If you work in the food service, retail & distribution and hospitality industry - whether as a cafe / restaurant owner, or a chef, or a grocery shop owner or working for a large national food distribution company, or a barista, or a caterer, or anything remotely food related - then you will NOT want to miss this show.
Unfortunately, the Fine Food Expo hosted by Fine Food Australia is only held once every two years as they alternate between Melbourne and Sydney each year.. but hey, I now have an excuse to plan a trip to Sydney next year for the next expo! Oh wait.. I am jumping ahead of myself here :)
The expo is STRICTLY TRADE ONLY and because I registered as a food blogger / writer I managed to somehow score a "Media Pass" to explore the event and be amongst people who work in an industry I am so passionate about. I felt completely spoilt that day... there was so much to see and so much to learn and so much food and drinks to taste! The expo was ultimately a Foodie Haven... hands down the best tradeshow I have ever attended and I gained so much from it. It definitely gave me a lot of insight as to what's involved in the supply chain management side of things when running a food establishment.. and the realization that the competition is tough! Food is literally being offered everywhere.. and you definitely need to stand out in terms of service and quality in order to score some potential clients.
As far as beverages were concerned, there were plenty of sample drinks as well as free coffees going around. It was an eye opening experience, as I realize that if I was a restaurant owner - I actually have so many suppliers of food and beverages to choose from with hundreds and thousands of options and then to somewhat be effective in comparing their prices, etc. This industry is absolutely booming and at the end of the day, I suppose networking is the only way to secure and retain long term customers. I had some great opportunities to chat to a few people during the expo and I have to say I am even furthermore intrigued by this industry and would LOVE to be more involved in the near future... *off dreaming about owning my own cafe or restaurant... excuse me while I daydream*
Back to the expo, other than the fact that EVERYONE at every stall were super friendly and approachable (there is this thing about people who love food are the most awesome people..) the expo had plenty to offer in terms of cooking demonstrations and entertainment as well. Everything on display here were food products, commercial food products available to purchase in bulk by people in the food business, from curry pastes to pastries to premade salads to sauces / dressings to gelato flavours... you name it, they got it! Not to mention kitchen equipment, cafe / restaurant furniture and packaging solutions! Everything you will ever need to establish a food business, you will find your connections all under one roof.
If you are into more international flavours, the expo also featured International Stalls with food products from all over the world. The variety was simply amazing! I only had one day here, but I would highly recommend that you take the opportunity to explore slowly at a good slow and steady pace spread across at least two days... because there is simply too much to see and too much to taste! If you are also seriously looking to network, you should allow a lot more time. The people here are ready to talk business, and there is a lot of information to process.
If you don't believe me when I say there is LOTS of food to taste... here is the proof:
This was truly a delicious event, but it was mostly a truly valuable business event and I would imagine having all major food suppliers under one roof just makes it all so much easier for people in the business to network and collect all the information required either to start a food business or to grow and evaluate options for their existing business.
See you guys in Sydney next year!