Magazines Archives - 2010 Dec
NRA Show 2011
Story 2 - Cover Story
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Motel-Hotel Show, better known as the NRA Show, is an established event on the US trade show calendar that continues to grow in stature internationally, attracting an increasing number of participants from Asia year after year. Yoki Wong finds out why the NRA Show is such a big hit and what foodservice, restaurant and hospitality executives and professionals can look forward to in the 2011 show.
Asian participation in the NRA Show, billed as the greatest restaurant and hospitality show on earth, has been increasing every year for more than a decade and according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the organisers of the annual event, Asian participation is expected to grow even more in the upcoming show.
The NRA Show 2011, which will incorporate International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB) 2011, will take place from May 21-24 at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
There are more than 115 countries attending the show and Asian buyers represent almost 20% of international attendees.
More Asians are attending the show because there is more trade between the US and Asia. Also, because they feel that the show provides them with the networking opportunity they need to expand their international operations and to buy high-quality equipment and food products from US companies.
Comparing the number of buyers who come from abroad, the Chinese represent a large international group. Another large group expected are buyers from Japan.
Asian buyers are a significant component in the NRA Show. Asia is becoming an increasingly attractive market for the US, whose exports to Canada, Mexico, China, and South-east Asia have responded to rapid economic growth and/or trade liberalisation. In 2011, the biggest gains are expected to come from Asia.
A recently released Situation and Outlook for Global Food and Agricultural Trade report by Michael J Dwyer, director-global trade and biofuels analysis office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service/US Department of Agriculture, indicates that the US food and agricultural sector exports are targeted to rebound to a near record US$113 billion in 2011.
Dwyer attributes this to rising demand in developing countries, falling dollar and higher prices. Processed food exports are also expected to hit record highs to exceed US$50 billion next year.
According to the report, five of the top 10 US processed product export markets are from Asia. The regions biggest buyer of US processed products is Japan (in third place after Canada and Mexico) with total purchases valued at US$5.1 billion. The other four Asian economies are South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. China in particular is experiencing a tremendous growth spurt.
While Japan ranks third in the top 10 US processed product export markets, China is growing a lot with 390% growth in the past decade and will surpass many of the other countries in the near future.
The NRA Show can be viewed as one of the primary vehicles in driving this growth. NRA Show 2011 will bring together under one roof the latest products and services offered by more than 1,800 exhibitors across more than 950 categories. These range from the latest equipment innovations and technologies to a vast selection of quality food products from leading US brands and many parts of the world.
The NRA has a helpful tip for buyers, especially those who are new to the show. All participants can increase their product offering by looking for special Hot New Products booth signs that introduce innovative products at NRA Show 2011. Special discounts for various products are available only to show attendees for order placed on the exhibit floor. To benefit from these discounts and save, participants should look for Blue Plate Special signs.
This years show attracted nearly 58,000 attendees from 115 countries across the world, a double-digit growth of 11.2%, an impressive endorsement of the show in a world that is still struggling with the global financial crisis.
I come to the NRA Show because it is an opportunity to learn and find out what innovations are going on in the industry, not only in equipment but also in food and technology, Jon Luther, chairman and CEO of Dunkin Brands, told the NRA after attending this years show. He was just one of the thousands of top management level executives at the 2010 show.
While the stars of the show are obviously the products and technologies on display on the show floor, there is so much more than just product sourcing at the NRA Show. There are many facets to the show that make it a truly unique and must attend event for the global F&B trade.
One of the outstanding features of the NRA Show is its education sessions. The 2011 show will offer more than 70 such sessions, available free to all registered visitors. In fact, the NRA Show is believed to be the only show in the world to offer such a huge selection of such sessions without charging a fee.
These sessions on industry hot topics will provide invaluable learning experiences and help the tens of thousands of foodservice professionals in attendance grow their businesses. Topic tracks are divided in five main categories: Jobs and careers; profitability and entrepreneurship; food and healthy living; sustainability and social responsibility; and technology.
Visitors who are keen to make the most of these education sessions can plan and select the topics that they are interested in, ahead of the show. Derrek Hull, NRAs manager, marketing & communications, and also the blogger- in-chief of the associations blogsite Floored!, says: Attendees can find all education sessions in the NRA Show website. So they can have access to the entire calendar before the show. In this calendar, they will have the opportunity to plan their time at the event such as the number of hours in which they will be attending the sessions and time used to network, visit pavilions, and so on.
While the complete line-up on the education sessions is still being put together, Hull reveals that some of the key topics that were a hit at the 2010 show will be available again in the upcoming show. We will certainly discuss Menus Trends, The Future of Restaurant Technology, Managing New Marketing Initiatives, Going International, and much more, he says.
Best innovations in the market
One of the highly anticipated events at the NRA Show every year is the prestigious Kitchen Innovations Award. Organised by the NRA, the award celebrates the most cutting-edge equipment and solutions for commercial kitchens.
