Sirha Budapest was a highly successful event in all respects
The Sirha Budapest trade exhibition, concluded on Thursday at the HUNGEXPO Budapest Congress and Exhibition Center, was a highly successful event in all respects. Over 20 thousand professional visitors attended the biggest food industry and HoReCa event of Central and Eastern Europe. The Hungarian team finished in second place at the European finals of the Bocuse d’Or cooking competition hosted for the second time at Sirha Budapest, thus qualifying for the finals in Lyon.
Hosted for the fifth time, Sirha Budapest has indisputably become the biggest event of the region by now, where the representatives of the gastronomy, food, baking and confectionery, hotel and catering and packing industries presented their products, developments and services on an area of over 30 thousand square meters.
“During the pandemic, the market forces shifted in a number of sectors of the economy, yet Hungary has good opportunities in the race to reopen as it maintained developments even during the time of crises,” said the Deputy Sate Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture at the opening event. Lajos Bognár added: the food industry was the only manufacturing sector that managed to generate growth in 2020, if only at a minimum extent.
Gábor Ganczer, CEO of Hungexpo explained in his welcome speech that the HoReCa industry, encompassing hotels, restaurants and cafés, wasn’t licking its wounds during the crisis and instead developed its services, allowing the exhibition to exceed expectations this year. For example, one of the most significant developments of recent years was realized at Hungexpo with Sirha Budapest as its crucial international test, where apart from the domestic participants, professional attendees had the chance to encounter 300 exhibitors from 16 countries.
The foreign exhibitors at this year’s Sirha Budapest event came from countries such as Egypt, Lithuania, France and Greece. A number of other countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) were represented by multiple exhibitors. On this occasion, the largest foreign exhibitor was Italy: many guests flocked to the flavours of Italy stand, where visitors could sample the gastronomy novelties of 20 different firms.
The biannual event again featured a number of professional conferences and roundtable discussions focusing, amongst other things, on the issues of reopening, the challenges of the new situation, the market shift and the situation of the labour market.
Hosted for the 7th occasion this year, the Future Store Innovations stand catered to those looking for the latest commercial solutions and new products across over 700 square metres, featuring 24 co-exhibitors. Apart from the negotiation partners invited in advance, over a thousand guests visited the Future Store stand built by Trade magazine, in the course of Hungarian and English-language guided tours.
Agrármarketing Centrum’s Hungarian Wine Summit attracted great crowds, where 91 domestic winemakers debuted in front of a number of international wine experts and journalists (including a number of Master of Wine writers) and the general audience.
Year after year, the professional competitions and contests are becoming increasingly popular events.For the fifth occasion this year, the event hosted the Sirha Budapest Dessert Competition and the now traditional Communal Catering Chef Competition (KÖSZ). Additionally, thanks to the cooperation of the Hungarian National Gastronomic Association and the Marco Polo Group, the stands at the unique joint cooking event of Italian and Hungarian chefs was filled with audience members.
This year saw the debut of the Sirha COFFEE CHALLENGE barista competition, which was a worthy companion of the Sirha Business Café “coffeehouse”, the meeting point of the coffee and bar trade.
The National Association of Hungarian Confectioners’ award-winning ice cream tasting catered to professionals throughout the three-day event. The submissions for the János Pataki commemorative competition were also highly popular and the preliminary jurying for the Cake of Hungary competition also attracted many visitors, where the members of the professional panel selected the five most promising cakes that qualified for the next round of selection.
As customary, the Sirha Budapest Innovation Product Competition awards, jointly hosted with Trade magazine, were presented at the exhibition’s opening ceremony. During the evaluation of the 31 submissions of outstanding quality, the jury expanded the previous 5 categories to a total of 8 different fields. Visitors at the exhibition had a chance to survey the submissions of the competition’s finalists at the exhibition’s Innovation stand.
After 2016, Budapest and Hungexpo again had the chance to host the European finals of the world’s most prestigious cooking competition. At the Bocuse d’Or Europe 2022, thousands of enthusiasts cheered on 17 national teams, including the Hungarian team, which finally finished in second place, thus qualifying for the World Finals in Lyon in 2023. The Hungarian team was led by Bence Dalnoki, sous chef at the Michelin-star Stand restaurant, assisted by Patrik Nyikos commis and coached by Tamás Széll, who won the European Finals in Budapest in 2016, while Szabina Szulló served as the team’s President.
Denmark won this year’s competition, with Norway taking third place. The best commis chef came from Sweden, the best ‘theme on plate’ was provided by the team from the United Kingdom while the best meat dish was served by the Swedish team.
Following this year’s contest, Jerome Bocuse – son of the competition’s founder, Paul Bocuse – stressed how amazing the event was, thanking Hungary for “the most outstanding European hosting to date”.
The Hungarian stand situated next to the competition site was a huge success, promoting Hungarian dishes, ingredients and wines and featuring appearances from a number of domestic and international guests from the beginning to the end of the competition.
“We are pleasantly exhausted. These three days are a celebration of the HORECA sector, where over 20 thousand caterers, chefs and cooks gathered and it was a joy to see it all come together,” said Ákos Bősze, the HORECA development leader of METRO,SIRHA’s key professional partner, in summary of his experiences. “There is no other platform where professionals can meet one another and the suppliers while getting acquainted with new innovations and solutions. This has been an incredibly vigorous, professional event,” said the expert in conclusion.