Sial Toronto finds new home for 2012


Just days before the world’s largest food trade exposition starts in Paris, officials from the Sial Group came to Toronto to discuss plans for next spring’s Sial Toronto show.

The trade show, set to run April 30 to May 2, will be held at a new venue: the Direct Energy Centre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place grounds. Last year's Sial Canada took place at the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre; a first for the event, which is traditionally held in Montreal.

Officials from Sial Canada say the new Toronto venue offers them more room and better access for attendees wishing to drive in, rather than taxi. The new digs will also give show organizers the ability to add more space for exhibitors if needed.

“We have 230,000 square feet of space available now but we have room to grow,” Thierry Quagliata, Sial Canada’s sales director said during an event organized by Sial on Tuesday.

Two years ago, show organizers decided to hold the event in Montreal one year and Toronto the next. The first show in Toronto drew 12,415 attendees from 60 countries, according to figures supplied by Sial. There were 697 exhibitors on 193,000 square feet of floor space.

Quagliata was pleased with the Toronto show, but said it came with its own unique challenges, including the fact that other food trade shows already that take place in the city.

Sial officials said the satisfaction rate at the last Toronto show was high and pointed to several successes among exhibiting companies. For instance, Tiffany Gate, a company that sells prepared foods, was able to connect with a buyer from Loblaw Companies during the show. Today, Tiffany Gate supplies Loblaws and Provigo stores.

For next year’s show, Quagliata said his organization aims to draw more than 14,000 visitors and expects over 700 exhibitors. Organizers plan to arrange the floor by themes: foodservice, food retail, provincial pavilions and international pavilions. One part of the show will also be dedicated to SET Canada, a show within a show for food equipment exhibitors.

Other highlights on the show floor will include Sial Innovation, a contest to award the best food products in North America, La Cuisine by Sial, a chef’s competition, and two category specific awards competitions: Coffee Cup by Sial, which recognizes excellence in coffee quality, and Olive d’Or, an international competition that awards the best olive oils from 15 countries.

Xavier Poncin, trade show director for Sial Canada, said his organization is also aiming to get more international visitors to the show. Specifically he wants Sial Toronto to be a major trade exhibition for the food industry in the Midwestern part of the United States. As a result, he wants to increase the number of visitors to the show from states near Ontario, such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and parts of New York.

He pointed out that the Fancy Food Show is held in San Francisco and New York City, but there is little in the way of food shows for the industry in the Midwest. Toronto, he noted, is a short plane ride for many food industry executives in that region of the United States.

Sial also intends to target the Mexican food industry as well as promoting itself to businesses in the Greater Toronto Area.

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