Winning recipients will be featured in the Kitchen Innovations Pavilion at NRA Show 2011 where attendees will be able to participate in interactive sessions and take part in demonstrations of the most ground-breaking equipment available in commercial kitchens. Applications for participating in the Best Innovations/Kitchen Innovations Award 2011 are open worldwide; the deadline is January 7.
An International Powerhouse
The NRA Show can also pride itself as an international powerhouse with its Specialty Pavilions which include the internationally known American Food Fair, Smart Design, Technology Pavilion, Kitchen Innovations and the International Cuisine Pavilion. At the 2010 show, the NRA introduced a new pavilion, the Conserve Solutions Center, an area completely dedicated to green products and solutions.
Each pavilion in itself offers a wide variety of benefits to attendees. The Technology Pavilion, for example, hosts special demonstrations, education sessions, and exhibits focusing on restaurant point-of-sale systems, wireless technologies, inventory control, customer relationship management and much more.
The International Pavilion at the show are another highlight among attendees. Every year companies from all over the world come to exhibit at the NRA Show and provide attendees the best that their countries have to offer.
Growing in tandem with buyer delegations from this region, key markets in the Asia-Pacific region, including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India are also having a bigger presence on the exhibition floor. Governmental and private trade entities from these countries have expressed interest in increasing their presence in the show, bringing more suppliers and exhibitors from Asia to showcase their products in this unique event, says Hull. He continues: Executives at the booth of the Malaysia Export Department told us that this was their first time at the show and they were happily surprised with the buyers responses to their offers. They said that attendees were very interested in their products and they will return in a more robust way in 2011.
Also, Nippon Heater Kiki Co Ltd, a Japanese company with many innovative products being launched in the marketplace, was greatly satisfied with its presence at the show. Hidetake Ito, who is the executive director at Nippon Heater, commented that some products are not even available for purchase but due to the importance of the show, it brought all 2010 new products to be showcased at the May event.
Other leading country pavilions at the show included those from France, Spain and Canada.
World Culinary Showcase
Launched at this years NRA Show, the World Culinary Showcase will return next year to celebrate some of the worlds most exciting and renowned chefs. Many other foodservice shows offer culinary demonstrations and even a cook-off. However, most shows focus on hosting national or regional chefs. The NRA Show takes this a notch up by inviting chefs from all continents to perform culinary demonstrations and interact with attendees, making it a truly world-class event.
Among the chefs that performed culinary demonstrations in 2010 were Mexican celebrity chef Federico Lopez, Rick Bayless, Turkish chef Hande Bozdogan who heads the Istanbul Culinary Institute, New Zealands Graham Brown who won Culinary Olympics Gold Medal winner in 1988 and 1997 and French chefs Nils Noren and David Arnold from the French Culinary Institute. Invitations for 2011 are still to be made, says Hull.
He explains that the purpose of the World Culinary Showcase is to promote unique cuisines and also highlight how chefs around the world are using different and sometimes similar ingredients to elaborate their food. It is not a publicity feature. Some are promoting local and national cooking demonstrations but never an international demonstration that unite chefs from all continents.
Profiting from valuable social events The NRA Show has created a venue to make international participants stay connected this is the International Trade Center (ITC) which features private business meeting rooms for one-on-one meetings with suppliers, import-export counseling, translation services, and more.
Another show highlight is the opportunity to network with industry leaders in a relaxed setting at the International Reception. Executives who attend and exhibit at NRA Show want to expand their international operations with industry players from all over the world.
In addition, by attending the show with a group organised by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and FAS , attendees can profit from exclusive networking opportunities and meetings. For example, the geographic diversity within the Chinese delegation creates many new contacts and learning opportunities for the participants.
With so much going on at just one show, it comes as no surprise that the NRA Show is making a name for itself as a premier venue for foodservice and hospitality professionals to source for new products and services, build relationships and network, learn from experts and peers, as well as explore the latest trends in F&B, equipment, training and cooking techniques.
Taking stock of what the NRA Show offers the international attendee, it is safe to say that many will find it a show that can be extremely productive with great ROI, both measurable and otherwise.
David Gilbert, NRAs chief operating officer, puts it succinctly: The NRA Show and IWSB gather top industry leaders and trendsetters in one place, at one time, to present new ideas, inspiration and techniques for business enhancement. Trends, challenges, technologies and best practices are constantly evolving in the restaurant industry, so restaurant operators need to stay up-to-speed to maximise their business opportunities now and into the future.
The show provides attendees with a years networking, education, trendwatching and inspiration in just four days. It is for the unparalleled package of offers that it provides to its attendees that the NRA Show has become the industrys most comprehensive trade show and marketplace for foodservice and hospitality professionals. ra
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