Fresh off my trip to Detroit for Ford’s annual trend conference, I found myself seated in front of another interesting panel discussing leading trends.

This time, however, it was about the Food & Hospitality industry and was hosted by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency (PREDA), as a way to expand international business development opportunities between the US and Europe’s food, beverage, packaging, and processing industries.

The event was held at the International Culinary Center in New York and was a mix of business leaders, journalists, and professionals in the hospitality and food industry. The discussion titled “Paris – New York: The fresh take on Food & Hospitality trends” addressed topics such as culinary globalization, sustainable development, and health & nutrition. More below.

To begin, an introduction was made by Mr. Jean-Luc Margot-Duclot, Senior Vice President of the Paris Region Economic Development Agency. Mr Margot-Duclot reminded the audience of Paris Region position as a major economic hub, with the highest GDP in Europe, and its leading position in international exhibition and conference organization. Mr. Margot-Duclot highlighted Paris region as the perfect “business platform for foreign investment and US business,” thus the importance of developing and strengthening the food and hospitality business relationships between France and the US.

Ms. Karen Taylor, Founder and Editor of France Magazine, presented the speakers and monitored the discussion structured around the growth, dynamism, and trends in the agri-food and hospitality industries. Ms. Taylor emphasized the richness of ideas present in the Paris region trade shows calling it a “crosspollination of ideas, technologies, processes, and developments.” Speakers included Ms. Dorothy Cann Hamilton, Founder of the International Culinary Center, Ms. Valérie Lobry, Managing Director of Agriculture & Food division at Comexposium1, and Ms. Corinne Menegaux, Divisional Managing Director Food and Hospitality at Reed Expositions France2.

From left to right on the panel: Ms. Karen Taylor, Ms. Corinne Menegaux, Ms. Valérie Lobry, Ms. Dorothy Cann Hamilton, Mr. Jean-Luc Margot-Duclot

Ms. Lobry and Ms. Menegaux discussed culinary globalization as one of the biggest trends in the industry, stressing the different role it plays on the American and French food cultures. As an example, Ms. Lobry touched on the rising popularity of food trucks in America and its expansion in Europe. Ms. Menegaux emphasized how these trends have been embraced by the fairs such as Equip’Hotel where a gastronomic street food bus will serve food from top chefs in the industry. Paris Trade Shows such as SIAL, IPA and Equip’Hotel are great showrooms to live the “culinary globalization” and get an insight into the breadth of growing trends, technologies, processes, and businesses in the industry.

The discussion then took route on the theme of health & sustainability, particularly LOHAS, Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. Ms. Lobry talked about the impact it has played on the food and hospitality sector where consumer interest has shifted to one concerned on sustainable development and a healthy lifestyle. Ms. Cann Hamilton agreed by presenting different ways in which LOHAS has influenced the food and hospitality industries in the U.S. Ms. Menegaux pointed out how the Equip’Hotel trade show has become a business opportunity for exhibitors and visitors to experience the growing concern on the environment and well-being.

The discussion was followed by a networking session where attendees had the opportunity to network and to build and develop business relationships. I had the chance to talk with both Corinne Menegaux and Jean-Luc Margot-Duclot in greater detail about Paris’ influence on the US and globally.

All professionals agreed on the huge potential provided by the trade shows and conferences in the Paris region given their international presence, commercial opportunities, and access to markets. As Dorothy Cann Hamilton emphasized, Paris, France continues to be the “pinnacle of food,” and the “French benchmark still ranks as the highest in the world.” The trade shows in the Paris Ile-de-France Region are great international business platforms for visitors and exhibitors to promote their products and services at one of the world’s biggest marketplace.

The Paris Ile-de-France Region is the biggest region in the world that organizes international trade shows and conferences. The region welcomes over 10 million visitors each year for its annual 440+ fairs involving 100,000 exhibiting companies. This makes Paris Ile-de-France Region the first business destination in Europe and the best offer in the world for exhibition floors and showrooms.

PREDA was founded in 2001 by the Paris Ile de France Regional Council, the city of Paris, and the Chambers of Commerce. Their top priority is to support investment projects led by foreign companies and to promote the economic and technological image of the region internationally.


1COMEXPOSIUM, the French leader in the organization of trade fairs boasts 138 congresses and shows catering to the general public and professionals, covering 17 lines of business. Established in 124 countries, it plays host to 37,000 exhibitors and 3 million visitors. With a payroll of nearly 450, the firm posted a turnover of €195 million in 2009, organizing five of the Top Ten events in France: SIAL, Intermat, Equip Auto, SIMA and Foire de Paris.


2REED EXPOSITIONS FRANCE organizes 60 trade and consumer events covering 19 industries. It is a subsidiary of REED EXHIBITIONS (REED) , the world’s leading event organizer. Present in 39 countries, across the 5 continents, REED organises 500 events a year, in 44 industry sectors. It leverages exhibitions and trade publications, Internet services and direct marketing to offer businesses integrated solutions for developing in new markets.


SIAL – 21 – 25 October 2012

The world’s largest food innovation marketplace.

As a multi-specialist exhibition, SIAL brings all the food channels together under one roof, in 19 clearly identified sectors. Food, wine, retail, trade and foodservice professionals come and meet some 6,000 international and exhibitors from the food industry.


EQUIP’HOTEL PARIS – 11-15 November 2012

The major gathering for all the key players in the Café-Hotel-Restaurant business, Equip’Hôtel gathers increasingly more professionals from the Hotel and Catering sector. At Equip’Hôtel 2012, you are going to: see, hear, learn, exchange, discover… Equip’Hôtel is also 50 top chefs from all over the world, more than 120 events, and also all the innovations and new products in the industry!


IPA- 21 – 25 October 2012

World Food Process Exhibition

Equipment and processes for: the meat and fish industry and trade, the milk, liquids and semi-liquids products industry, solid product industry, all sectors.


EMBALLAGE 2012 Exhibition – 19- 22 November 2012

40th International Packaging Exhibition – The packaging innovation hub

Every two years, EMBALLAGE gathers the key packaging industry players from the food, cosmetics, health, luxury, retail and industry sectors… over several days rich on exchanges, many demonstrations and product presentations. EMBALLAGE delivers a global offer, from packaging machines to manufactured containers: raw materials; transformation machines; primary and secondary packaging machines; printing, marking and labelling machines; containers and packaging accessories.