This year, the 27th International Food Exhibition WorldFood Moscow that was closed on 20 September, secured a record-high number of visitors for over 25 years of its history – 30,710 food market professionals from 82 Russian regions and 98 countries.

Today, WorldFood Moscow is the main international forum for the leaders of food industry bringing together representatives of the business community, manufacturers, representatives of all sales channels — wholesale and retail trade, hospitality industry and public catering, representatives of regulation authorities and government procurement agencies. This year, 1,560 companies from 65 countries took part in the exhibition and the total exhibition area was over 53 000 sq. m.

WorldFood Moscow is the primary gateway to the Russian market for foreign food suppliers, it helps companies to grow and boost total supplies. Furthermore, the exhibition secured a record-high number of buyers (20,269) this year.

Azerbaijan is a country that makes good use of the exhibition — this year was the second time when Azerbaijan served as the partner of WorldFood Moscow and it displayed the expositions of about 35 Azeri companies on its united ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ stand. This collective exposition was organised by the Azerbaijan Export & Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and supported by the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan. The united ‘Made in Azerbaijan’ stand displayed vegetables and fruits, confectioneries, dried fruits, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, etc.

The largest national pavilions from among the foreign participants this year were presented by Algeria (dried fruits, spices, sweets), Argentina (fruits and vegetables), Egypt (all foods), India (tea, rice, spices), Italy (pasta, coffee, jams, wine, olive oil, and other products), China (all foods), Korea (fish, seafood, and other foods), Morocco (fish, seafood, fruits, and vegetables), Turkey (fruits and vegetables, sweets), and South Africa (wine, tea, and canned food).

Manufacturers from the Dominican Republic made a debut at the exhibition with their national exposition. Argentina that exhibits at WorldFood Moscow on a regular basis presented a collective exposition of fish and seafood producers this year.

The product mix presented by Russian manufacturers and distributors was just as broad as that of foreign companies: this year, Russian companies occupied virtually a half of the total exhibition space. A record-high number of Russian regions held their collective expositions: Omsk Region, Altai Territory, Kirov, Pskov, and Ulyanovsk Regions, Republic of Kalmykia, Republic of Karelia, Kostroma Region, Krasnoyarsk Territory, and Tyumen Region — a total of 19 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. As Sergey Dankvert, Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, highlighted during the inauguration ceremony, exhibitions like WorldFood Moscow are equally important from the standpoint of networking, as they provide participants with an opportunity to see what the others have. “In the past, we realised that we had to import a lot, we used to come here to choose and buy; now, the trend has changed for the better: we come here to both buy and sell,” Sergey Dankvert said.

This year, the business programme of WorldFood Moscow became much wider and was extended with brand-new events for chain and non-chain retail buyers: free educational programme ‘Purchasing Academy’, ‘WorldFood Business Kitchen’, expert panel ‘Online Retail. How to develop channels effectively.’ The key business programme events took place on the exhibition opening day: strategic session ‘Consumer and food retail: evolution or revolution?’ and conference ‘Modern food retail: how to make money on trends?’ intended for the chief executives in the food retail sector and business owners.

The three days comprising 25 events included reports by 180 speakers — retail experts, lead analysts, and chief executives of industry majors. A record-high number of delegates (2,243) attended the business programme events.

On 19 September, business dialogue ‘Food industry trends in Russia and success strategies" was held under the auspices of WorldFood Moscow. The list of guests included around 400 chief executives of food manufacturers, distributors, retail chains, HoReCa companies, and branch unions and associations. The participants of the business dialogue discussed the generational theory as a business growth tool and the breakthrough practices for food retail and manufacturers.

Evgenia Shamis, founder of the project ‘RuGenerations — generational theory in Russia’ told the audience how business success is promoted by application of the generational theory. The list of participants of the discussion included: Maher Batrouny (Mars), Johannes Tolai (X5 Retail Group), Tatyana Lavrova (Glavprodukt), Elena Shifrina (Bite), and Vadim Korsunsky (Mania). They succeeded in raising interesting topics and shaping a dialogue that was continued by the guests after the official part was over. The chief executives of major manufacturers discussed the new trading formats — e-commerce, self-service stores, etc., as well as cooperation between manufacturers and online retailers. Maher Batrouny, CEO of Mars Wrigley Confectionery, stressed: “We are working with existing online retailers that have a food basket in their portfolio and we are also trying to enter the non-food retail by launching and shaping a confectionery category there” (cited from RBC).

On the sidelines of the exhibition, Johannes Tolai, Director for Commerce of X5 Retail Group, highlighted the importance of the exhibition as a forum and networking venue similar to a century ago. “Even though IT systems predominate today, the exhibition matters precisely for the fact that people meet here in a structured fashion, get an opportunity to exchange their opinions, touch the product, and build new relationships associated with this product,” Mr. Tolai said.

As part of WorldFood Moscow, annual independent tasting contest ‘Product of the Year’ was held in compliance with Russian national general requirements to food quality and safety. 144 companies presented 483 specimens for the contest. The tasting panel awarded the Grand Prix to 10 companies, gold medals — to 164 products by 83 manufacturers, silver medals — to 61 products by 38 manufacturers, and bronze medals — to 27 products by 18 manufacturers.

It was the second time that WorldFood Moscow included the contest for tea professionals (Tea Masters Cup Moscow) organised by Association RusTeaCoffee. The winner of the Moscow qualification round will get a chance to compete at the Tea Masters Cup Russia national contest. Tea Bar — a special tasting area — was among the novelties of the platform.

In 2019, WorldFood Moscow will be held in Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre. The exhibition will be arranged conveniently in a straight-line layout, will get new national groups, and provide an opportunity to integrate business programme events directly into the exhibition pavilions. At its new venue in Crocus Expo, WorldFood Moscow will present a broad three-day-long content programme to professionals representing all retail sectors, HoReCa companies, and distributors. The programme will include reports by Russian and international retail professionals, lead analysts, and chief executives of industry majors.

Dates of the 28th International Food Exhibition WorldFood Moscow: 24–27 September 2019.