The future of food: Hispack and FoodTech fairs kick off in Barcelona
Latest innovations in packaging and cuisine include robot chefs and augmented reality
In 2017, Barcelona was world leader in the number of congresses held in the city, taking the crown from Paris. According to a ranking by the International Congress and Convention Association, the Catalan capital hosted 195 international events last year. And although some of the bigger events, such as the Mobile World Congress, which is at the forefront of the technological world, it also hosts many lesser known events.
Although they may not be as famous on an international level, these congresses still showcase interesting innovations, bringing in the crowds, especially those with a penchant for whatever particular sector is protagonist.
Two such events are Hispack and FoodTech, separate fairs that have joined forces and are being held simultaneously at the Fira de Barcelona, opening their doors to the public on Tuesday.
A platform for the packaging and food industry, the fourth edition of the Hispack and FoodTech fair has brought together 1,100 exhibitors from 30 countries in a 55,000 square metre space. And expectations are high for this year's event. Visitor numbers are expected to exceed the 38,000 people of the last fair held in 2015.
Futuristic food technologies
Some of the main themes at this year’s fair are sustainability, food safety, digitization, and autonomy. Industry 4.0, the so-called fourth industrial revolution also played a role.
Also being showcased at this years Hispack and FoodTech fair are biodegradable packaging, as well as intelligent of interactive containers that incorporate augmented reality connected to mobile applications informing consumers of certain allergens that the product might contain.
Products catering to the ever-growing need to recycle were also on display. As was the case for a type of packaging created by the Technological Institute of Packaging, Transport, and Logistics (ITENE,) which presented a type of packing that can “be recycled 100%” according to representative Mercedes Ortal.
ITENE also revealed a type of “smart tagging.” The label changes colour to indicate “the level of freshness” allowing people to see if something has gone off or not, Ortal stated.
Tiles that eliminate bacteria and robots that can cook with mathematical precision for hundreds of people are just some of the other innovations on display at the fair.
The machines are coming
Beyond the latest advancements in packaging, machines play their role at the fair. The Cocuus printer, for example, can change an apple into a puff pastry in just thirty seconds.
The director of the start-up, Daniel Rico, explained that the machine is designed for chefs, catering companies, and food production on a mass scale to make various process more “simple.”