In the space of just a few years, foodservice professionals have totally revamped their businesses and the very concept of "foodservice". Today, more than ever, gastronomy is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for everyone involved in the food industry as Nicolas Trentesaux, SIAL Network Director, explains in the following interview.
What is the state of play with foodservice today?
Whenever I'm asked this question, the picture of a constantly rising champagne bubble always comes to mind! The foodservice market is effervescent, and what is quite remarkable is that the same trend can be observed all around the world! Some figures to illustrate this - in the United States, on the back of 2.1% growth in 2016, foodservice had another very good year in 2017, up 1.7%; in China, foodservice revenue has now passed the $600 billion mark, following a 5.4% rise over one year; in the United Arab Emirates, the sector was once again booming in 2017, with 4.5% growth; and in a country that we know well, France, business showed good progress, up 1.8% last year. It is a trend that seems to be continuing in 2018 for France and Europe, but also for the other regions of the world.
Other than the positive economical trends in foodservice, what else is new?
You are right not to focus solely on the macroeconomic data. Foodservice is undergoing a revolution, and we are not yet able to measure the full extent of the phenomenon. If we cast our eyes back over the history of SIAL, 30 years, 20 years, or even 10 years ago, there has never been anything like today's profusion of new concepts, vigorous and creative reinvention of recipes, and such rapid dissemination of culinary traditions, inspired by strong local roots, and which knows no frontiers.
Very similar to the notion of "glocalisation" then?
Exactly! In New York, Montreal, London, Paris, Berlin, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, hybrid spaces - restaurant-cafés, or cafeteria-supermarkets - are springing up everywhere. In food halls filled with kiosks offering fare from all over, you can get a taste, on the spot, of all kinds of gourmet, fresh and inventive cuisine. Fast food is moving into the realms of fine food. And digitisation is now moving the restaurant into the home! What is happening represents a phenomenal acceleration in the history of food and foodservice. And it is this very revolution that interests us and that we will be deciphering and sharing at SIAL Paris!
In the wider family of Planet Food, what place does foodservice occupy? What is its role exactly?
To determine this, I suggest going back to basics, back to the sources - why do we go to restaurants? From one individual to the next, there are many motivations. It may be a question of saving time, the desire for service, for treating yourself, for meeting up with friends and family in convivial surroundings. Yet one motivation keeps cropping up: discovering new flavours and trends, which you subsequently want to try to reproduce at home. Foodservice is the food innovation laboratory where the cuisine of tomorrow is invented, where manufacturers, artisans and consumers come to glean new ideas!
Is SIAL not also a foodservice ideas lab?
We are indeed the laboratory for new topics and trends. Eclectic and unprejudiced, from gluten-free to vegan, from locavore to high-tech, no current or future trend escapes the SIAL radar! And the chefs know this. They enjoy strolling through the aisles to feed their inspiration and discover new flavours from every corner of the world. At the 2018 show, we shall be unveiling for the first time, alongside the international study conducted by SIAL/Kantar TNS/XTC World Innovation, the results of a worldwide study of foodservice conducted in partnership with Gira Conseil. These results will testify to this extraordinary revolution that is underway, and delineate a horizon full of innovations for foodservice, encompassing robotics, data, personalisation and products for enjoyment.
SIAL Paris initiates new food trends. But how do you capitalise on this? What importance do you place on experience and exchange?
Experience only serves a purpose if it is shared. Thanks to flagship events dedicated to foodservice, we offer all visitors and exhibitors the possibility of exchanging ideas with many established and up-and-coming chefs, both stars and lesser-known personalities, in attendance at SIAL, to find new sources of inspiration and be a part of this great adventure which is Cuisine 3.0, a trend that is at once inventive, responsible and connected. Some examples? "La Cuisine", first of all, with daily demonstrations from international chefs, in partnership with Rungis and the Ecole Ferrandi, an initiative that includes our VIP restaurant, run by star chefs. Also, for the first time this year, cookery classes will be laid on for the professional visitors to the show! Another opportunity is the foodservice and innovative products theme trail, devised by Yannick Alléno, the multi-starred chef, who has five establishments around the world and who is also the patron of SIAL Paris 2018!
So today's SIAL Paris is not "just" the biggest supermarket in the world?
By no means. It is also the biggest restaurant in the world, and a gourmet restaurant at that, with no borders, with multiple traditions and recipes, where professionals can find inspiration from around the world in just one place - Paris! Such fine words need to be backed up by actions, and in 2018, buoyed by our previous success, we are once again running SIAL OFF, comprising a list of 50 restaurants and specialist food outlets, offering a unique experience of the gastronomic scene in Paris. Traditions and experience, innovation and the future - it is from a unique combination of know-how and a whirlwind of creative inspiration that the foodservice world and SIAL Paris take mutual inspiration, to take centre stage and fashion a mouthwatering event.
SIAL Paris is the place to be to take the pulse of this booming sector and discover the innovations that will transform foodservice. The show will take place from October 21-25, 2018, at Paris-Nord-Villepinte.
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.