The focus on innovation, industry partnerships and increased onsite programming spelled success for the three-day trade event
SINGAPORE, 2 August 2018 – Now in its second year, Speciality & Fine Food Asia (SFFA) and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia (RPB Asia) welcomed more than 3,300 visitors from the food and beverage and hospitality industries across Southeast Asia, with 160 local and international exhibiting companies and eight national pavilions from 20 countries for the three-day shows and related events. The trade-only shows saw buyers and exhibitors in a focused environment – making valuable contacts, signing multi-million dollar deals and learning from industry experts through a series of engaging panel discussions, cooking demos by star chefs, and beverage masterclasses by sommeliers, bartenders, sake and tea masters.
“It was a truly invigorating experience at SFFA and RPB Asia this year,” says Christopher McCuin, Managing Director of Montgomery Asia, which organised the shows. “We listened to visitors’ and exhibitors’ feedback from our first year and improved on creating more onsite programming, and finding the right experts to speak on topics that were important to them. For the first time this year, we collaborated with industry partners such as FoodBev Media, The Bar Awards, Restaurant Association of Singapore and Singapore Halal Culinary Federation to co-organise competitions and workshops at the shows which provided more depth and relevance to the F&B industry. It’s exciting to see the shows go from strength to strength and we look forward to creating an even bigger impact in 2019.”
2018 Show Highlights
Inaugural Investor Pitching Series – SFFA launched a new Investor Pitching Series to provide a practical springboard for companies with exciting, innovative ideas to pitch their concepts and products to a panel of industry judges for real-time feedback. Split into two tracks – ‘Innovative F&B Products’ and ‘Productive Business Solutions for the F&B Industry’, the latter designed in collaboration with Restaurant Association of Singapore to solicit actual business and product proposals that will allow local businesses to thrive above the global competition – the sessions drew packed audiences across the two days.
Over 10 companies live-pitched their ideas to a panel of industry leaders including representatives from MasterCard, Golden Equator Consulting, The Lo & Behold Group, UOB, Enterprise Singapore, and more. The top three winners in the ‘Productive Business Solutions for the F&B Industry’ track were Good for Food, Beekeeper Communications and TAB – all local companies that leveraged technology to solve real-life challenges faced by the F&B industry.
Inaugural Asia Food Innovation Awards by FoodBev Media – Designed to celebrate excellence across every category of the global food industry and offer brands an exciting way to showcase their R&D achievements, this was the Asian edition of the globally-recognised Food Innovation Awards.
This year, there were 14 winners, a number of whom were also exhibiting at the Shows, including LUVCACAO, who won ‘Best Artisan Product’ for their Azzan White Chocolate; Coco & Lucas’ Kitchen, who took home ‘Best Children’s Product’; The M Plot, who clinched ‘Best Confectionery’ for The M Plot Macarons; and local company Foodie Drools, whose F.EAST Potato Chips in flavours like Chicken Rice and Laksa were the talk of the town at SFFA, and was named ‘Best New Brand’. A full list of winners can be found at: https://www.foodbev.com/news/winners-in-asia-food-innovation-awards-announced/
Inaugural Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia Bartender Invitational 2018 – Show Partner, The Bar Awards, introduced their first regional competition, which saw four Bartender of the Year award winners from four cities battle it out with a series of tough challenges in an intense three-day competition for the ultimate title of Bartender of the Year 2018.
The five challenges that each bartender went through were to test Bar Theory, Classic Cocktail, Pop-Up (where they organised and managed their own event or guest shift at a bar in Singapore), Masterclass, and Cocktail Party. Jay Khan, owner of COA in Hong Kong emerged victorious and took home Bartender of the Year. Full list of awards can be found at: https://www.rpb-asia.com/_press/2018/07/27/jay-khan-of-coa-hong-kong-crowned-the-restaurant-pub-bar-asia-bartender-invitational-2018/
Launch of e2i ULeap F&B Modules – SFFA 2018 also saw the launch of e2i’s new F&B mobile modules on ULeap, a mobile learning app, for quick, bite-sized learning on the F&B industry. ULeap is a mobile learning platform, with short multimedia content on various topics contributed by Knowledge Partners (e.g industry partners, Institutes of Higher Learning and Professional Associations, etc.), allowing learners to stay up-to-date on current trending issues and participate in various learning communities to discuss best practices and exchange knowledge.
Instead of a typical 3-to-6-month time-frame needed for the development of new courses, Knowledge Partners can harness the sharing by the various learning communities to curate and construct just-in-time bite-sized lessons on ULeap to meet current demands. They will also take the roles of moderators and validators in the learning communities.
The topics of the new F&B modules range from practical tips for hands-on learners; tools and content for business owners; as well as guides for learners who like to know where their food comes from, and insights into the future of F&B technology, or “culinology”.
Chef Demos and Hot Topic Panel Discussions at Fine Food Live – A core component of SFFA, Fine Food Live is the mainstage where chef demos, panel discussions, and more took place. Chef Isaac Mchale of Michelin-starred The Clove Club – also the highest ranked UK restaurant on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – headlined the show for his first official visit to Singapore. Chef Mchale demonstrated two signatures dishes, even bringing in haggis from his hometown of Scotland.
Presenting chefs this year included renowned cookbook author, Christopher Tan, Javad Ahamad from Punjab Grill, and Alexander McKinstry from Viceroy Bali. Chef Neo Jun Hao, the newly-minted winner for Singapore’s Disciples Escoffier Young Talent – the culinary competition for young chefs under the age of 25 – conducted his live practice run at the Show before representing the country at the Asia Finals in Hong Kong this September.
There were four panel discussions held over the three-day show, with experts including Chef Julien Royer from two Michelin-starred Odette, World’s 50 Best Restaurants TasteHunters Cheryl Tiu and Lennard Yeong, Dinesh Balasingam, Chief Operating Officer of Chope, and representatives from DHL, Edelman, Ernst & Young, GrabFood, KPMG, Zenith Global and more who took to the stage. Captivating the audience with their engaging discussions and insights, the panelists shared real-life experiences and views on practical issues ranging from ‘The Fine Art of (Conscious) Dining’ – where they explored the definition of conscious dining and how that fits into the fine dining space, ‘Global F&B Outlook’, ‘Going Digital’ and ‘From Farm to Kitchen’.
The rich content and innovative highlights drew in quality visitors which delighted the exhibitors. First-time exhibitor Healsi Water sealed one of the largest deals in the company’s history at the show. “[The shows are] very impressive,” says Pedros Simar, Director, Healsi Water. “We’re definitely coming back next year with a bigger presence!”
Luc Fabry, Investment and Trade Commissioner of Flanders Investment and Trade commented: “The show was valuable for Flanders Investment and Trade – Embassy of Belgium. We represented 11 companies and each of the companies had a number of valuable leads. It is worth it to come back next year!’
Clay Jenkin, Events Manager of NCR Silver echoed similar sentiments. ‘It has been an excellent show and I can now say that we will be back again next year! We have definitely benefited from exhibiting at the show and our products were viewed by many visitors, which was our ultimate objective. We also generated new business leads, which have led to sales. On top of that, we have raised our industry awareness, and we are expecting to build on this in the months and years to come!”
Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Restaurant, Pub & Bar Asia will take place again next year from 17-19 July 2019 while the 2018 UK edition will take place from 2-4 September 2018 at Olympia, London.