People visit Paris for its gargantuan museums, the Seine, the morning croissants, Hermès and numerous other reasons that are related to art, fashion and food. The elegant, luminous and imposing French capital is lesser known for its trade shows. In fact, there are 400 of those annually.
During the informative panel presentation about food and hospitality trends, hosted by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency, attendees learned that Paris organizes 400 conferences annually. The City of Light is also a Convention and Trade Conference Capital. Indeed. Hotel availability, good transportation and the international appeal of Paris are the top three reasons.
But what about the food trends from the other side of the Atlantic? Are they related to local trends?
Valérie Lobry, the MD of Agriculture & Food Division of Comexposium confirmed that food globalization is everywhere, Paris included. The organizers of SIAL, the largest food show in the world, have a pretty good idea. Innovative products from previous SIAL shows come from all over the world and include amongst others the red pepper lollipop, the macaroon foie gras and the organic red wine chili. But the international element seen in French trends is not only present during the SIAL shows. The French-style fast food is the outcome of the global culinary environment. Its most popular product, the Mcbaguette, is selling only in France (a happy marriage of the famous French bread with the American fast food chain).
Street food is growing fast in Paris with the food truck Le Camion qui Fume to be one of the most well-known and, according to the panel, "with the best burgers in town." The Cantine California, which offers tacos, burritos, burgers and pancakes, is also increasing in popularity.
But food trends are seen in the hotel scene. High-end hotel restaurants, the new style hotel bar (offering sandwiches and snacks) and the "social" lobby are distinguished trends from France. Corinne Ménégaux, from Reed Exhibitions, picked also the five-minute room service and the take-away hotel (Hi Matic Hotels, where you get everything from a vending machine) as two additional hospitality trends on both domestic and global level.
During this afternoon panel event, the term LOHAS was also described (stands for the Lifestyle Of Health and Sustainability) as one of the important factors that affect culinary and hospitality trends together with the top five SIAL consumer expectations from the culinary sector: it's all about pleasure, health, physical, convenience and ethics.
My take: The entire panel definitely affirmed that France plays an important role in the shaping of food and hospitality trends -- nationally and internationally -- but is also the receiver of creative ideas from the U.S. and elsewhere. In a globalized world, trends seem to come close from country to country but there is nobody who can question France's leading role in the culinary scene.
The Paris-New York event: Fresh Take on Food & Hospitality Trends took place on July 9th from 2pm to 5pm at ICC. Panel: Karen Taylor, Corinne Ménégaux, Valérie Lobry, Dorothy Cann Hamilton and Jean-Luc Margot Duclot.
SIAL PARIS fact sheet: The show attracts nearly 140,000 professional visitors from the food industry with nearly a 6,000 exhibitors from France and abroad. It also represents 19 sectors and 110 countries. It takes place every other year.