At HostMilano, in Search of Quality and Innovation

At HostMilano, in Search of Quality and Innovation

Originally Posted at: Host Millano

Food to go, specialty coffee and food halls are transforming hospitality also in the Middle East.

For the past 43 editions, the buyers who have converged on Milan every two years from all over the world have been the driving force behind HostMilano. For the forthcoming edition, which will be held in fieramilano Rho from 13 to 17 October, some 700 high-profile hosted buyers from 63 countries are expected. They will include distributors, food&beverage managers, large and small retailers, importers and exporters, professionals in the catering, food service, out-of-home eating sectors, chefs and those involved in the hospitality industry. At the last edition of Host, a large number of these came from United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

And from the UAE comes Nabile Aityoussef , whose main business there is bakery and coffee within service stations. We asked him to tell us about the trends being seen in these interesting markets.

“In our industry (service stations), we can see an increase in Food to Go/Food for Now products with a focus on coffee. In general, the major trend is still specialty coffee, with a mix of local brands and international ones. Another main trend is the expansion of the Food Hall concept, like Time Out Market and Eataly.”

What will he be looking for at HostMilano 2023? “Primarily innovations and ways to improve our day-to-day operations. Our customers are looking for great food that can be served quickly, so our focus is on how to improve operations and flavours at the same time.”

As for sustainability, there is a certain demand, but it is not a top priority when customers are selecting a store. “However, there is a strong push from the legislator to go down that route.”

When asked about the evolution of hospitality in the last few years in the UAE, Aityoussef notes that customers are now better  informed about and more aware of what they want to eat, and expect more and more from the restaurants they visit. “In the United Arab Emirates, the local scene has become more professional, creating innovative, high-end concepts that can easily compete with well-known brands. Customers are still looking for both quality and value for money. They are ready to pay the extra money if their demands for quality and consistency are met.”

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