The Baltics’ major food fair Riga Food 2020 gathered 400 food companies from 30 countries presenting their products and services at Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre in early September.
“In spite of disbelief, uncertainty and the current situation in the world, the 25th food fair Riga Food 2020 took place, and it was recognised by entrepreneurs as a safe platform for new business and a great place to learn about innovations, technologies and solutions in the Baltic food industry," emphasizes Rolands Nežborts, a manager of the Riga Food fair.
Visitors to Riga Food 2020 could set on a gastronomic tour visiting the national stands of 10 countries ?Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, Moldova, Japan, Ukraine and Poland. The National Stand of Japan aroused great interest and resonance in society and the media, as it was a great opportunity to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony and enjoy a cup of tea, which is one of Japan’s main exports to the European Union. During the four event days, the exhibition was attended by 18,100 people.
The opening ceremony of Riga Food 2020 was attended by the Minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards, the Chairman of the Board of the International Exhibition Company BT 1 Viesturs Tīle and the Riga Food Manager Rolands Nežborts.
“Agriculture, food production and processing industries play an important role in the Latvian economy. Latvia’s domestic products are already being exported to more than 150 countries around the world. In order to promote cooperation opportunities and give everyone a chance to present their products, it is important to promote cooperation and the emergence of ideas also at exhibitions! With a view to further strengthening of the local market, promoting competition in the European Union and in the global markets, it is important to continuously take care of the stability of sectors, as well as opportunities to develop new markets at the international level,” said the minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards at the opening of the Riga Food 2020 exhibition.
The exhibition was attended by the ambassadors and diplomats of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Moldova, Japan, Canada, Russia, China, Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and other countries.
“Riga Food was an excellent opportunity to present our Moldovan products and investment opportunities not only to the Latvian audience, but also to all visitors of this important international food industry event,” – said Andrian Rosa, ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Latvia.
The exhibition was also attended by the Trade House Ukraina, which offered to Latvian export companies to cooperate with the Ukrainian trade networks Auchan, Velyka Kyshenia, Marketopt, Nash Krai, Rost, Velmart, Tavria V, VARUS, ATB, MegaMarket, EkoMarket, Billa, Pcholka Market and Fozzu.
“We gained a lot of new contacts during the exhibition and signed seven new contracts for a total amount of EUR 500 000,” pointed out Alexander Petrov, a representative of the Trade House Ukraina.
Baltic food innovations
Healthy and innovative – these two words accurately describe the food industry in Latvia over recent years. Not only products are innovative, but also the process of creating them! Every visitor to the Riga Food 2020 could see this, as Baltic companies presented their latest innovations and technologies in the food and beverage production and processing.
Visiting the Innovation Stand presented by the Latvian Technological Center, visitors could acquaint themselves with the latest products and solutions developed by entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers in the food industry. The offer was quite wide - healthy snacks, horseradish products, spirulina grown in Latvia, plant extracts obtained by the ultrasonic method, natural food packaging materials, etc. According to the entrepreneurs themselves, they were very inspired by the great interest of the visitors, but the recognition and recommendations of the professionals were especially valuable.
"Some entrepreneurs have already managed to sign export contracts during the exhibition, not to mention contracts with the local chains of stores and restaurants. The participants of the Innovation Stand were addressed by Rimi klēts and Elvi, the chain of SIA Lāči stores, Sky & More Gourmet and Kalnciems market. Someone was offered to sell their products in Jurmala, another - in an international online store. By the way, after the exhibition, the products of our participant - hand disinfectants - will be sold at Finnish airports,” told Ints Vīksna, a chairman of the board at Latvian Technological Centre.
The AREI Innovation Stand presented the hemp variety ‘Pūriņi’ and the new variety of hulless barley ‘Kornelija’, a high-quality full-grain ingredient for niche and functional products. The developers offered cooperation opportunities in research for seed growers, farmers and processors and grain testing that would ensure the development of new niche and functional products.
