Top food trade shows in 2012

The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair is one of the most important wine fairs of the year

Kicking off the food calendar for 2012 is the 37th annual Winter Fancy Food Show in the US, an important trade expo where premium fine foods make their debut before being picked up by major retailers around the world. And with the return of Vinexpo to Hong Kong this year, look for a lot of movements in the wine world to emerge out of Asia, where the thirst for wine has seen explosive growth over the past few years. Here are some of the most important food trade shows of 2012 where trends are born and new products discovered.

37th annual Winter Fancy Food Show
January 15-17
Moscone Center
San Francisco, California, USA

The 37th annual edition of the Winter Fancy Food Show is poised to be the largest of its kind on the West Coast and serves as a show ground for luxury, artisanal products. This year, more than 17,000 buyers are expected to converge in San Francisco looking for the latest specialty and premium products like chocolates, cheeses, olive oils, spices, ethnic foods and natural and organic products. More than 35 countries will be represented and 80,000 products on display. American cheese makers and craft brewers will be featured in nearby pavilions from the American Cheese Society and the Brewers Association. International offerings include new twists on tea from India, quinoa from Peru, and meats from Poland. Italy returns with the largest international pavilion. The summer version of the Fancy Food Show takes place June 17-19 at the
Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

42nd Annual International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) 2012: The Future of Sweets, Germany

January 29-February 1
Cologne Exhibition Center
Cologne, Germany

ISM is the largest global sweets and biscuits fair. This year's event will feature Belgium as the partner country and is expected to draw 1,400 suppliers from around the world. Like last year, master chocolatiers will be hand to demonstrate the art of making pralines, while students from the Cologne International School of Design will showcase how confectionery can be turned into gift ideas. Journalists will also select the top three new products at the fair, and highlight emerging trends in the world of sweets and confectionery. The 2011 event attracted 1,500 exhibitors and 32,450 visitors.

13th annual European Snack and Sandwich Show
February 15-16
Porte de Versailles
Paris, France

European Sandwich & Snack Show 2012  is the biggest exhibition specializing in eating-on-the go, bringing together food products, consumables, equipment, services and technologies under one roof. The exhibition is designed for all sandwich and snack distribution channels, including alternative food channels, hotels and restaurants, group catering, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and the self-service vending sector.
23rd annual BioFach & Vivaness 2012 Germany
February 15-18
Exhibition Centre
Nuremberg, Germany

A trade fair dedicated to organic products, from food to holistic health and wellness products,  key special themes include organic wine and organic olive oil. BioFach is larger in scope and size than the other comparable European organic and natural ingredients trade fair like Food Ingredients Europe or Natural Ingredients. This year’s event is expected to attract 2,500 exhibitors and 44,000 trade visitors. India has been chosen as the Country of the Year for BioFach 2012 and will present their offerings as an emerging organic supplier. The event has a global presence with events in Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Mumbai and Baltimore.

17th Annual Gulfood 2011
Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai, UAE

Gulfood is the Middle East's largest food, drink, foodservice and hospitality exhibition. Live events include a live baking theatre, global chef competition and award ceremonies, while conference topics will cover packaging trends, consumer trends and Halal. Last year’s event drew 62,024 trade visitors - an increase of 12% over last year - from more than 150 countries. In excess of 1 million square feet of exhibition space was allocated to 3,800 exhibitors bringing products, services and innovations the Middle East from 100 countries around the world.

46th Annual Vinitaly
March 25-28
Veronafiere Fairground
Verona, Italy

Vinitaly is the Italian answer to France's Vinexpo, a four-day event devoted to international wines and spirits, winemaking and wine business. Last year's event attracted more than 4,000 exhibitors, and 156,000 visitors from 100 countries. Unlike other wine trade shows that are closed to the public, Vinitaly focuses on consumers, oenophiles and wine lovers in addition to offering tastings, workshops and meetings between suppliers, growers and trade operators.

18th annual Food & Hotel Asia
April 17-20
Singapore Expo

As Asia’s largest food and hospitality trade event, the 2012 edition is expected to host 40,000 trade visitors from 90 countries. The show is made up of five specialized events that include Food Asia, Hotel Asia, Bakery & Pastry, Hospitality Style Asia and Hospitality Technology and Tead & Coffee. About 2,600 exhibitors from 65 countries will showcase their wares this year.

