Milan, May 22, 2007 – A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo, the maiden shows held at Fieramilano Rho between May 5 through 9, 2007, proved a major new attraction and opened up business prospects for breads, pastry, confectionery and pizza products and technology.
Numbers speak volumes: 200 exhibitors gathered across a 30,000 sqm-large showfloor and attracted over 30,000 professional visitors, of whom 10% coming from 91 countries. Official groups of visitors from Turkey, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Mexico, Russia and Serbia and official delegations from foreign bakers and pastry makers federations emphasized the international outreach of the event.
These numbers, significant as they are for the two complementary shows, do not yet fully reflect the essence of the event. As intended from the outset the project was meant to offer baked goods industries a venue expressly designed to not only bring together manufacturers and trade operatives of the various branches of this market but above all to unleash the potentials of a vibrant sector of the economy. That’s why the two events showcased the leading machinery and equipment makers for bakery, confectionery, pastry and pizza industries.
Indeed, the numbers reflect the essential quality of maiden shows that were hailed by exhibitors and visitors alike because they successfully delivered on their expectations and exigencies and showcased the best in baked food technology.
Exhibiting companies also expressed their unanimous satisfaction in successfully reaching out to a select public of qualified visitors by displaying, in a superior location, operating machinery featuring groundbreaking innovations and adding value to the latest generation of ingredients and semi-products.
Trade visitors – bakers, pastry makers, confectioners, pizza makers, modern retail, restaurateurs and catering –  keen to expand their business comparison shopped between the stands and generated a good deal of orders and transactions.
Although, maiden shows do not get the official qualification of international events, the fair held from May 5 through 6 at halls 14 and 18 at Fieramilano drew world-class technology makers and attracted decision-making trade operatives from all regions of the globe that testified to the international outreach of the gathering.
Many factors contributed to that success: the selection of Milan and its futuristic Exhibition Centre at Rho secured visibility and promotional impact for the showcasing; the coincidence with Tuttofood enabled in particular foreign nationals to increase returns on time and sojourn investment; and, mostly, an ambitious project to rally around market forces that benefited from the unremitting commitment of its promoters: the SIPAN Consortium, grouping over 70 highly qualified companies, the Italian Federation of Bakers, Pastry-makers and Associates, the leading trade association of the industry, which contributed to reaching out the vast community of operatives and principally the artisans, and F&M Fiere e Mostre. This partnership proved a winner for the future of A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo, as well as for the prospects of baked food industry at large.
The convergence of key players has helped generate a major comprehensive platform that blends promotion and demonstrations, learning and business.
Workshops at A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo were one of the main attractions of the event and their most distinctive feature. Apart from the catching up on new technology and the hard business work, cooking demos involved visitors in a welcome relaxing and creative ambience that is the hallmark of baked food industry.
Such an opportunity was offered by the Italian Federation of Bakers, Pastry-makers and Associates (FIPPA), which organized two complementary events. The first, titled The enterprise of the future: from outlets to production systems, featured a life-like breads and pastry making factory opening up to diversification in product range, in the wake of the market-oriented Bersani decree. The enterprise on display switched from mere purchase outlet to full-fledged production system and enabled visitors to assess every new technology in operation, from product making to profit margin computing and from use of displays to client servicing. The products kept rolling out fresh from the ovens thanks to the participation of 60 people from the Young Bakers Group, affiliated to the Federation, who made the life-like production line of the new age the must-stop point for all visitors streaming into the hall.
The second event, titled The flavour trail and featured bakers from different Italian region who crafted typical local specialities that have contributed to the renown of Italian cuisine and to its reputation for creativity.
The Istituto Superiore di Arti Culinarie Etoile played a key role in the organization of the Grand Central Pastry Workshop A.B. Tech Expo, open every day during the show, and which unveiled the secret skills of pastry-making craftsmanship. To the  ractical explanations of renowned pastry chefs were added demonstrations by the Young Pastry-makers Group, co-ordinated by Maestro Luciano Pennati, with the co-operation of Chiriotti Editore. Also, within the ambit of the pastry workshop, the Pastry Window Dressing Italian Academy (CONVEIT), co-ordinated by Academy President Annamaria Lovatti, presented to the public a series of demonstrations on the art of window dressing, packaging and outlet decorating.
