With the Philippine hotel and food industry in the upswing, and business prospects for food and services looking bright in 2014, Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) and Wine and Spirits Asia (WSA), the region’s most comprehensive food and hospitality tradeshows, provided viable avenues for local industry professionals to learn the latest developments in the region and worldwide.
Held from April 8 to 11 at the Singapore Expo, FHA and WSA showcased its biggest edition yet with more than 2,800 exhibitors from 70 countries spanning all aspects of the food and beverage (F&B) and hospitality industries.
Exhibitors’ offerings included such as food products, bar and kitchen equipment and supplies, food processing equipment, hotel amenities, tableware and hospitality technology, among many others.
Stephen Tan, chief executive of show organizer Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), noted, “Over the years, FHA has grown with the development of the region’s hospitality and F&B industries to become its top sourcing platform, and pinnacle trade event. The show brings together a vast selection of unique food offerings and front to backend solutions from all over the world, and is a unique and comprehensive marketplace for businesses in Asia and the Southeast Asia region.”
He added, “This year is a milestone for FHA and WSA as it has maximized the available exhibition space of Singapore’s largest exhibition venue. Moving forward, the event will only continue to grow as new markets in the region become more developed, and demand increases.”
FHA was the perfect platform for manufacturers and distributors to expand their regional client base. With the internationality of the show, FHA saw visitors from more than 100 countries or regions each edition.
The 2012 edition welcomed a record total of more than 42,000 trade visitors, an increase of 10.4 per cent over 2010. Notably, overseas visitors increased by 14.5 per cent and made up 41.6 per cent of the total visitors.
For his part, Atty. Eugene Yap, chairman and president of The Hotel & Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), said, “The Hotel & Restaurant Association of the Philippines had, and will always support FHA’s and WSA’s tireless effort in providing a platform for the industry’s pursuit of global excellence at all levels of the Hospitality and Food Service Industry.”
He added, “The various specialty events within the show offers an edge not only to Filipino Hospitality stakeholders but also to players from other related sectors to source for the latest products and services offered by leading exhibitors from all over the world.”
FHA and WSA occupied 10 exhibition halls and Max Atria at the Singapore Expo and boasts of an eight per cent increase in size from the 2012 edition.
It also featured the inaugural edition of Specialty Coffee and Tea that integrated all aspects of the industry in a single platform featuring a comprehensive range of products, equipment and services from across the globe.
This effectively brought the total number of specialty shows to six. In addition, the event also hosted the FHA Barista Challenge and first ever FHA Latte Art Challenge, alongside a number of courses, workshops and fringe activities.
The other five specialty shows under the FHA umbrella included FoodAsia, HotelAsia, Bakery & Pastry, Hospitality Style Asia, and Hospitality Technology.
Wines and spirits
Since 2010, WSA has been held alongside FHA to give it the space and distinction to grow into a premium trade exhibition of spirits and wines for regional buyers.
Spread over 5,000-sqm, the show had 200 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions, and seven group pavilions.
This year’s show had the most number of group pavilions, representing the world’s top producing wine regions, with Spain leading the charge with the biggest pavilion. Adding to the buzz on the show floor was a series of talks and master-classes highlighting wines from countries such as Austria, France, Italy and Spain.
This month, a combination of the shows’ exhibition, conference, competitions and fringe activities delivered a holistic experience to all attendees.
The FHA Culinary Challenge (FCC) saw 856 chefs from all over the world battle it out in the Individual Challenge, Dream Team Challenge and Gourmet Team Challenge. Returning this year to the FCC is the National Team Challenge.
Held once every four years, 11 national teams will compete, but only the top 3 qualified for the Battle of the Lion, with one emerging victorious. Specialty Coffee & Tea hosted the FHA Barista Challenge and the first FHA Latte Art Challenge, while the Asian Pastry Cup will be held in conjunction with Bakery & Pastry.
Meanwhile, competitions at WSA included the RIPE-WSA Cocktail Challenge as well as the WSA Wine Challenge. Entries from across the globe were judged by a panel of Asia’s top wine buyers and writers for the WSA Wine Challenge.
Awards for the winning wines were presented at the first Magnum Night, an exclusive networking event for the international wine scene. The winning labels were then displayed at an exclusive tasting lounge at WSA.
There are also the FHA International Conference that had more than 90 speakers focusing on key issues currently affecting the industry, paramount among them is the manpower crunch and ways to ease it. In view of this, the conference featured a plenary session and an in-depth master-class to provide the industry with practical solutions on how to deal with the manpower shortage.
Other topics covered included managing hotel operations and revenue optimization strategies; managing F&B operations and food concepts; latest technologies for the hotel and F&B; food Safety, covering latest food regulations and contamination detection methods and food product innovation and development.
“Overall, FHA and WSA deliver a comprehensive, holistic and meaningful event for the whole industry,” added Tan. “Providing businesses with the latest innovations, new food products and unique amenities to choose from, as well as sharing ideas, knowledge and best practices will in turn translate to an enhanced experience for the consumer.”