Even as the country faces a slowing economy and multiple industries are set by staffing and regulatory challenges, the resilient and eternally optimistic hospitality industry has shown it is ready and willing to get back on track while shrugging off the daily difficulties of running a successful business.
The recently concluded Fine Food New Zealand event attracted record numbers of exhibitors and delegates, contributing to an event that was not only a stunning success, but a litmus test for a resurgent hospitality industry determined to make the most of every available opportunity.
The three-day trade-only event took place in late June at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland, drawing 6,405 unique attendees – an increase of 6.5% over the number of delegates who attended 2021’s event. In response to those numbers, event manager Deb Haimes said, “Fantastic results, we had 288 exhibitors offering the widest range of products, services, produce, innovations, and a ton more. The number of vendors was well up at the last event, and the combination of more to see delivered an amazing experience for every delegate.”
Exhibitors have expressed their satisfaction with Fine Food New Zealand 2023, too. Early feedback was universally positive, with vendors experiencing keen interest and strong demand for their products and services.
Authentic Spanish-style charcuterie and sausage producer Martinex, meanwhile, described its experience as delivering an excellent Return on Investment. “Meeting key decision makers and introducing your brand to a large group of food service professionals equals a great result,” its representative reports.
With any exhibition, the quality of delegates matters to exhibitors. Fine Food New Zealand is ‘trade-only’ by design, so only those in food service, hospitality, beverage, and related industries are in attendance. This consistently delivers the results vendors seek: expanding market reach, opening new avenues to market, and above all, driving sales of great products and services. That’s confirmed by exhibitor Cabra Interiors/Shelving Services, providing this feedback: “Great event, really good quality of visitors who really came to purchase.” The sentiment is echoed by Wild Chef, who says “Extremely well organized. Great opportunity to reconnect with current distributor teams together with new and key customers.”
In addition to regular features such as Artisan Alley (showcasing small batches and traditionally produced goods), Plant Base (vegetarian, vegan and everything else plant-derived), The Best Cellar and Liquid Alliance (dealing in beverages of all sorts), popular show attractions also include the New Product Showcase, NZ Chef’s competitions and Baking New Zealand’s Innovation Kitchen. Haimes says the range of exhibitors and carefully designed features contribute to an engaging and rewarding experience for vendors and delegates alike. “We’ve created a rounded experience which has helped make the most of everyone’s time, helping each individual meet their personal objectives.”
The event also serves as an opportunity for learning and skills development with the popular Seminar Series joined for the first time in 2023 by Liquid Alliance Masterclass workshops showing the creative use of liquor in bars or restaurants.
Haimes says the response to the event has surpassed expectations and the litmus test has come back with the right result. “It’s been a tough and truly unprecedented time for the industry. But Kiwi hospitality has shown its resilience once again, with the indomitable Kiwi spirit shining through. We’re looking forward to some productive years before we return in 2025.”
The next Fine Food New Zealand is scheduled for 29 June – 1 July 2025.