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F.I.CO. (Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) Eataly World, the largest food park in the world, opened its doors for the first time on 15 November 2017 in the historic city of Bologna, a place with a rich culinary tradition.

The brainchild of Eataly’s founder, Oscar Farinetti, and constructed in just over four years, the Disneyland of the Italian food & beverage industry occupies a surface area of 100,000 square metres, employing approximately 700 people, a figure that grows to 3,000 if you count ancillary businesses. FICO is a unique place where food is grown and produced, where you can taste Italian specialities and find out about the way these delicacies, the best of the country’s foremost food producers, are created at first hand.
The park includes two hectares of fields and stables with over 200 animals kept outdoors, plus eight hectares of indoor halls that power themselves thanks to their solar panels, where 40 food manufacturing companies (from dairies to companies that produce fresh and cured meat, grains and pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables and preserves, fish, wine, beer and even sweets) are located. There are also 45 refreshment areas, shops and spaces set aside for sports, children, reading and facilities.
As well as the 150 companies that have their own exhibition space there, Fico boasts six lecture halls, six educational ‘rides’ complete with interactive aids, a theatre, a cinema, a modular conference centre that seats from 200 up to 1,000 people and even a post office, where you can post the delicacies marked ‘Made in Italy’ all over the world. Last but not least, there’s the FICO Foundation, headed by the economist Andrea Segrè, which includes four universities among its members.

‘As well as attracting visitors from all over the world, Fico should represent Italy with all its food specialities and its biodiversity,’ said its founder, Oscar Farinetti. ‘We will present Italian food starting from the beginning, from the raw materials, to show people how they are used to make end products of the highest quality.’

News and updates on Fico Eataly World will shortly be available on:





In the wake of the 2015 Milan Expo, Italian food is back in the international spotlight. An initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism has proclaimed 2018 the National Year of Italian Food.
It’s not merely a question of celebrating the economic success of an industry that reached record export figures in 2017 (40 billion euros), but also one of presenting the deep-rooted link that binds food, territory and cultural identity in Italy.
That is why the next few months will see a string of events that cater to foreign tourists, and more.

State museums have already launched their social network communication campaign (identified by the #annodelciboitaliano hashtag), which focuses on the relationship between art and the world of food and wine. The public is invited to visit over 420 museums and cultural venues, photographing them and sharing their pictures on social networks.

The fascinating landscape of the Italian peninsula is made up of 5,567 small towns. These places, which are home to less than 5,000 residents each, produce 92% of products with protected origins (PDO and PGI), as well as 79% of the finest wines. In order to find these and many other ‘Made in Italy’-labelled specialities throughout the year, Coldiretti (the Italian farmers’ association) has created the Farmers For You app that brings together the best markets, farms and shops, creating a food and wine map that includes over 10,000 sites all over Italy.

A host of events promoting Italian food, wine and culture are planned for the coming months: from the promotion of the Mediterranean Diet to that of the wine of Pantelleria, from the landscapes of the Langhe-Roero hills to the tradition of Neapolitan pizza. Other initiatives will be organised to support the areas that produce Prosecco and pasta all’Amatriciana as candidates for UNESCO status and to relaunch rural areas and local products as tourist attractions, with a particular focus on the fight against food waste.

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Cryptocurrencies and the changes they will make to the global economy: newspapers all over the world seem to talk of nothing else. Nevertheless, even as far back as 2014, in Russia, a small village south-east of Moscow was the first to use blockchain technology in its transactions. It was in this village, Kolionovo, that Mikhail Shlyapnikov, a farmer, created a local currency in order to protect this small agricultural community from economic upheavals. The currency’s value was linked to the potato, with one kolion (taken from the name of the village) worth 10 kilograms of potatoes, which could be exchanged for services or other foods. The Bank of Russia disapproved of this initiative, declaring the kolion illegal tender and pressing charges against its inventor, but Mikhail Shlyapnikov’s idea was not as crazy as it might seem. Food has been used as a currency for centuries. Here are a few examples:

In Ancient Rome, legionaries could be paid in salt. This explains the origin of the word ‘salary’, which comes from the Latin word ‘salarium’, a ration of salt. The custom of paying people with salt was also widespread in Ancient China and in East Africa during the Middle Ages, where salt was the main currency. More recently, salt was used as money by a number of Ethiopian tribes.

