Almost 900 companies were presented in exhibition halls; Festival of Flavours was featured for the first time
New food industry products for business and gastronomy, a showcase of state-of-the-art technologies as well as a hall dedicated to packaging and printing: the SALIMA and EmbaxPrint fairs have been held in Brno for over forty years now, and they are still in high demand. This year, the food fairs also featured the premieres of SALIMA Technology fair and the Festival of Flavours appealing to all lovers of good food and drink.
Six related fairs were held concurrently in Brno in the period from 27 February to 2 March 2018. Presentation of food processing technologies was concentrated in Hall V under the heading of SALIMA Technology, being thus more consistently separated from the traditional SALIMA food fair. There was also the traditional VINEX International Wine Fair, the MBK International Milling Industry, Bakery and Confectionery Fair and the INTECO International Fair of Equipment for Retail Trade, Hotels and Catering Facilities. The packaging industry is very close to food production, because 80 to 90 percent of all packages are related to food and beverage production. That is why the EmbaxPrint International Fair for Packaging and Printing, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, has been held in the same period as SALIMA for a number of years. This professional show was newly extended by a three-day Festival of Flavours, open to the general public. Its gates opened with a two-day delay on Thursday 1 March, and it continued until Saturday 3 March.
The fairs were attended by 889 exhibiting and represented companies this year, which meant a significant increase compared to the previous years. Among them were 48 percent of foreign companies, and 471 additional brands were represented. Exhibitors came in from 39 countries, for the first time ever also from Indonesia, Tunisia and Belarus. "This year's food fairs and packaging and printing fairs have proven once again that they are an important trading platform for these sectors. We are pleased to see the increased interest of both exhibitors and visitors," says Jiří Kuliš, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the company Trade Fairs Brno.
Exhibition stands occupied five halls: the food fairs were located at Halls A1, A2 and V, EmbaxPrint was in Hall G1 and the Festival of Flavours in Hall C. International participants were present in outstandingly high numbers. Official displays with government support were opened at SALIMA by Greece, Belarus, Tunisia and Indonesia; incoming missions of businesspeople arrived from Russia, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia.
The following Czech organizations had their own stands: the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, the State Agricultural Intervention Fund, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic, the South Moravian Region and the Trade and Tourism Association of the Czech Republic. Among visitors there were procurement representatives of the ten biggest retail chains who were dealing with exhibitors of foods and drinks at the fair. Professional visitors also included representatives of retail and wholesale, gastronomic businesses and production facilities, technology experts and quality controllers. Thanks to the concurrent holding of the trade fairs dealing with related sectors, people were able to get an overview of news and trends in processing, distribution and sales at one place. Exhibitors also welcomed the great interest of end consumers, from which they obtained feedback on their products and news in particular.
The topics handled as part of the SALIMA's expert supporting program were forthcoming the domestic food producers. The FOOD FORUM conference took place in Brno for the seventh time, discussing competitiveness of the European food industry, the issues of double standards in quality of food and unfair commercial practices. In addition to the representatives of the organizers – the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic and the Czech Chamber of Commerce – the convention was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture of Slovakia, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of Romania and the General Director of the European Food and Drink Industry Confederation FoodDrink Europe. Wednesday 28 February was proclaimed the Business and Export Day, on which two professional seminars were held in support of the Czech companies' exports.
The EmbaxPrint International Fair for Packaging and Printing celebrated its 30th anniversary. On this occasion, the company Trade Fairs Brno awarded three honourable mentions for long-term cooperation to these entities: the Union of Czech and Moravian Production Cooperatives, the Czech Paper Industry Association and the Czech Packaging Association SYBA. Exhibitors introduced innovations in emerging technologies of automation, robotics and digitization. A substantial number of Chinese companies participated in the trade fair; additional new exhibitors came from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France and Poland. An important part of the event was the Packaging Live project, which introduced a demo packaging line equipped with the most modern technology in live operation. Major professional meetings also included a Conference of the Association of Czech Paper Industry and a Conference on Packaging for Food and Cosmetics. For the first time, the Calendar of the Year 2018 exhibition was held and visitors also viewed the winning exhibits of the Package of the Year 2017 competition.
Once again, prestigious awards were awarded to the best exhibits at the fairs. 58 products competed for the Golden Salima and the Golden EmbaxPrint awards, being evaluated by three expert evaluation juries – one for foods and beverages, another one for engineering and technology and a third one for packaging and printing. Twelve prizes were eventually awarded. 8 products in the food section received the Golden Salima 2018. The company Apimed scored for the fourth time in a row, this time with its Ambrozia Original Honey Aperitif. Another winner was named after the CEO of the company INTERLACTO – the Dobrý Václav (Good Wenceslas) cheese. Jana Fialová from Chotěboř also received a prize for her wonderful wedding cookies. Other award-winners were spinach noodles by the company RANDAM, the Blatenský kohout beer from the Blatná brewery, Styrian sausages by STEINEX, cranberries by SOMMER and grandson, as well as rye crackers by COOC FOOD. In the Golden EmbaxPrint competition, which was staged anew on the occasion of the 30th season of the fair, prizes went to the exhibitors JaGa, ONDRÁŠEK INK-JET SYSTEM and TransPak CZ.
The Festival of Flavours in Hall C featured producers of regional specials, but the main attraction was a unique show of 47 Czech and Moravian microbreweries. Additional breweries took part in the SALIMA trade fair, and the results of the traditional Pivex – Beer 2018 Gold Cup and PIVEX 2018 Gold Keg competitions were also announced on the occasion of the food fairs.
From the sideline program for the general public, an interesting feature was the Gastrofest gastronomy show, where four top chefs demonstrated their craft. The Bakery Centre was crowded with audiences eager to see the fight for the title Baker of the Year of 2018 – Junior. It was eventually won by Klára Kalvodová, a student of the Charbulova Secondary Vocational School in Brno. The award was handed over to her by Petr Novák, coach of the Olympic athlete Martina Sáblíková. "Martina and I look for Czech bread all over the world, and if we eventually find, we always cut a slice and make a selfie with it. As you can see on the Internet, we do a lot of publicity for Czech bread," Novak said at the awards ceremony. The competition for the Attractive Product of the Year in the bakery and confectionery category also culminated. Throughout the SALIMA fair, students from South Moravian gastronomy schools were demonstrating their skills to visitors; of course, there were also traditional wine and coffee tasting sessions, and culinary shows at exhibitors' stands.