With Ambiente fast approaching, dining director Thomas Kastl gives an update on the industry’s biggest fair which will see 1,770+ global dining exhibitors gather in Frankfurt…
Thomas, the last two years have been quite turbulent. How do you think buyers and exhibitors will approach Ambiente 2023?
Personal exchange is more important than ever at the moment – I have just experienced this again in many conversations. We sense a great euphoria among the exhibitors who will be at Ambiente 2023. They are full of anticipation. But of course we also sense the challenging economic and political framework conditions, which have an impact on individual company decisions. Each company has to assess for itself how trade fairs fit into its own marketing mix or whether, due to the individual framework conditions, it should not participate in a trade fair. At the moment, for example, this can depend heavily on energy costs and other similar factors. The topic is assessed very differently in the companies. For example, we have new exhibitors, such as Monolith or Tupperware, who have consciously decided to participate in a trade fair and see it as a huge opportunity. Furthermore, we see that demand from certain nations, such as Turkey, is very high. Ambiente is simply the world’s biggest consumer-goods fair where exhibitors want to show their new products. They are looking forward to having this fair again as a contact platform – especially internationally. Buyers see it very similarly – something we have already seen at other fairs in Frankfurt in recent months. What’s more, the parallel Christmasworld and Creativeworld fairs and their product ranges will create an even more advantageous dovetailing. That’s why I think we will all start the fair on a very positive note.
Who can visitors look forward to in the dining area?
The Dining area at Ambiente is the big stage for everything that makes cooking and household chores easier and eating more enjoyable. From 2023, we will be presenting this segment in its entirety in the West Area in Halls 8 to 12. In doing so, we have aligned the new structure to the realities of the market. In the last few years in particular, a number of new, major themes have developed. For example, areas such as baking, storage containers, glass with plastic or drinking bottles have become much more important. These products are found together in the new structure in a very small space. In Hall 9, visitors will find exhibitors such as AdHoc, Alfi, Birkmann, DKB Household, Guardini, Kaufgut (Forever), Küchenprofi, Mepal, Microplane, Peugeot, Tescoma, Tupperware and Westmark in the Kitchen, Accessories and Baking sections. Visitors will also find the Clean Home section with Albero Forte, Bama, Brabantia, Giostyle or Stephanplast or Top Deals with Arte Regal, EDCO Genius, Ger-Import, JJA, Kleine Wolke, Mediashop or Up Global in Hall 9. Berkel, Bugatti, De Buyer, Horl, La Marzocco, The Cookware Company, Rollschleifer, Severin, Tramontina, Victorinox or Wol will show what’s hot at Cook & Cut in Hall 8. Hall 12 presents a wide range of glass, porcelain and ceramic exhibitors such as Cristal de Paris, Dibbern, Güral, Pasabahce with the Nude brand, Colony with the Portmerion brand, Robbe&Berking, Rosenthal, Wächtersbach or Val do Sol Ceramicas. In a way, Hall 11 acts as a link between these halls and gives the Hospitality area a new home with exhibitors such as BHS Tabletop, KAR Porselen, RAK, Serax, Steelite and Villeroy & Boch Hospitality. The short distances between the strongly interconnected product ranges bring great synergy effects for buyers – and all this at a very international level.
The effects of the Covid 19 pandemic have hit the HoReCa sector very hard. How important is Ambiente 2023 as a global meeting place for the HoReCa sector?
That’s right, the industry was hit hard. But the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic have also inspired many spontaneous changes in strategy and practical innovations. That’s why we are very pleased that we will again have a concentrated Hospitality offering in Hall 11.0 in 2023 – and even with significant growth compared to the last event. Hall 11.0 is already fully booked at the present time. These times in particular show that the HoReCa industry – the new hospitality – is growing. In addition to the Front of House theme, we also have exhibitors here with the Out of House theme, which is naturally in great demand in the wake of the pandemic. This year, the HoReCa Academy will once again offer plenty of insights – from innovative concepts and best practices from all over the world, to opportunities through digitalization and the current trends in gastronomy. A great offer for every Hospitality buyer. But that is not the only thing that Ambiente offers professional buyers from the hotel and gastronomy sectors: Visitors have the unique opportunity to order products from the Hospitality collections of the dining exhibitors as well as the lifestyle collections of the living and giving exhibitors. With the HoReCa programme, we work specifically in the Dining environment. For target groups such as architects, interior decorators or contract furnishers, this has its counterpart in the Living segment under the name Contract Business. In addition, with the Future of Work Area we show how flexible working and working from home have taken on a new significance. The industry has come up with answers on how to set up a homely and design-oriented, but still very functional workplace at home. So there are plenty of good reasons for buyers from these sectors to visit Ambiente.
