This April, Barcelona plays host to thousands of food, drink and hospitality businesses from all over the world. Alimentaria is a massive Food, Wine and Gastronomy trade show that takes place in Barcelona every 2 years. One of the main aims of Alimentaria is to help the smaller Spansih producers to reach a global market. The show brings together hundreds of Spanish food and wine producers under one roof.
There will be almost 4000 exhibitors and over 150,000 visitors expected at the show. This year’s show kicks off on 16 April and will be held at the Grand Via trade show grounds with over 100,000 sq metres of space.
Shows within the show includes different tracts like Intervin (the Wine, Cider and Spirits Show), Intercan (the meat show), Interlact (Dairy products), Expoconser (Canned goods) and Restaurama (Food Service and Hospitality). This year, they have teamed up with HostelCo to highlight technological advances in the hospitality industry and bring solutions to hotels, restaurants and hospitality businesses.
At the press conference preview for Alimentaria 2018, we were told that Spanish food and wine exports increased by 50% since 2011. The concerted effort by the government to boost exports is in preparation for the projected decrease in population over the next few decades. Initiatives to boost the popularity of Spanish products has been paying dividends overseas with the increasing knowledge and demand improving with their promotional efforts. The most recent innovation has been to partner with Amazon to open up a dedicated Spanish Food Page UK customers so that they can buy some of the products that they discovered while on holiday in Spain.
Promotion of Spanish Foods abroad
A lot of resources have been put towards the promotion of Spanish products internationally. As we experienced firsthand, there are a lot of terrific Spanish produce that we don’t see in the UK which the market here would appreciate. We sampled a selection of canned fish and seafood products, tasted local cheeses and sampled superior olive oils see below.
They have acknowledged the need to use Digital Strategies to promote the Spanish Food and Wine story. To that end, they have partnered with Amazon to create a Spanish Food Portal. You can shop for curated Spanish products directly from Amazon now.
Spanish Wine at Alimentaria
Spain in the leading exporter of wine in the world by volume and it is only natural that the wine show is the largest part of Alimentaria.
The majority of wine producers are small and medium-sized producers and don’t have the big international marketing budgets or reach. Alimentaria is the perfect platform for them to reach influential wine journalists from around the world.
Michelin Chefs at Alimentaria
There will be presentations, demonstrations and appearances of celebrity chefs throughout the show. The organiser’s strategy is to marry their food and wine offerings to demonstrate the quality and versatility of Spanish products to the visitors.
Two top Catalan Chefs, Carme Ruscadella and Paco Perez, that we met will definitely be there as ambassadors of Catalan and Spanish cuisine.
Carme is the only female chef with 7 Michelin stars and runs the Saint Pau at Sant Pont de Mar, Moments at the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and Sant Pau de Tòquio in Japan.
Paco Perez oversees the 2 star Enoteca restaurant at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. L’eggs, La Royale and Miramar restaurant in Roses.
A visit to Mercabana The Wholesale Market
To get an insight into the food of the region, a visit to the market is always informative. Mercabana is not just a wholesale market, it is like a mini town which has recently got their own metro stop.
Mercabana replaces the old Central Market which was in Old Town Barcelona. In the 4 decades that they have been operating, they have expanded massively and today, most of the food sold in Barcelona and surrounding areas pass through their gates.
Within the complex are the fish market, meat market, vegetable market and added value areas where they process the produce for sale.
We visited the bustling fish market and arrived at 5ish as their business day was ending. As we walked in, the whole market burst into song ( see video). These Catalan fish sellers are real characters. The fish that comes through here is partly local and partly imported. The overall impression was that the market is incredibly organised, with their own in-house banking system and very well run. Note: It is only open to trade so not for the casual visitor.
Alimentaria Barcelona 2018 Dates
Alimentaria 2018 will be held from 16-19 April. You can get more details about the show and how to participate on their website.