Bricks of tea were used for centuries instead of coinage in China, Siberia, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Russia and Mongolia, where this custom lasted up until the Second World War.

3-Bread and beer
In Ancient Egypt, the standard basic salary consisted of ten pieces of bread and a ration of beer, which ranged from a third of a pitcher of beer to two full pitchers a day. This practice proved useful to the inhabitants of Angola in the late 1980s, when they were forced to use beer as currency during a period of hyperinflation.

A list of edible currencies cannot fail to include cocoa. In the 1500s, the goods that could be exchanged for cocoa among the Aztecs in southern Mexico included: 1 turkey = 100 cocoa beans; 1 turkey egg = 3 cocoa beans; 1 fully ripe avocado = 1 cocoa bean; 1 large tomato = 1 cocoa bean. We know this thanks to the Codex Mendoza (1541), which is kept in the archives of the University
of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

Rum was used as money in New England, in the mid-1700s, in what history has dubbed the ‘triangular trade’ that operated between the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Edible currencies also include Reng, a ball of turmeric wrapped in coconut fibres, used in the past on the Solomon Islands, north-east of Australia.

Bafia potato purée was an ancient currency in the part of the world now known as the Republic of Cameroon.

8-Fruit and spaghetti
The year 2011 saw an unexpected boom in the demand for fresh fruit in British jails. The reason for this was that inmates had started bartering with fresh fruit, due to the poor quality of the food supplied by prison management. In 2016, the BBC reported that noodles had overtaken cigarettes as a commodity in US prisons.

Among the Italian news reports of 2009 that particularly struck journalists at The New York Times, there was one about the use of Parmigiano Reggiano as a currency, or rather as a way of securing loans. At a time of extreme recession, some Italian banks accepted wheels of parmesan as collateral for securing loans, helping to fund producers of this traditional cheese of central Italy

Innovation, News




At a time when the food production industry is going from strength to strength in Italy (it accounted for 11.3% of the country’s GDP in 2016, second only to the steel industry), it is now time for operators to consolidate this positive trend by applying the principles of innovation on products and processes. Deloitte, one of the most prestigious corporate consultancy firms in the world, has dedicated a book entitled Il Settore Alimentare: l’Innovazione nei Paradigmi (‘The Food Industry: Innovating Models’) to the exemplary cases driving such innovation.
The innovation that Deloitte proposes is not just technology or product based; it has more ambitious goals, and aims to change the very rules that govern the industry. The focus is now on consumers and the need to keep them informed. It is therefore necessary for industry operators to cooperate in order to achieve a shared aim. Last but not least, there is a need to develop products and make them available on modern distribution channels where a consumer that is increasingly ‘emotional’ when making purchasing decisions can reach them.

Deloitte has included Alifood, a leading food trading company specialising in high quality Italian products, among the 11 case histories described in the book, companies that innovate the Italian food production industry. This Genoa-based company is joined by Amadori, Casillo Group, Eataly, Illycaffè, Inalpi, Matrunita Mediterranea, Mutti, Noberasco, Oropan and Parmareggio. Alifood carries out a number of different roles within the food supply chain: it chooses products and producers, it monitors all logistical phases, it identifies the documents and certificates required by each individual country and manages the after-sales needs of clients, which includes the best way to use their products. The company’s most innovative field of expertise, as described in the book, is undoubtedly product preservation, which avoids the problem of not being able to export fresh specialities. Indeed, Alifood has carried out constant research and development in conjunction with food production companies in order to bring the technology to a level whereby preserved products, once returned to their original state, are totally identical to their fresh versions.
This is the second time Alifood has been mentioned in Deloitte publications that describe the jewels in the Italian food industry’s crown, the first time having been in Why Liguria: Il Bello e il Buono: L’Arte di Essere Imprenditori (‘Why Liguria: The Great and the Good: The Art of Being Entrepreneurs’).

