28 May 2020

Sirha 2021 will be conscious, demanding, and unifying

Marie-Odile Fondeur - Manager of Gl events Food Service Division - addresses the stakes and issues facing Food trade fairs, and the holding of Sirha in January 2021.  

How do you relate to the ongoing major crisis in the restaurant and Food Service industry?  

From a structural and cultural point of view, we are all in the same boat and pull together. On March 14th, when all restaurants were forced to close down in France, then in the following days when we had to reposition all of our trade fairs and events, the world of Food Service and the event management industry lost an essential aspect of its spirit: sharing with customers and visitors was no longer possible… Yet, such exchanges are essential not only to the economy but also to develop ideas and enjoy the human experience we all need in our everyday life. For two months now, our teams have been focusing their energy, as is the case with restaurants, on reopening and getting back to our wonderful mission of connecting professionals with their public. 

Why move Sirha Green to this autumn and why maintain the event in 2020?  

Indeed, Sirha Green will be held at the Sucrière venue in Lyon from September 6 to 8, with a smaller format that will however be more dynamic thanks to two dedicated forum spaces and a focus on producers. Those exhibitors who are already registered will follow the move, and we now also offer more flexible conditions for participation. We are deeply involved with the sector, as it is an essential driver for our markets. As the organisers of the event, our responsibility is to offer players in the Food Service industry an opportunity to meet and exchange again. Since its first edition in 2018, Sirha Green addresses essential issues such as the new forms of food service and catering, new social and environmental requirements … For us, cancelling the event or moving it to 2021 or 2022 would have felt like we were abandoning these strategic themes which relevance is even more enhanced by the current health crisis. 

September is already quite busy with Omnivore and the selection events for the Bocuse d’Or and Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. How have you adjusted in this respect? 

Each day that passes requires more repositioning efforts! Omnivore will be held at the Parc Floral venue in Paris from September 12 to 15. This will mark the fifteenth edition of the event and will celebrate young and creative cuisine, placing the emphasis on young chefs who are at the forefront of the health crisis. These chefs also illustrate the extraordinary solidarity of the world of cuisine toward the carers and the most vulnerable. The ‘Mondial de la Bière’ – an event dedicated to craft beers - joins Omnivore at the Parc Floral venue from September 11 to 13, instead of May. We hope this will be a great opportunity to celebrate a positive revival of the sector. 
Regarding the contests, we are currently working on new formats and dates for the continental selection events, in line with the latest developments in international health recommendations. However, the grand finales of the Bocuse d’or and Coupe du monde de la Pâtisserie are more than ever eagerly awaited in January 2021 at the Sirha by chefs and countries who are eager for excellence and sharing.

A return to normal seems difficult in the current context. How do you see the 2021 edition of Sirha in Lyon? 

Over the past weeks, we have received strong testimonials from chefs, restaurateurs, and entrepreneurs who are all eager to attend the Sirha trade fair in January. Some have cancelled all their activities in the second semester 2020 to focus on the Sirha. For many the event will be exceptional, symbolising a revival of our industry. We are fully aware of our responsibility and the inherent stakes. Since last September, well before the onset of the health crisis, we have been working on rolling out a brand and content strategy that aims to bring concrete answers to players in the indispensable economy that is Food Service. Sirha 2021 will be conscious, well-considered, demanding. It will be all the more unifying and exciting.  

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