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Milan, 11 October 2018. Catering in all of its many forms. From ovens to stoves, from chopping to the more recent food processing methods, from laundry to the most innovative food preservation systems. The 41st edition of HostMilano (organised by Fiera Milano and set to take place from 18 to 22 October 2019) promises to exceed the numbers achieved at the previous event, with the Foodservice Equipment – Bread, Pizza, Pasta macro-area being the best represented in terms of product offering and number of sector companies present (48% of the 1,189 companies registered to date). Further emphasis should also be placed on the international dimension of the exhibitors attending the event: at present, 44 different countries will be represented (compared to the same period in 2016), with two new entries (Albania and Latvia) joining larger countries such as Germany, Spain, France and the United States.

Scouting activities continue in parallel, thanks in part to the close collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency, resulting in over 1,500 buyers from 80 different countries in attendance at Host 2019, with a turnover rate of almost 80%, and a targeted focus on a number of markets such as the USA, Canada and the Middle East.

Last but not least, there will also be a focus on two new international partnerships, including the agreement reached withRestaurants Canada, the largest eat-out organisation in North America with over 30 thousand members covering the entire supply chain, from bars, restaurants and caterers, to suppliers and institutions. A deal has also been struck with CEDA (Catering Equipment Distributors Association), which comprises close on 100 distributors of products and services for the catering industry in the United Kingdom.

Professional Catering: Italy as the third largest global exporter

The fact that the Professional Catering – Bread, Pizza, Pasta macro-area is enjoying a period of particular prosperity is also demonstrated by data provided by the Host Observatory and derived from the Ulisse system. In fact, in 2017 global trade in Professional Catering Machinery, Equipment and Accessories was worth 52.8 billion euros, with an average annual growth rate of 6.1% in the 2009-2017 period.

The latest ANIMA/Assifoodtec data also bodes well. For 2018, estimations point to increases in production (+2.7%), exports (+2.9%) and investments (+8.2%)

In terms of exports, in particular, currently worth over 3.54 billion euros, Italy is the third largest exporter subsequent only to China and Germany, yet for sales in the Premium-Price cooking segment (stoves and non-electric ovens), the Italian peninsular is giving Germany a real run for its money.

Professional Catering alongside Bread, Pizza and Pasta at HostMilano

If the global golden era for the catering industry has seen the rise of an all-encompassing, comprehensive offering (from full-service restaurants to ‘quick’ alternatives, from bars to takeaways, from street food to vending machines), set only to expand further, then in recent years, the entire Italian food-cooking industry has cemented its status on an international scale according to the Host Observatory.

Outside of Italy, people are no longer content solely with Italian food, but they want to experience a touch of the world-renowned Italian lifestyle as well: from the use of specific ingredients, primarily flours, to the use of equipment and the skills of professionals. The ‘experiential trend’ is however only one of the many fashions being represented at HostMilano, the event that has, not for nothing, seen the Professional Catering and bread, pizza and pasta industries merge, thereby once again highlighting the increasingly close relationship between catering in its many forms and the baking sector.

A trend that, over the years, has become prevalent worldwide, with the arrival of mixed-concept establishments that jointly offer bakery, confectionery, coffeehouse and gourmet food products. All with the aim of immediately connecting with and meeting the needs of everyday customers who are more informed about and attentive to what they eat, as well as being used to having everything in one place there and then.

The demand for innovative and health-conscious products with a short production chain is growing

The dominance of Made in Italy production remains second to none both in Italy and abroad, even in the baking sector. This hasn’t just been confirmed by economic data, but also by the changing behaviour of consumers towards Bread-Pizza-Pasta products.

For instance, bread, according to the latest data, is still being purchased ‘fresh’ on a daily basis and from ‘artisan’ bakeries by 90% of Italians. Why you may ask? The third-millennium consumer is more conscious of their health and eating habits and is curious and always on the lookout for something new: from organic bread to bread made with selected raw materials, from reduced-sodium alternatives to those made with relatively unprocessed flours and 0-km options.

Something somewhat similar can be said for the pasta segment: if 99% of Italians enjoy eating pasta and 69% eat it regularly, then the data provided by the agri-food CNA (Italian Confederation of Crafts and SMEs) points to the progressive assertion of new types of products, from organic and gluten-free alternatives to premium-quality pastas.

That said, pizza continues to assert its authority and has overtaken bread in terms of eating habits in Italy. A genuine Made in Italy global food icon, produced abroad using Italian flours, in all of its gourmet variations or without added enzymes and gluten, it is having a significant impact on the oven industry, where the demand for advanced technologies is becoming increasingly intensified.

The same goes for the bread-making industry, where the ever-extensive offer has seen demand shift towards a different kind of oven, including medium-sized, traditional and electric rotary and shelf models, in addition to modular alternatives. Without mentioning the sky-rocketing demand for energy savings, to be achieved with alternatively powered ovens, such as those that use pellets.

All the latest sector trends and novelties on display at HostMilano 2019

Hundreds of events, from meetings and opportunities to exchange opinions, to contests and demonstrations. The cooking and Professional Catering industries will take centre stage at Host, where one-off business opportunities will also be joined by futuristic trends, with the participation of top chefs and key sector influencers.

For example,theEuropean Pizza Championship, organised by Pizza e Pasta Italiana and the Italian School of Pizza-Makers is one event not to be missed; the contest, scheduled to take place on the 21 and 22 October 2019, brings together pizza-makers from all over Europe for two days dedicated to Italy’s most globally appreciated, widely consumed and diverse dish, which has recently become experimental territory for some of the world's most renowned chefs.

The series of meetings and seminars organised by the FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International), the association that brings together consultants for the designing, management and organisation of services in the hotel sector and professional catering industry, will be extensive as always. The ‘hot’ topics up for discussion will include the use of social media, business opportunities in new markets, the organisation of large events, sustainability and the green economy.

Host 2019 will also be home to a full schedule of show-cooking events featuring high-profile chefs, VIP guests, tastings and debates, all organised by the APCI (Professional Association of Italian Cooks), as ever with the third-millennium chef and cooking profession as the centre of attention. The aim is to delve deeper into all the main topics of interest that involve the entire industry alongside all the professionals in attendance.

Promoted by Host-Fiera Milano in collaboration with POLI.design and sponsored by the ADI (Italian Association for Industrial Design), SMART Label, the award dedicated to innovation in the professional hospitality industry, will also be returning to the event. An event intended to promote companies - including Professional Caterers - that have successfully put the combination of technology, hospitality and future trends in the limelight. In total, the numbers point to 497 candidacies collected over the past three editions, 156 companies awarded the SMART Label and more than 20 special recognitions with the Innovation SMART Label, awarded to the same number of products marking significant milestones in the sectors represented.

The Catering industry companies already registered to take part in the 2019 edition of HostMilano include:  Alto-Shaam, Fagor, Hobart, Hoshizaki, Meiko, Middleby, True Food International, Vollrath (overseas); Ali Group, Angelo Po, Oscartielle, Sirman, Unox (in Italy). Instead, in the Bread, Pizza, Pasta segment, the following companies have already confirmed their participation:  Atollspeed, Belshaw, Bridor, PizzaMaster, Wiesheu; Bake Off, Imperia & Monferrina, Italforni Pesaro, Italmill, Mondial Forni, Morello Forni, Tagliavini.

All updates are available at: www.host.fieramilano.it, @HostMilano, #Host2019.