24th Annual Specialty Coffee Exposition
April 18-19-Symposium
April 19-22-Exposition
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Oregon, USA

The Specialty Coffee Association of America is the world's coffee authority and largest coffee trade association with nearly 3,000 member companies from more than 40 countries. The event brings together the entire industry - from producers to baristas and enthusiasts. Each year, the event hosts two major industry competitions (which have been emulated at similar conferences around the world) - the United States Barista Championship and the Roasters Guild Coffees of the Year. The exposition features new products and coffee purveyors, while the symposium delves deeper into the topics like the relationship between coffee and its drinkers, research about the market growth and how to green their coffee.

93rd annual National Restaurant Association Show
May 5-8
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL, USA

As one of the longest-running, most established food shows in the US, the NRA Show attracts more than 58,000 foodservice professionals from all 50 states and over 100 countries each year and pumps in an estimated $100 million dollars into the local economy. The NRA Show has been in Chicago since 1950. It’s a star-studded event with celebrity guests sharing their kitchen secrets at the World Culinary Showcase Theater, and industry insiders sharing their insight with fellow restaurateurs. It’s also a show grounds for the latest in cutting-edge kitchen and commercial equipment and a launching pad for innovative consumer products. The show also co-hosts the 5th annual International Wine, Spirits & Beer event this year, dedicated to all things beverage and bar-related.

13th Annual SIAL China
May 9-11
Shanghai New Int'l Expo Centre
Shanghai, China

SIAL China is part of the international SIAL Group, which was created in 1964 in Paris and puts on international trade shows annually in rotating locations each year.  SIAL CHINA 2012 will indulge inner foodies and wine aficionados from around the world and is expected to attract 40,000 visitors and more than 1,800 exhibitors. New this year will be Team Contest, Hospitality and Retail Forum and Coffee Trend areas. The always popular Wine & Gourmet World also returns.

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo
June 25-28
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, USA

The IFT annual meeting is the largest annual food science forum and exposition in the world. Every year, thousands of food scientists, R&D professionals, suppliers and marketers gather to learn about the driving forces behind trends and innovations. Major industry players, government agencies, and representatives from research institutions provide insight in 100 educational sessions and 1,000 presentations covering topics in health, safety, product innovations and trends.

4th annual Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2012
May 29-31
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong

As one of the biggest and most important wine trade events, Vinexpo alternates locations between Hong Kong and France every year. In 2012, it’s Asia’s turn to host. Given the meteoric rise of the wine industry in Asia, interest is expected to be high. According to the latest Vinexpo/IWSR study, Asia will experience the strongest increase in its wine markets in the next five years with five percent annual growth compared to the world average, which is less than one percent. Retail sales of still light wines in Asia in 2009 were worth US$7.18 billion and are expected to increase by 27% by 2013. In 2010, the event attracted 12,620 visitors from 18 countries, and 882 exhibitors from 35 countries. Vinexpo is second to the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair in size and popularity.

11th annual Natural Products Expo Asia
August 23-25
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong

In an region where health and well-being tops consumer priorities, the Natural Products Expo Asia show is an important trade show for industries hoping to set foot in the eastern marketplace. Natural and organic food sales have grown by almost threefold over the last decade to $85 billion US and China has consistently outperformed the global market since 1995. This year's show is forecast to bring 250 exhibitors to the region and attract 10,000 visitors. The show is closed to trade professionals Aug. 23-24 and open to the public Aug. 25.

5th Annual Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair
November 8-10
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong

Organized by the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, this event is billed as the largest wine fair in Asia and serves as a platform for buyers, producers, and other wine industry professionals from all over the world. As Hong Kong is considered the entry point into Chinese and Asian markets, this fair is strategically and geographically significant for all those interested in cementing their position in Asia. Its spring On the fair’s final day in 2011, 19,690 public visitors hit the show -- a 38 percent growth over the previous year. Overall, the 2011 edition hosted 930 exhibitors and 19,400 buyers from countries like Italy, China, France, Taiwan, the US and Australia.

Health Ingredients Europe
November 12-15
Messe Frankfurt
Frankfurt, Germany

Health Ingredients Europe & Natural Ingredients will be held in the absence of Food Ingredients Europe, its big sister and the larger of the trade shows held every two years. New in 2012 will be four new categories: nutritional solutions, packaging and processing, innovation, contract services and formulation solutions, including flavor, taste, texture and shelf life. About 500 exhibitors are expected to showcase their wares.