The Indispensable Role of Food Shows in the Global Food Import/Export Industry

Unveiling the Powerhouses: ANUGA, GulFood, SIAL Paris, and Summer Fancy Food Show

In the ever-evolving landscape of the global food import/export industry, staying ahead of the competition and establishing fruitful business connections is paramount. Enter the world of food shows, the epicenter where culinary innovation, networking, and international trade converge. These events serve as vital platforms for food industry professionals to showcase their products, explore new markets, and forge partnerships that drive the growth and success of the global food trade.

In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the indomitable influence of food shows in the food import/export industry. We’ll shine a spotlight on four of the most prominent food shows: ANUGA, GulFood, SIAL Paris, and Summer Fancy Food Show. From the bustling exhibition halls to the aromatic culinary showcases, these events are catalysts for transforming the way we experience and consume food on a global scale.

So, fasten your seatbelts as we dive into the captivating world of food shows and discover why they are essential for businesses in the food import/export industry!

Picture of OLYFO’s booth in our first participation at a Food Show back in 2022. This was GulFood 2022.

The Powerhouses of the Food Trade

  1. ANUGA: The World’s Leading Food Fair

ANUGA, held biennially in Cologne, Germany, is the epitome of a global food show. This colossal event attracts thousands of exhibitors and visitors from all corners of the globe. With over 7,400 exhibitors and 165,000 trade visitors in its last edition, ANUGA provides an unrivaled platform for networking, discovering emerging trends, and sealing lucrative business deals. From organic and fresh products to fine gourmet foods and technology innovations, ANUGA showcases the entire spectrum of the food and beverage industry. This coming edition takes place between 7 and 10 October 2023 and it will be the first time the OLYFO team will participate.

  1. GulFood: Gateway to the Middle Eastern Market and more

Dubai, known for its vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere, hosts GulFood, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition. With more than 5,000 exhibitors and 98,000 visitors from 193 countries, GulFood offers a gateway to the Middle Eastern market and beyond. This dynamic event showcases a diverse range of products, including Halal food, specialty coffee, artisanal ingredients, and much more. GulFood serves as a melting pot for industry professionals to forge connections, explore business opportunities, and tap into the thriving Middle Eastern market. Honestly speaking, this event has brought us the most business so far, and the last time we participated in February 2023 we signed new deals in places far beyond the Middle East.

  1. SIAL Paris: Inspiring Food Business Worldwide

SIAL Paris, a renowned international food exhibition, takes place every two years and attracts over 7,200 exhibitors and 310,000 visitors. This prestigious event is a hub of innovation, providing a glimpse into the future of the food industry. From culinary trends and product innovations to sustainable solutions and global food challenges, SIAL Paris brings together professionals from all sectors of the industry. With its vast range of products and dedicated areas for organic, healthy, and sustainable foods, SIAL Paris serves as a catalyst for driving business growth and inspiring collaboration on a global scale.

It was definitely a prestigious and well-organized event; However, for Tunisian Olive Oil specifically, the main challenge remains the EU-regulated quota system. “The quota system of Tunisian olive oil exports under an exemption of import duties to the EU is set by the EC 2016/1918 Regulation. It sets a maximum annual quota of 57600 tons along with a system of variable monthly quotas for each month.”

  1. Summer Fancy Food Show: A Flavorful Extravaganza in New York

In the bustling city of New York, the Summer Fancy Food Show takes center stage as one of the premier food shows in North America. This vibrant event attracts over 2,400 exhibitors and 25,000 buyers from around the world. Showcasing an extensive array of specialty and gourmet foods, the Summer Fancy Food Show provides a platform for emerging brands and established industry leaders alike. From artisanal cheeses to innovative snacks and beverages, this show embodies the culinary creativity and diversity of the North American market.

