The Aahar International Trade Fair

The Aahar International Trade Fair was held in Delhi from March 10 to March 14, 2015. It was a big draw, not only for the food and hospitality sector, but also for the wider consumer audience which was intrigued by the latest developments this space.

The fair was a good platform for businesses to showcase their up-and-coming technological innovation in the food and hospitality sector as well as aimed to provide national and international brands the opportunity to reach distribution channels and a broad spectrum of partners from across the country.

It was interesting to note that the provision of sustainability driven products and services have started to make an appearance at the fair in various forms. Be it cosmetics sourced from natural ingredients to energy efficient ovens, from uniforms and linen made from sustainable fibres to small scale pollution control equipment for hotels. Organic and health food also marked a strong presence with a dedicated hall for the organic food businesses.

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There were two Fairtrade certified-brands – Amira Pure Foods and Nature Bio-Foods displayed their Fairtrade and Organic rice alongside a wider portfolio for distribution in the domestic market. While the awareness of Fairtrade amongst the businesses at the fair was limited, there was significant interest and engagement with how Fairtrade could benefit their hotel guests and how it could enable them to demonstrate their Social Responsibility within their existing supply chains.

As more and more Fairtrade products become available across the country in the coming months, one looks forward to the hospitality and food industry sourcing more from Fairtrade producers not only to bolster their sustainability credentials but also because sustainable supply chain make sustainable businesses.

Food and Grocery Forum of India Convention, 2015

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What happens when leaders of the food, grocery and retail industry get together to crystal-gaze? Fairtrade India’s commercial team participated in the Food and Grocery Forum of India Convention that was held in Mumbai in January. The who’s who of the food industry was present – introspecting, debating and talking about everything food.

Industry captains alluded to the Indian consumers who are unique because they are price-sensitive, discerning, quality-conscious, and experimental inherently. One CXO of a top retail organisation pointed out, “Double-guessing the consumer is the name of the game. Quirky though it may sound, the price sensitive Indian consumer is a big consumer of high-end premium products as long as the messaging it right, sometimes it takes an international food brand in India to make a presence in the market before we get our act together.”

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Martin Hill, Commercial Director at Fairtrade International, talked about the international scene. What struck a chord with the audience was the insight that globally, consumers are now asking how their food is produced and sourced. “The current generation is environmentally and socially conscious, they are willing to make purchase decisions in line with their values, provided the communication is credible,” said Hill, who has over 30 years of retail experience. “This also offers retailers a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves, to add to their image as sustainable or ethical and develop a loyal customer base.”

As the food industry looks towards innovations to attract and retain consumers, one of the key questions emerges – will sustainability be part of their vision.