Foodservice Australia will be back in Sydney with a vengeance in May, looking to stamp its authority on the food show circuit.
The expanded show is running at the Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park from 25-27 May. The extra space will be used to house more exhibitors, a regional producers’ pavilion and the new Café School focusing on the lunch and food-to-go trade.
Highlights of the event will include the Rare Medium Chef of the Year, free business workshops in the Restaurant Theatre, Australia’s Best Pie Competition, the Global Pizza Challenge, World Chocolate Masters and much more.
Event director Tim Collett says the Café School will be an exciting new addition to the show.
“I think it will create a real buzz – even beyond the caffeine hit,” he says.
Café School will offer practical workshops, coffee masterclasses, sandwich demonstrations and an inspiring ‘Café of the Future’ display.
“This new feature will appeal to anyone who operates a café or offers casual dining, a sector that has experienced steady growth despite the challenging economic climate of recent years,” Collett says.
According to recent research by BIS Foodservice, the market for fast food and snack food has benefited from the global financial crisis as Australians trade down to casual dining and takeaway food.
“It has been a bonanza in the fast food market since the GFC,” says Sissel Rosengren, head of BIS Foodservice. “Not to denigrate the quality of fast food in Australia – which includes everything from a drive-thru hamburger to a chicken wrap and prepared meals such as soup – but there is a noticeable ‘trade-down’ effect that occurs in any economic downturn.”
The report found that Australians spent $15 billion on fast food in the 12 months to October 2013, and that a larger proportion was consumed by those who earned more than $50,000 a year than those who earned less.
“Clearly there are many opportunities for anyone in the casual dining sector, which is why we have added a new Café School to the many exciting features at Foodservice Australia,” Collett says.
The Café School will give visitors from the food-to-go sector a chance to discover new ideas and products to boost their bottom line, he says.
Practical sessions will include coffee master classes, super sandwich demonstrations, juicing tips and more. Special sessions will be held looking at overseas trends, and there will be classes on Mexican cuisine, which has surged in popularity over recent years.
The Rare Medium Chef of the Year will be a focal point, with four kitchens built by kitchen manufacturer Rational right in the centre of the show.
Sponsor Meat & Livestock Australia’s Claire Tindale-Penning says the organisation will have all of its resources available to chefs, including DVDs, recipes, cut charts and the Rare Medium journal.
“Chefs can sign up to join our chef’s club, which offers exclusive paddock to plate tours, butchery and recipe inspiration master classes, chefs table events and more,” she says.
The Apprentice of the Year competition will run alongside the Chef of the Year. Both events offer generous cash prizes and trophies. Professional chefs can enter using the form on the show website.
But it’s not just chefs that will be competing at the show. Patissiers and chocolatiers will be there for the World Chocolate Masters, our best pizza makers will be competing in the Global Pizza Challenge and bakers will be trying to win a medal in Australia’s Best Pie.
Collett says competitions, events and workshops are always exciting aspects of Foodservice Australia, but the main action is on the exhibitor stands, where buyers may meet the team, get advice and information, see products in action, and negotiate a great deal.
“This is the only show focused on the foodservice market, and the food industry show in Sydney this year,” he says. “Anyone who is serious about improving their hospitality business should be there. You just can’t grow your business if you don’t investigate the latest trends, ingredients, equipment and suppliers.”
A new exhibitor highlight will be the Regional Producers Pavilion, showcasing boutique food, drink and ingredient suppliers from all over Australia. Visitors can literally taste all the new ideas and meet the producers behind the products.
Major food companies at the show include Nestle, Inghams, Fonterra, Parmalat, McCormicks, Mission Foods, Kikkoman, Lindt, Callebaut and Goodman Fielder. Major equipment suppliers include Comcater, JL Lennard, Robot Coupe, Unox, MKA, Euroquip, Phoeniks and FED.
Collett says the venue at Moore Park is accessible and convenient. “We know it is hard to leave your business for more than a few hours.
This venue is only 10 minutes from the CBD with easy access by car or public transport. It is also very convenient for exhibitors, with level loading dock access directly onto the show floor and excellent surrounding facilities.”