This event is much smaller in comparison to GulFood and ANUGA; however, what pushes it to be on my list is the fact that it happens in the US, the largest growing market for Olive Oil consumption. It is definitely not an ordinary show that needs to be prepared well ahead. Someone cannot just go and expect people to show up…

The Importance of Food Shows in the Food Import/Export Industry

  1. Networking Opportunities: Food shows serve as powerful networking platforms, allowing industry professionals to connect with suppliers, distributors, retailers, and potential buyers from different parts of the world. These events create opportunities to build relationships, establish partnerships, and expand business networks, facilitating the growth of international trade.
  2. Market Expansion: Food shows provide a unique opportunity for businesses to explore new markets and expand their global reach. Exhibitors can showcase their products to a diverse audience, gain valuable market insights, and identify emerging trends that can shape their export strategies. Similarly, buyers and distributors can discover innovative products and establish connections with suppliers from various regions, opening doors to new market opportunities.
  3. Culinary Innovation and Trends: Food shows are hotbeds of culinary innovation, where the latest food trends and innovative products take center stage. From plant-based alternatives to sustainable packaging solutions, these events provide a glimpse into the future of the food industry. Attending food shows allows industry professionals to stay abreast of evolving consumer preferences, discover new ingredients, and gain inspiration for product development and marketing strategies.
  4. Trade Facilitation: Food shows play a crucial role in facilitating international trade by providing a platform for buyers and sellers to meet face-to-face, negotiate deals, and establish trade relationships. These events often feature matchmaking programs, business matchmaking services, and dedicated trade zones, streamlining the process of connecting potential business partners and accelerating trade transactions.
  5. Brand Exposure and Marketing: Participating in food shows offers brands invaluable exposure on a global scale. Exhibitors have the opportunity to showcase their products to a wide audience, including industry professionals, media representatives, and food enthusiasts. This exposure can lead to increased brand visibility, media coverage, and ultimately, market expansion.

The Budget Consideration

While participating in food shows can be highly beneficial, it’s essential for businesses in the food import/export industry to carefully consider their budgets and allocate resources strategically. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Research and Prioritization: Conduct thorough research on different food shows to identify the ones most relevant to your business objectives and target markets. Prioritize shows that align with your product offerings and have a strong presence in the regions you aim to penetrate. for Example at OLYFO, we tried some shows and decided to not do them anymore for the time being.
  2. Cost Analysis: Evaluate the costs associated with participating in food shows, including booth rentals, travel expenses, marketing collateral materials, and staff accommodation. Consider the potential return on investment (ROI) and weigh it against your budget limitations.
  3. Return on Investment (ROI): Assess the potential benefits of participating in each food show and estimate the ROI based on factors such as expected sales, new business partnerships, brand exposure, and market expansion. Consider the long-term impact of participating in a show and how it aligns with your overall business strategy. Experts say that the deal rate is always around 1-3% of the people you meet, so do not discourage.
  4. Booth Selection: Opt for booth sizes and locations that suit your budget and maximize visibility. While larger booths in prime locations may attract more attention, smaller booths can still be effective if creatively designed and strategically positioned. However, the investment is completely worth it in shows such as GulFood.
  5. Collaborative Efforts: Explore opportunities for collaborative efforts with industry associations, trade organizations, or government bodies that may offer financial assistance or subsidies for participating in food shows. These partnerships can help alleviate the financial burden and increase your chances of success. Our membership in the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the North America Olive Oil Association is definitely helpful!
  6. Pre-Show Planning: Develop a comprehensive pre-show marketing plan to ensure maximum exposure and engagement. Leverage social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, and press releases to create buzz around your participation and attract potential buyers and partners to your booth. In shows such as the Summer Fancy Food Show, this is the way to do it!
  7. Post-Show Evaluation: Evaluate the outcomes and impact of each food show you participate in. Assess the success of your objectives, measure the ROI, and gather feedback from your team and partners to inform your future decisions.


Food shows play a pivotal role in shaping the global food import/export industry. From ANUGA and GulFood to SIAL Paris and the Summer Fancy Food Show, these events serve as catalysts for networking, business opportunities, and culinary innovation. By participating in food shows, businesses can expand their market reach, establish valuable connections, and stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive industry.

However, it’s crucial to carefully consider the budgetary implications of participating in food shows and make strategic decisions that align with your business goals. With proper planning, research, and evaluation, food shows can provide a platform for growth, brand exposure, and trade facilitation, contributing to the success and expansion of businesses in the food import/export industry.

So, embrace the power of food shows, embark on a flavorful journey, and unlock the vast potential of the global food trade.

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