Gastronomic Growth: Highlights from the 2024 International Foodservice Forum

March 2024

On Thursday 7th March, the doors opened to the 42nd International Foodservice Forum, Europe’s grand stage for gastronomic connoisseurs. Held annually alongside INTERNORGA in Hamburg, this illustrious event drew 2000 eager attendees, hungry for the latest insights and innovations shaping the culinary landscape.

Nestled within the impressive confines of the new Congress Center Hamburg, the day was abuzz with captivating lectures and bustling networking sessions. It was an occasion where industry leaders, innovators and enthusiasts convened, making meaningful connections and sharing insights that would resonate far beyond the confines of the event.

Let’s delve into some of the key takeaways that promise to shape the future of gastronomy:

  1. Sustainability Takes Centre Stage: One of the overarching themes of the forum was the growing importance of sustainability in the foodservice industry. Speakers highlighted for brands to embrace eco-friendly practices, reduce food waste, and invest in sustainable measures. Prod Dr. Carolyn Hutter emphasised the need for sustainability initiatives to resonate with guests, advocating for personalised offerings and leveraging technology to inform consumers about the environmental and health aspects of dishes.
  2. People-Powered Success: Henry McGovern, the Chief Emotional Officer at McWin Capital Partners, underscored the pivotal role of people in driving success. McGovern’s insights emphasised that passion and discipline trump competence and experience, every time.
  3. Global Expansion and Unity: Gamze Cizreli, the visionary Founder & Chairperson at BigChefs, shared ambitious international growth plans, emphasising the importance of global unity in fostering success. Cizreli’s vision of expanding BigChefs to 15 countries by the end of 2024 showcased the power of shared strength and collaboration in driving growth and innovation.
  4. Resilience Amidst Challenges: Despite facing challenges such as staff shortages, VAT and inflation, the foodservice sector in Germany showcased remarkable resilience. Katrin Wissmann’s discourse on Growth & Resilience shed light on the sector’s impressive revenue generation of 17 billion euros, signalling a promising trajectory of recovery and growth post-pandemic.
  5. Innovation through Technology: The forum also highlighted the role of technology, particularly AI, in enhancing efficiency and reducing waste in foodservice operations. Driven by a need to increase productivity and sustainability, brands are increasingly turning to AI to optimise processes and meet ever evolving consumer demands.
  6. Cultural Diversity and Culinary Exploration: The forum celebrated the rich tapestry of culinary diversity and encouraged attendees to embrace cultural exploration. Speakers like Gamze Cizreli highlighted the significance of international expansion and the value of incorporating diverse flavours and cuisines into menus. Embracing cultural diversity not only enriches culinary experiences but also fosters inclusivity and connection within the global food community.
  7. Wellness and Mindful Eating: Wellness emerged as a prominent theme, with speakers emphasising the growing demand for healthier, more mindful dining options. Prof De. Carolyn Hutter’s insights into sustainability extended to the realm of health, advocating for menus that prioritise nutritious ingredients and transparent sourcing practices. Brands that prioritise wellness and offer nutritious, balanced menus are poised to resonate with health-conscious consumers and drive long-term success.
  8. Continuous Learning and Collaboration: Finally, the forum highlighted the value of continuous learning and collaboration in driving innovation and excellence. Attendees were encouraged to embrace a mindset of lifelong learning, staying curious, and seeking out opportunities for growth and development. By fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing, the foodservice industry can collectively propel forward, delivering unparalleled culinary experiences and driving positive change on a global scale.

We left the event brimming with positivity and excitement for the future of gastronomy!