Alimentaria food fair opens its doors in Barcelona

With the Hostelco industry trade show, the major show devoted to the food sector expects 150,000 visitors  

A chef at the 2018 Alimentaria fair (by ACN)
A chef at the 2018 Alimentaria fair (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 16, 2018 11:42 AM

Barcelona will this week welcome 150,000 visitors hungry to take part in Alimentaria, one of the world’s main food and drink trade shows, which takes place in the Catalan capital this week, from April 16 to 19. Occupying 100,000 m2 in Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue, the fair -which for the first time runs alongside the Hostelco restaurant and hotel trade show- will show off 4,500 brands from 70 different countries. As well as offering 150 food-related activities and 120 talks, the fair will also feature 35 top chefs with 45 Michelin stars between them. The organizers say the show will have a financial impact of 200 million euros on the local economy.

While just about all aspects of the food and drinks industry will be represented at the show, Alimentaria 2018 has a special focus on products related to health, wellbeing and sophistication. The organizers hope that this year’s joint Alimentaria and Hostelco edition will be a turning point in the fair’s history providing it “a unique and stand-out positioning internationally,” according to a spokesman. The international element is a key aspect to the fair and the organizers say that 27% of the brands at the show are foreign, while a third of the 150,000 visitors expected will also be from abroad.  

Research and innovation will also be key words at the fair, both in terms of food products and solutions for the foodservice industry. ‘The Alimentaria Hub’, for example, which features the ‘Innoval’ exhibition space, will show off 300 different projects that stand out for their uniqueness. Among them are alcohol-free gin, a ‘kit-kat’ pizza and an egg without a shell. At the same time, ‘The Alimentaria Experience’ is a special space for top chefs to show off the latest trends in the kitchen. Among the 35 chefs coming to the fair are such big names as Carme Ruscalleda, Paco Pérez, Ángel León, Elena Arzak and Fina Puigdevall.

Other areas of the fair include Alimentaria Intervin, dedicated to the wine sector, and Vinorum Think, a space for industry professionals to discuss Spanish wine, which will also attract wine experts, such as Jancis Robinson, Nick Lander and. Also related to drinks, Barcelona Cocktail Art is the space dedicated to all the latest in the world of cocktails, and the Olive Oil Bar features gourmet olive oil from Spain and all over the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, the Hostelco Coffee Area will feature equipment and accessories, talks and masterclasses, all dedicated to the world of coffee.

In all, this 22nd edition of the biannual food fair will occupy seven pavilions in Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. The first edition took place in 1976, since when it has grown into one of the largest fairs of its kind in the world. According to the organizers, some 12,000 workers were needed to set up this year’s fair. Meanwhile, with hotels in Barcelona reportedly 98% full, the show’s organizers are expecting to easily reach their target of 150,000 visitors this year.