Pizza, the unrivalled icon of Italian cuisine, was duly honoured and proved a mouth-watering attraction, thanks to Maestro Renato Andrenelli, President of the Associazione Pizzaioli Marchigiani, who oversaw the superior staff of the Central Pizza Workshop “Pizza Agorà”, sponsored by Greci Industria Alimentare, Caseificio Funetta and Heineken Italia–Birra Moretti and animated by Molino Alimonti, Molino Colombo, Molino of Vigevano and Molino Pagani.

The programme of tutorials at A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo offered the trade visitors a major opportunity to acquire the knowledge indispensable to rise up to the challenges posed by new technology and business trends in baked food industry.
On that score, the roundtable on Bakers, Institutions and Consumers: New market, New Standards, New Prospects, organized by FIPPA and co-ordinated by its President Edvino Jerian, proved highly significant. The findings of a survey commissioned by Italian Federation of Bakers, Pastry-makers and Associates and conducted by PublicaReS delineated the contours of a vast new market that opens up new prospects for consumers looking to breads industry for greater community servicing. Also, speakers debated the new opportunities for bakeries – and their clients – to diversify their business and to operate as short-order eateries thanks to the recently implemented decree on deregulation known as Bersani decree.
It is estimated that consumers would save up to €580 per year by having breakfast or having a noontime snack at a bakery. The new regulations enabling artisan bakeries to let clients consume their products on the premises would likely translate into a business growth in that sector estimated at about 36% and would attract from other types of distribution a clientele estimated in the region of 1,400.000 consumers.
Prospects of pizza business also stood high on the agenda at A.B. Tech Pizza Expo with a conference of its own titled Pizza between tradition and innovation: prospects for an industry in search of a distinctive identity. The discussion made clear that to consolidate the drive for genuine homespun Italian pizzas vocational training for pizzaioli needs to be upgraded. According to the findings of a survey presented by Luciano Sbraga of the Italian Federation of Commercial Outlets (FIPE), pizza is the one dish that best illustrates the change in consumption patterns. As an increasingly popular one-course meal, averaging €5.02/kg per slice and €5.03 per dish, pizza offers room for growth at any type of eateries (and conveniently offsets the slight sag in traditional restaurant fares). The conjuncture is favourable for the 30,000 pizzerias (and pizzeria-restaurants) and the 15,000 take-away pizza parlours that provide jobs for about 180,000 people (averaging 4 persons per eatery).
A whole day (May 7) was dedicated to vocational learning and in-depth discussions, with the participation of  Milan’s Università degli Studi, the Alimentary Technology Italian Association (AITA) and Parma’s Università degli Studi. The topics addressed spanned flour quality, egg-based products, natural yeast, hardening, EC rules on nutritional information, artificial tongue and nose, functional breads, aromas for oven-baked products, anti-mould air-conditioning, online quality control. The tutorials brought together industrialists, researchers and experts who provided a thorough and inter-disciplinary picture of baked food industry that supplied a wealth of practical guidelines to trade operatives.
The national forum held on May 8, dedicated to Bakery Products Labelling and Traceability and promoted by FIPPA, was moderated by Edvino Jerian (Fippa President). It examined latest developments and provided guidance on the application of consumer health and safety standards, as illustrated by Mr Silvio Borrello, director general for Food Safety and Nutrition at the Ministry of Health.
The five-day A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo gathering proved that an event carefully tailored to the exigencies of the business community may be planned, initiated and organized in no great amount of time.
Indeed, where there’s a will there’s a way. As was reiterated by the heads of the respective promoting agencies Luciano Gnocchi (Consortium SIPAN President), Edvino Jerian (Fippa President), Claudio Gaibazzi (A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo Executive Board President) and Aldo Tagliabue (F&M Fiere & Mostre President), the two Milan-based shows have restored visibility to a thriving industry and have enabled exhibitors and visitors alike to unleash their potentials in an event especially designed for their ambitions.
A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo were not conceived behind closed doors by the board of some agency or organization that subsequently call on their members to rally to the sound of bugle. Rather, they were inspired and initiated by the corporate community itself, eager to fashion the proper tools to back up its expansion drive overseas. A.B. Tech Expo and A.B. Tech Pizza Expo are set on a course that moves upwards, in lockstep with a vibrant industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and reaches out a market of 58 million consumers in Italy. The show looks to Europe and its 25 members – the world’s largest commercial bloc with its 440 million consumers of baked food products – and to the global market beyond, to spread far and wide the time-tested excellence and versatility of Italy’s culinary lore and technology.     

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