In-person food trade exhibitions have been rare in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some events have been conducted virtually, while others have been postponed until next year.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported that food trade shows now are returning to some Asian markets, including the recently completed SIAL China food exhibition held in Shanghai. The massive SIAL food trade show in China was postponed earlier this year due to the pandemic, the group noted.
USMEF’s participation in these events is made possible through support from the Beef Checkoff Program, the National Pork Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program and the USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.
“Huge crowds showed up at our booth there, but outside of China, only a few Asian countries have held exhibitions of any type,” reported Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific.
Shows in other countries are being pushed way back, he said, with some being postponed until late next year. “With travel restrictions still in place, these trade exhibitions are taking place largely without business travelers, because you’d have to undergo 14 days of quarantine after you arrive,” Haggard said.
Still, the fact that they’re being staged is positive, he added.
USMEF is currently preparing for two upcoming trade shows: Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong and Food & Hotel China.
"Unlike the mainland, the recovery here in Hong Kong is still somewhat tentative, especially after three very distinct virus suppression and lift cycles, but everyone's remaining hopeful," Haggard said. "One sign of increased confidence is the 'all systems go' designation for Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong, a mid-November food trade exhibition.”