SIAL Paris 2018 exhibition report – a forecast of innovation for the food processing industry

SIAL Paris is held every other year

Every other year, the world’s largest food innovation exhibition is held in Paris. SIAL Paris brings together food and food processing industry professionals and influencers. This year’s exhibition had no less than 7,200 exhibitors from 119 countries. The exhibition attracted over 310,000 visitors over five days, which speaks for itself about the size of the event.

At 2018 SIAL Paris, an emerging theme was that of future challenges: how the food processing industry can grow responsibly, and how food production can keep pace with population growth. The solution was sought from new innovations, like structural changes relating to the entire food processing industry, as well as individual product or food ingredient innovations.

SIAL Paris 2018

SIAL Paris 2018 attracted over 310,000 visitors over five days.

SIAL Paris through the eyes of a visitor – innovations simmer below the surface

We were in the visitor’s role at this year’s SIAL Paris. These kinds of exhibitions are often good places to determine what direction the food processing industry is heading in, and what the big future trends are. At MKT, we are interested in all the industry innovations, and particularly in various alternative nutrients and food innovations, which we believe to be increasing in the future in the dairy and cheese industries, as well.

This was the background of our visit, as we set out to explore the exhibition. Based on having spent a few days at the exhibition, we could observe that the innovations that we were so eager to see were, for the time being, quite heavily overshadowed at the practical level by traditional solutions. Although innovations and future outlooks were at the foreground in the theme of the exhibition, and there were discussions about them in their own start-up hall, these ideas were not quite yet visible in most of the food producers’ selections or presentations.

Of course, considering the size of the food processing industry, it is understandable that new ideas take their time to really break through into the so-called mainstream. Despite this, the small role of innovative and totally new food products in the exhibitors’ selections was, to some degree, a surprise. Our observations last spring from the Anuga Foodtec exhibition seem to continue to hold true: that the food industry is not necessarily the first to utilize new innovations, but changes continue to happen under the surface.

SIAL Paris 2018 Mkt Dairy Innovations

New innovations simmer below the surface.

It may very well be, that already at the next SIAL Paris (2020) we will see many more products and solutions that exemplify the innovation emphasized in this year’s theme in a concrete way… At least here in Finland, the food processing industry seems to be very active in developing new kinds of food innovations and bringing them to the markets. We believe it is only a question of time until this trend seriously expands to the global level.

What might be of note, additionally, was the heavy presence of Asian countries and, among others, Brazil. The food processing industry of these areas was noticeably visible, and many companies are clearly aiming for a foothold in European markets in the future. Of course, traditional European cheese manufacturers and other food producers were still in their own class in terms of visibility, but SIAL Paris 2018 showed that new operators in the food industry are also increasingly interested in European markets. On the other hand, it is slightly surprising in this context that the North American presence in the dairy section of the exhibition was not particularly noticeable.

SIAL Paris 2018 MKT Dairy

The food processing industry of Brazil was noticeably visible.

SIAL Paris left a good impression

The SIAL Paris food innovation exhibition is one of the largest exhibitions in the industry – and it certainly shows. There was plenty to explore for multiple days. At MKT, we genuinely enjoyed this year’s exhibit. It was nice to see old friends, as well as to see new, interesting companies and products. We hope to see you again!

From MKT’s perspective, this year’s exhibition offered reinforcement for the idea that the turning point of the food industry is ahead – perhaps in the near future. This turning point will require a new kind of innovation and solutions from all the operators in the industry. As a company involved in the dairy industry, and especially as a cheese making equipment manufacturer, we want to be at the forefront of responding to these needs. We work toward this daily.

Petri Kalliokoski
For more information: petri.kalliokoski [at]