Forestier, which presented a series of new cooling furniture and containers, and Makro, which promoted the restaurant delivery service it began nearly a year ago.
A number of Food Unit businesses including Drominia, Carns B, Carns Catalana-Pallejà and distribution firm Miquel Alimentació also had a stand at the fair to promote their wares and services.
From Catalogue to Plate
Companies are increasingly opting to promote their product range through culinary demonstrations. Compañía General Carnia arranged for chef Montse Estruch to show how to make interesting meat-based dishes at very affordable prices. Schara used a similar format to demonstrate to visitors the number of original and healthy dishes that can be made using sausages. Fruit and vegetable firm Cultivar held a workshop and sampling event at the Foodexperience space that featured the wide range of exotic products it sells.