Market, News




The 34th edition of Anuga, the leading international food & beverage fair held in Cologne from 7-11 October 2017, has ended with record attendance figures. The event attracted approximately 165,000 operators from 198 countries, 75% of which were foreign. There was a record number of exhibitors as well: 7,405 in total, of which 716 were German and 6,689 were from abroad, distributed over a surface area of 284,000 square metres.
‘Anuga is the world’s biggest and most important business platform for the international food industry,’ said Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cologne Koelnmesse exhibition centre after the event had drawn to a close. ‘The trade fair brings the global supply and demand together very precisely. With its clear concept and focus on relevant themes, it is a reliable marketplace for the global food world.’

The 2017 edition was the seventh time Alifood, a leading trader of premium Italian food products, has attended Anuga. The final outcome was extremely positive: interest in Italian food and beverages continues to grow and, as a result, so does the importance of organisations like Alifood that can manage the entire supply chain of each and every product, from production to delivery, finding solutions to its customers’ problems with customs duty, hygiene and more general issues to do with local regulations.
The latest edition of Anuga has proved to be a showcase, allowing Alifood to present new products to its long-standing partners, and has also provided an opportunity to secure new strategic alliances with operators from Korea, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

The next edition of Anuga will take place in Cologne from 5-9 October 2019.





Everything is ready for Anuga 2017, the world’s leading biennial food and beverage trade fair, which will take place in the German city of Cologne from 7-11 October 2017. Out of a total of 7,200 exhibitors, Italy’s profile – featuring 1,036 companies – stands out (Alifood will be on stand D030 in Hall 4.1). Indian exhibitors participating in the fair have also attracted a great deal of attention and for good reason: India is, in actual fact, the official partner of the 2017 edition of Anuga. Sponsored by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India will be presenting the variety of raw materials and food specialities produced by a vast and diverse land, whose ingredients and food preparation methods can vary enormously from one region to another.
The number of Indian exhibitors attending Anuga has constantly increased in recent years: from 45 in 2005 to 111 at this year’s edition. As well as tea and spices, the most frequently exported goods from its local food industry are rice, grains and pulses as well as ready meals, the stars of an ‘ethnic’ cuisine enjoyed the world over. India itself is a market worth looking into: the potential is enormous. In 2030, the population is forecast to be 1.5 billion and, having overtaken China, India will be the most populous country in the world.


The Allgemeine Nahrungs Und Genussmittel Ausstellung (A.N.U.G.A., or literally ‘General Food and Beverage Fair’) is considered the most important international food fair in the world. It takes place every two years in Cologne, but that hasn’t always been the case. The first edition took place in Stuttgart in 1919. At that time, it was not the trade fair we are familiar with today; instead, it was a national meeting organised by German food retailers. The event was a success and the organisers decided to repeat it on an annual basis. Every year, a new venue was chosen: Munich in 1920, Hanover in 1921, Berlin in 1922 and Magdeburg in 1923. The first edition that ever took place in Cologne was from 17-24 August, 1924: it attracted 340 exhibitors and approximately 40,000 visitors.
The fair was so well organized that the decision was taken to stay in Cologne, later switching from an annual to a biennial frequency. After the Second World War, Anuga gradually went from being an event reserved for German companies to a leading international showcase for the food industry. This year’s event, which will take place from 7-11 October 2017, is the 34th edition.


Alifood plays a leading role at Anuga 2017



When it comes to Italian companies at Anuga, this year will see a full house: over a thousand firms will be attending the 37th edition of the world’s leading biennial food & beverage trade fair, which will take place in Cologne from 7-11 October 2017.

With 1,036 exhibitors, plus the collective organised by the ITA (the Italian Trade Agency), Italy has exceeded Germany, the fair’s host, and has asserted itself as the most represented country at this event. Organised by Koelnmesse (Cologne’s exhibition centre), Anuga boasts a total of 7,200 exhibitors occupying an exhibition area of over 280,000 square metres, featuring 11 halls and 10 specialised areas.

