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Food India, Hospitality India make up 33rd essay of Aahar in New Delhi
Thursday, 01 March, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
Food India (dedicated to the processed food and beverage sectors) and Hospitality India (dedicated to the hotel, restaurant, equipment and supplies sectors) will constitute the 33rd essay of Aahar, which is Asia’s best-known fair dedicated to the food, beverage and hospitality industries and slated to take place at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, between March 13 and 17, 2018.   

This year, the gross area covered by the international food and hospitality fair [which is organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the premier trade promotion body of the Government of India], will be reduced by approximately 19,000sq m due to renovation at the venue. Last year’s edition covered an area of nearly 60,000sq m.

However, ITPO officials have stated that that would not dampen the spirits and this year’s event would be as successful as the previous one. In fact, they are expecting about 900 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors.

About 1,141 exhibitors from 17 countries participated in the event last year, and it was attended by about 67,472 visitors and 131 business delegates from 24 countries.

Hema Maity, general manager, ITPO, and in-charge, Aahar said, “ITPO’s aim is to remain focused on the project, and despite the reduction in area, we shall not in any way, reduce our capacity to deliver a great fair.”

The fair will be setup in Hall Numbers 7 to 12A and special hangars 1-6. There will be two entrances to it. While one will be from Gate No 10, near Pragati Maidan Metro Station, the other will be from Gate No 1 on Mathura Road. ITPO has also demarcated a lounge area near the latter for the culinary fest.

“Aahar is one of Asia’s best known brands in food and hospitality shows. The fair has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and has become the ultimate destination for global vendors and sourcing professionals to visit in the month of March,” Maity said, adding that it would also provide the industry an opportunity to network with the industry and establish business contacts, besides launching a host of products.

While inviting companies to participate in the fair, Maity stated that they can appoint agents and distributors for the promotion of their products or brand-building. They can also undertake market research, gauge market trends and identify what suits their product profile better.

According to ITPO, India’s food and grocery market is the sixth largest in the world. The Indian food sector is a high-growth sector with immense potential for value addition. It is expected to touch $482 billion by 2020.

The food processing industry in India accounts for 32 per cent of the country’s total food market and 14 per cent of the manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP). It is estimated that the food processing sectors have the potential to attract investments worth $33 billion over the next 10 years.

Moreover, the increased inflow of foreign tourists and business visitors, as well as the exposure of the Indian middle class to foreign lands, are among the major reasons leading to the growing demand for foreign cuisine and ingredients.

With the government keen to promote value addition in the food sector, Indian companies have also taken the initiative in a big way, resulting in a growing domestic demand for processed food.

While India is a major economy, showing consistent and substantial growth, India is, in fact, the fastest-growing economy in the world, the growing domestic and foreign business tourists have resulted in the huge demand for starred hotel properties which need high-grade services and facilities for the guests.
“Aahar is the largest and best-known event for sourcing food and beverage equipment and hospitality supplies and services in the subcontinent,” said Maity, adding that the Indian hospitality industry was considered a major attraction for foreign direct investment (FDI).

“It is clocking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent. Foreign investors are keen to make use of this opportunity to satisfy the market needs. It has been estimated that FDI worth over $6 billion came into the country, in the hospitality sector, during the last few years,” she said.

“Aahar is an order-writing show, where the hotel industry, restaurants, catering industry, institutions, importers, buyers and distributors can meet vendors to source the best of the products in the food, hospitality and equipment sectors,” Maity said.

Senior management professionals like chief executive officers (CEOs), managing directors, general managers, vice-presidents and directors formed a substantial part of the visitors during the fair last year, and this year too, a large number of such participants is expected.

Besides them, overseas buyers, trade delegations, importers, distributors, executive chefs, executive housekeepers, hospitality procurement heads, start-ups, entrepreneurs, purchase professionals, consultants from overseas, Indian industry associations, organised retailers, mega chains, hospitality service providers, diplomatic and commercial representatives of foreign missions in India, policy makers and other stakeholders are also expected to attend Aahar.
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