Promosalons and Paris Region Entreprises, with the support of the French Embassy in Korea, organised a networking and discussion forum on the theme “trends and innovation in the food industry” on 14 June 2016 in Seoul. This year, hundreds of events are being organised as part of France-Korea Year, celebrating 130 years of diplomatic relations between France and Korea. In the area of the economy,France-Korea Year is highlighting innovation and the development of industrial partnerships. The conference, co-organised by Paris Region Entreprises and Promosalons, encapsulated this idea perfectly. With the overarching theme “Paris-Seoul: Comparing views of trends and innovation in the food industry”, in two panel discussions – “Smart Agriculture and Smart Packaging – a healthy approach to food” followed by “Health and Enjoyment – an innovative approach to food”, there was ample opportunity for Korean and French food industry experts to discuss issues relevant to the sector.

The event was opened by the French Ambassador to Korea, Mr Fabien Penone , who reiterated the special partnership between France and Korea. The State visit of the French President to Korea on 3 and 4 November 2015, followed by that of President Park Geun-hye to France from 1 to 4 June 2016, gave fresh impetus to bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all areas, particularly the economy. With increased demand for French products in Korea, there are extensive opportunities in the food industry. Conversely, there is also a growing interest in Korean cuisine in France.

Delegates who came from Paris to meet Korean industry professionals included: Olivier Mellerio, Chairman of Promosalons, Corinne Moreau, Managing Director Promosalons, Frédérique de Bast, Marketing and Communications Director Paris Region Entreprises, and representatives of the trade shows ALL4PACK, Europain & Intersuc, Natexpo, SIAL and SIMA.

Korean participants included: Kang Young-Sun, Head of R&D at Tongyang Moolsan, Park In-Sik, Professor at Yonsei University and President of the Korean Association of Packaging Engineers, Moon Jung Hoon, Professor of Economics, Agriculture and Regional Development at Seoul National University and Director of the Food Biz Lab, and Kim Sung-Yoon, food writer for the Chosun Ilbo.

Paris Region – a strategic area for investment

Ms Frédérique de Bast emphasised that Paris and the surrounding region represent a land of opportunity for Korean companies, with a market of 12 million consumers and a strong, diversified economy. Its attractiveness is boosted by its privileged geographic location and outstanding transport infrastructure. 368 international direct investment projects came to fruition in Paris Region in 2014, and inward investment is likely to increase still further with ‘Grand Paris’, Europe’s largest urban renewal project. The Korean and French markets offer significant business opportunities for companies in both countries, as the presence of growing numbers of Koreans at exhibitions in Paris shows.

In the food sector, Paris Region has everything in place to attract international companies: production (50% of Paris Region is farmland), distribution (Rungis, the world’s biggest fresh food market), consumption (a population of 12 million, 46.7 million tourists per year), concentration of leading players in the sector, and huge R&D and innovation capacity.

Top innovative international trade shows in France offering significant business opportunities

Promosalons Managing Director Ms Corinne Moreau reiterated that France is a major exhibition hosting country with more than 450 international exhibitions held each year, including 320 trade shows. France is home to over 35 food industry exhibitions, some of which are leaders in their sector, an offer unique in the world.

One of the great strengths of these shows is their ability to bring together people and businesses from all over the world, since one in three visitors and almost 50% of exhibitors are international. French exhibitions are therefore real business springboards for Korean companies looking to grow internationally.

In addition, French trade shows boost business: according to a study carried out by the French event industry association, Unimev, every euro exhibitors spend on participating in trade shows generates €10 in sales in the 10 months following the event.

And finally Korea, 14th in terms of visitor numbers and 12th in the number of exhibitors, progresses year on year with 7,600 visitors and 740 exhibitors travelling to trade shows in France annually.

“Smart Agriculture and Smart Packaging – a healthy approach to food” at international trade shows in Paris Region

Mr Kang Young-Sun , Director of the R&D centre for smart agriculture, spoke of the increasing role of ICT in developing equipment and machinery, including glasshouses, precision agriculture and autonomous equipment.

Ms Karine Le Roy , International Communications Manager for SIMA, the Paris International Agri-Business Show, emphasised how much these concerns underpin R&D in agricultural machinery. The aim of innovation in precision agriculture and farm energy production is to produce more and better, by consuming less, out of concern for the environment.

Ms Aurélie Jouve , Communications Director for ALL4PACK, Paris’s combined packaging and handling show, added that packaging plays a key role in food safety and security. She highlighted a number of innovations to be found at the exhibition designed to combat food waste, improve product traceability or deliver products in ‘just the right quantity’ in response to new modes of consumption – all examples of packaging becoming ultra-smart.

Mr Park In-Sik , Professor at Yonsei University and President of the Korean Association of Packaging Engineers, presented examples of successes in state-of-the-art technology applied to this area, as well as the latest trends in Korea.

“Health and Enjoyment – an innovative approach to food”

Mr Moon Jung-Hoon , Professor of Economics, Agriculture and Regional Development at Seoul National University and Director of the Food Biz Lab, spoke about sustainable innovation and breakthrough innovation in food. Sustainable innovation promotes enjoyment and health by combining food and new technologies: biotechnology, Internet of Things, etc. Breakthrough innovation aligns products with current consumer trends, e.g. local products, foods made from insects, etc.

Ms Nelly Baron , Communications Director for the SIAL network, pointed out that food innovation is closely associated with the massive trend for health and enjoyment. She also said that SIAL had been a global innovation showcase for 50 years, with an Innovation area attracting an increasing number of Korean companies exhibiting innovative products throughout the SIAL network.

Ms Marie-Odile Fondeur , Director of the Food, Hotel & Catering division of GL Events Exhibitions which organises Europain & Intersuc, mentioned that current innovations tended towards low-fat foods rich in flavour. She also drew attention to the universal growth in snacking.

Ms Emily Gambaro , International Development Manager with SPAS Organisation, the organiser of Natexpo, highlighted that organic food is no longer a niche market but a steadily growing sector that is becoming more structured and innovative, developing ever healthier, safer and eco-friendly products.

Mr Kim Sung-Yoon , a food writer, talked about Korea’s gourmet culture and explained why food programmes are so popular on Korean television. He talked about the enthusiasm for sweet foods and desserts, as well as about the emergence of new trendy districts in Seoul with many fine restaurants.

To conclude, Promosalons Chairman Mr Olivier Mellerio highlighted the advantages of French trade shows: their ability to promote innovation, clear sector-based organisation enabling visitors to save time, and their international dimension which offers Korean professionals the guarantee of growing their business with companies from all over the world.

The issues addressed at this event will be at the centre of forthcoming French international food industry trade shows, which are dynamic platforms for ideas, innovation, trends and business.

Diary dates:

  • 16-20 October 2016 – SIAL Paris, the world’s leading food exhibition
  • 14-17 November 2016 – ALL4PACK Paris, the global marketplace for packaging, processing, printing and handling
  • 26 February-2 March 2017 – SIMA, the Paris International Agri-Business Show
  • 22-24 October 2017 – NATEXPO, the trade show for organic, eco products and food supplements
  • February 2018 – Europain & Intersuc, the international bakery, pastry, ice-cream, chocolate & confectionery show

See photos of the event in our Flickr gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/promosalons/albums/72157669778214816