FHG forum outlines future scenarios for food, tourism and gastronomy

The new congress, which will be held physically and virtually, opens its first edition on Monday at the Palau de Congressos

“Rethinking the future” of food, tourism and gastronomy and helping these essential industries to glimpse opportunities for recovery is what FHG forum is promoting, the new congress with which Fira de Barcelona is continuing to reactivate its trade show activity, which will be held on the 28th and 29th of this month at the Palau de Congressos in the Montjuïc venue.

FHG forum will be divided into three thematic blocks: Gastronomy, Foodservice and Agri-food Production; Hospitality, Catering, Communities and Tourism; and Retail, Large-scale Food Distribution and Value Chain. Over two days, around twenty sessions, conferences, debates and round tables will take place in what will be one of the main spaces for meeting and reflection for the industry represented by emblematic shows such as Alimentaria, HOSTELCO and Fórum Gastronómic Barcelona.

FHG forum will debut in a hybrid format with attendance, in which the safety and anti-Covid prevention protocol that Fira de Barcelona has drawn up in collaboration with the consultancy firm Aon and the advice of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona will be applied. This proposal is complemented by the digital broadcast of all its contents to broaden its scope and facilitate participation.

Management, according to Adrià

Ferran Adrià, president of the Bullifoundation, will be responsible for opening the congress with a speech in which he will highlight the need for management training for the survival of the hotel business, since a large number of new restaurant openings in Spain do not survive the two years.

The sommelier, head of the hall and co-owner of El Celler de Can Roca, Josep Roca, will give the talk “La filoxera del ser humano. Survival and happiness”, in which he will describe the situation of kitchens and restaurant rooms in times of pandemics. Afterwards, both Adrià and Roca will take part in the round table “Keys to success in overcoming the crisis”, formed by Nandu Jubany (Can Jubany), Artur Martínez (Aürt Restaurant) and Pep Palau (managing partner of the Fòrum Gastronòmic).

The future, in time?

Anticipating the future is key to overcoming crises. This is the thesis of the disseminator and expert in digital economy Marc Vidal, who at the FHG forum will question those attending with the session “Are you on time for the future? Digital transformation and FoodTech in the contactless society”. Vidal will talk about the acceleration of the technological model in the new “contactless” society we are facing.

And the practical cases will come from innovative projects in the commercialisation of agriculture such as those of Cristina Caparrós (La Platgeta); Gemma Navas (Del Parc a Plat); Sergi Roca (Plant on Demand) and Ramon Sentmartí (Prodeca- Promotora dels Aliments Catalans).

In addition, Ingrid Buera, director of the Mercabarna Business Area, will close the block dedicated to Gastronomy with the presentation of the new Mecabarna Biomarket, Spain’s leading wholesale market for organic products, which will be inaugurated in October.

Solutions for the hotel and catering industry and tourism

The tourism and hospitality sectors are suffering most deeply from the effects of the health crisis and its economic derivatives. According to the Spanish hotel and catering employers, it is estimated that between 65,000 and 80,000 hotel and catering establishments will have closed by the end of the year, with the loss of around one million jobs, both direct and indirect, in a fundamental sector of the Spanish economy which, before the pandemic, had 300,000 companies and employed around 1.7 million workers.

The FHG forum will analyse its immediate future, its ways of survival and will explain how to access financing and public-private cooperation. In the specific section dedicated to the hotel, restaurant and catering industry, Antoni Llorens, president of Alimentaria’s Restaurama show and of Food Service España; Jorge Marichal, president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) will speak; Rafael Olmos, president of Hostelco and the Spanish Federation of Associations of Manufacturers of Machinery for the Hotel, Catering and Related Industries – FELAC; José Luis Yzuel, president of the Spanish Hotel and Catering Industry Association – ACAVE; and Martí Sarrate, president of the Business Association of Travel Agencies – ACAVE and of the B-Travel Barcelona show.

Together with them, leading economists, businesspeople and representatives from the financial and institutional spheres will provide strategies for managing uncertainty and reformulating the hotel and catering business in the post-Covid era.

Changing trends

The second (and last) day of the FHG forum will be dedicated to the food sector and its value chain. Although the food industry has a proven resilience to adverse situations and a proven capacity to explore new ways of accessing the consumer, the current situation has accelerated pending challenges such as online trading, whose growth has been notable, although its market share remains low. For its part, distribution is experiencing an increase in demand as a result of the shift in consumption that was made in the Horeca channel before the pandemic, and its sales have shot up both in the online channel and in the local shop.

In this context, the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors AECOC has signed a programme headed by IESE professor José Luis Nueno, in which changes in trends will be advanced in consumer behaviour as well as in food companies and distribution. In addition to experts and executives from AECOC who will talk about challenges and innovation in retail, Silvia Martínez, Sales Director of Coca Cola European Partners Iberia and Mikel Larrea, General Manager of EROSKI will also be taking part.

Finally, Toni Massanés, Director of the Alicia Foundation, will conclude the session with a speech on innovation, sustainability and social responsibility in the food company, fields which represent new opportunities for the sector.

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