MILAN – One of the mainstays of HostMilano has always been the macro area that covers foodservice, together with bread, pasta and pizza. This is where the professional kitchen of the future is presented, with the most innovative machinery designed not only to offer a whole set of new menu possibilities, but also to change our whole perception of the kitchen, whether producing haute cuisine or more standard commercial fare.
There were numerous new ideas at the fair, which is increasingly a platform for innovation. Visitors included some of today’s best-known chefs, while at the stands there was huge interest in the show-cooking demonstrations by such celebrities as Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Alessandro Borghese, Davide Oldani and Michele Biassoni.
And right at the heart of the area were the 61 products that won the Smart Label – Host Innovation Award, the prestigious distinction promoted by Fiera Milano in collaboration with POLI.design, with the support of ADI (the Industrial Design Association), selected by an international panel of judges and celebrated at a special award ceremony.
The highly successful dedicated exhibition area had a simple layout designed to highlight the features of the winning products, in a “hands-on” display. The ideas came from all the areas of HostMilano, from chairs to coffee machines, although many did focus on foodservice and catering.
There was the “warm fridge” to keep food at serving temperature, an app that organises the life cycle of foodstuffs in conformity with HACCP thanks to a QR code, an IoT system that tracks the condition of food as it is delivered, a drinking glass washer that collects steam and uses it to heat water, ‘digesters’ that process organic waste in situ with the circular economy in mind, and a machine for cooking eggs.
Lots of technology, then, but with one purpose: to make the work done in the kitchen faster, more efficient and more precise, involving less work and taking less time. Keeping a close check on all stages in the processing of food, from the selection of ingredients to the moment the meal is served – and also beyond, now that food delivery services have become so popular.
Training, in all its aspects, is another of HostMilano’s strongpoints, with over 800 teaching events. Companies organised demonstrations and gave informed tasting lessons with experts on hand to offer their specific ideas on how to get the most out of the technologies presented: a dynamic and very fruitful coming together of professional expertise and technological innovation.
There was also great interest in the Food-Technology Lounge run by ANIMA-Assofoodtec and EFCEM Italia, which explored a range of technical issues such as standards and regulations and their impact on 4.0 technologies, IoT and Artificial Intelligence, together with various productive meetings on the future of Food and Hospitality with international consultants from FCSI, Foodservice Consultants Society International.
“Assortment, professionalism and experience” are the key words that defined the event according to Melese Tiruneh, the Canadian buyer from 7Eleven, who of the various products “which we follow with our distributor”, considered convection ovens, design display units and coffee machines.
Much space was given over to things made in Italy: “the Italian approach to hospitality has been popular in Japan for many years,” said Masuda Brick, “but today more and more chefs and masters understand the difference between things that are actually ‘Made in Italy’ and other things that are just ‘Italian Sounding’, and they insist on machinery and ingredients that are genuinely Italian.
At HostMilano we find all the products that respond to this demand, along with a wide range of ideas from other countries.”