Sustainability and environmental protection are on everyone’s lips. Do these topics also play a role at Ambiente and if so, in what form?
Indeed – sustainability is the megatrend that is not only on everyone’s lips, but is also reflected in all areas at Ambiente. In the dining area, for example, we see that suppliers are replacing plastic in such a way that it is fully recyclable. In the out-of-home sector, hardly any non-sustainable plastics or plastics are used – there, too, many things are changing. The different facets of sustainability are therefore the focus of the consumer goods fairs. This is achieved both with the Ethical Style by Ambiente programme, which as a curated selection draws attention to suppliers who make a special contribution in the area of sustainability. With appropriate labelling on the stands and in the exhibitor profile in the online exhibitor search, visitors to the fair can find exhibitors relevant to them with a focus on sustainable products even more easily. We also have new Ethical Style Spots on the exhibition grounds, which put the spotlight on sustainable products in all their diversity – for Ambiente Dining, one such spot can be found in Galleria 0. I also highly recommend the ‘Circular Materials in Future Dining’ materials exhibition. In the special area in Hall 11.0 in the North Foyer, Dr. Sascha Peters will be staging material developments based on organic residues or alternatives for energy-intensive materials in the field of tableware. There is a lot going on here and a lot to discover.
Do you offer digital supplements to Ambiente?
Of course, a world-leading trade fair must have a digital extension. We have had that in the past and will have that in the future as a supplement to our presence fairs. For example, our exhibitor portal clearly offers international reach, especially to those countries that cannot come to Frankfurt to the usual extent due to travel restrictions that still exist or will be restricted in the future. In addition, visitors can participate physically, hybrid or purely digitally via the online platform digital extensions, parallel to the leading trade fairs on site. This means that they can be there live as well as network online before, during and after the fair and experience the exhibitor highlights. Exhibitors and visitors can also keep up to date online during the time when the fair is not being held – with our knowledge platform Conzoom Solutions or the digital marketplace nmedia.hub, which extends the fair to 365 days a year. These two online platforms are indispensable in the current era. The future is an efficient mix of live and digital, the pandemic period has clearly shown us that. The personal encounter at our trade fairs remains irreplaceable. At the same time, however, we are consistently expanding our additional digital offers and thus creating further added value for our customers.
What are your top highlights of Ambiente 2023?
The most important thing for me is Ambiente in its new structure in total. As the world’s leading trade fair and number 1, we keep asking ourselves the question: how do we reflect changes in the market at our consumer-goods fairs? How do we adapt our concepts to these changes? In this respect, we will experience Ambiente 2023 with completely new possibilities. In Halls 8 and 9, visitors will find everything to do with kitchens and households – no other fair will offer this in such a small space. Added to this are the strong synergies resulting from the decorative offerings of the Living section and, of course, the overlaps with Christmasworld and seasonal decoration. There is a lot of potential for our visitors. Our complementary programme is also always worth a visit. Especially the exciting expert lectures by the Conzoom Solutions Academy on new perspectives and convincing best practices. On all five days of the fair, renowned speakers will provide insights into essential market developments as well as current trends and deliver useful impulses and tips for practical use. Speaking of impulses – visitors will find intelligent solutions for the kitchen and household at our special presentation Solutions in Galleria 1. In the selection of products, the renowned London industrial designer Sebastian Bergne places particular emphasis on the aesthetic compatibility of function and design.
The next Ambiente will take place from 3 to 7 February 2023.