National Stand of Latvia
A number of Latvian companies ? Aloja Starkelsen, Ādaži meat house, Jaunpils pienotava, Top Food, Mosenc, Valežs ? presented Latvian-made sweets, spices, jams, meat products, cheese, coffee and many other delicious foods in the National Stand of Latvia. Latvian bread producers were represented there by the members of Latvian Bakers’ Association ? Dona, N. Bomja bakery “Lielezers”, Saldus maiznieks, Lāči and Hanzas maiznīca.
Latvian fish processing companies at Riga Food 2020
The Latvian Canned Fish stand of the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics (AREI) attracted a great deal of interest with the products presented by the Latvian fish processing companies Karavela, Banga Ltd and Verģi. “Both foreign businessmen and our people were interested in our products. Will new foreign partners be found? Time will show. But it is already clear that the opportunity to inform Latvian citizens about fish products in order to break stereotypes and show diversity, quality and taste properties of these products was a worthwhile opportunity,” told Ingūna Gulbe, Dr. Oec, Assoc. Prof., a head of the Agricultural Market Promotion Section of the Technology Transfer Centre, AREI.
The tempting aroma of grilled food filled the Grill Park at the Riga Food fair where grilling competition, grilling theatre shows, masterclasses kindly offered by a chef Ingmars Ladigs, a chilli-eating contest and tasting sessions were offered. In a side-by-side exhibition of BBQ grills and accessories, visitors could acquaint themselves and buy a variety of grilling equipment, from all types of grills to BBQ tongs. Experts shared tips and answered questions about different types of grills and accessories.
Premium quality food competitions
As every year, premium quality food competitions took place during the international Riga Food fair. The Riga Food 2020 medals were awarded to Lolita Rudzīte for Linden Honey Spring harvested in the Skrīveri Arboretum Park, Maija Malnača for Polyfloral Honey harvested in Viesīte municipality and Ilze Grava-Niķe for Linden Honey harvested in Riga.
The winners of the Dairy Quality Competition: in the category of the milk curd with fat content up to 0.5% the Riga Food 2020 Gold Medal was awarded to the skimmed milk curd with fat content up to 0.5% produced by Straupe Dairy Cooperative (master Gunta Tetere); in the category “The 2019/2020 New Dairy Product”, the product group “Cheese” to the cheese “Smiltene” produced by JSC Smiltenes piens (master Vita Puriņa). The 1st place in the product group “Fermented milk products” was awarded to “Lakto. Rhubarb. Gooseberry” produced by FOOD UNION (JSC Rīgas piena kombināts, master Viktors Biziks); but the winner in the product group “Sweet curd products” was the curd cake with orange jam produced by JSC Smiltenes piens (master Vita Puriņa). The 1st place the product group “Ice cream” and the Riga Food 2020 Gold Medal was awarded to the chocolate ice cream with the addition of lingonberry in a chocolate waffle cone produced by SIA Rūjienas saldējums (master Sanda Gūte).
"Dairies have once again surprised consumers with new, unprecedented combinations of flavours and aromas. Companies have proven over the years that we can be creative and innovative. Combining master skills, ingenuity and the best ingredients, every single company managed to surprise us, therefore, we invite people not only to taste the products from this great list of winning products, but also to choose high-quality made in Latvia dairy products, thus supporting our dairy farmers and processors,” pointed out the chairman of the Latvian Dairy Committee Jānis Šolks.
In the category “The 2019/2020 Packaging for a New Dairy Product”, the 1st place and the Riga Food 2020 Gold Medal was awarded to the packaging of the sour milk drinks “Turkish Ayran”, 500 g, and “Turkish Yogurt. Mango”, 300 g, produced by JSC Tukuma piens.
The 26th international trade fair for food, beverages, food processing, technology and packaging, HoReCa equipment and services Riga Food 2021 will take place at Ķīpsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga three days ? from 9?11 September 2021.