Anuga’s strategic alliance with the Fiere di Parma exhibition centre and Federalimentare (the Italian food and beverage industry federation) is an excellent opportunity for Italian companies that would like to enter foreign markets. In 2016, Italian food exports were worth €34.3 billion in total. The European Union, with €22.681 billion (up 3.7%), asserted itself as the main market for such products by commanding approximately 65% of the total, and Germany consolidated its leadership within Europe, chalking up an increase of 3.2%, worth €6.2 billion, resulting in a profit of €1.73 billion. Fresh produce accounted for the lion’s share of the food products exported to Germany in 2016, with annual sales worth €1.5 billion (up 2.58%), more than wine (€978 million, up 1.7%) and preserves and juices (€638 million, up 2.3%), while the most significant trend concerned confectionery, which saw a rise of 12.4%, worth a total of €485 million.

Alifood, the leading company trading in quality Italian foods, will be attending Anuga for the seventh time with a stand that has been specially designed for this trade fair (Hall 4.1 – D030). “Anuga is an important event for us”, says Elisabetta Doria Lamba, the company’s Marketing Manager, who adds: “It gives us a chance to meet many of our long-standing customers, as well as form new alliances. As ever, we will be bringing a number of new products to the fair.” These include IQF (Individual-Quick-Freezing) frozen mascarpone cubes, IQF frozen stracchino cubes, IQF frozen granulated ricotta, IQF frozen roasted chicken breast cubes, IQF frozen roasted turkey breast cubes, frozen roasted chicken breast slices and frozen roasted turkey breast slices, which will supplement Alifood’s own catalogue.





When we talk and write about food nowadays, the captivating power of images plays a major role. When we leaf through cookbooks, food blogs or the website of a famous chef, we increasingly concentrate not on the taste but on the visual appeal, which communicates directly with our eyes and mind well before our taste buds.
Photographs posted on Instagram are merely the culmination of almost two centuries of food photography that, in turn, was inspired by still life paintings. The book Feast for the Eyes, published by Aperture and compiled by Susan Bright, tells the story of this evolution. The book is a chronological overview of how food has been represented from the mid-1800s up until the present day, which not only merges with the history of cuisine but with that of photography, advertising, trends, technology and printing as well.
The book opens with the first photograph to ever depict food on its own: a picture of a fruit basket taken in 1845 by William Henry Fox Talbot. It goes on to show the first images of dishes shown at the centre of a scene in a foreground arrangement, then old advertisements that showed a reassuring and orderly lifestyle, right up to food in street and fashion photography, cookbooks, magazines, Instagram accounts, photos by normal people and great artists like Nickolas Muray, Edward Weston, Irving Penn, Stephen Shore, Nobuyoshi Araki and Martin Parr.
While we’re on the subject of publications, Gourmet was the first truly specialised magazine. Published from 1941 to 2009 by Condé Nast, it was famous for its beautiful covers and illustrations, addressing a niche readership of foodies. This style was revisited by Bon Appétit, published from 1956 on, again by Condé Nast, and considered to be a more popular version of Gourmet. It is still published today and has a website that combines recipes, restaurant reviews, articles on food trends and pop culture sections such as the most popular dishes in TV series.
These days, most online newspapers and magazines have a food section that positively overflows with well-prepared photos and visuals, from the New York Times with its amazing special reports to the more elegant Food52. Then there are magazines that take the merging of food and art to its logical conclusion. The most sophisticated and aesthetically appealing is probably the Gather Journal, published biannually. It is laid out like a cookbook consisting of menus, combined with articles and short essays by artists, designers, photographers and writers. Every issue has a particular theme and is filled with anecdotes and pictures. Published by McSweeney’s in association with David Chang, the founder of the Momofuku Asian food chain, and the food critic Peter Meehan, the journal Lucky Peach is along the same lines as Gather, though it looks livelier. Issues of Lucky Peach are also themed and packed with photos, illustrations in different styles and sophisticated recipes by up-and-coming chefs, while the website combines traditional sections with others that are more creative, all equally stunning. You can move on to leafing through White Zinfandel, Gastronomica, Diner Journal, Kinfolk and Gourmand, but photo shoots and art that focus on food are really everywhere nowadays.


Trump and his tariff proposals: the food products at risk


What lies at the heart of the matter is the American trade deficit, the gap between exports and imports (a shortfall of $763 billion in 2016). In short, the United States buys more goods and services than those it sells to the rest of the world.
To be more specific, Mexico and five Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, India and Taiwan) are responsible for over 70% of this vast trade gap. Of these, the United States has the biggest deficit with China ($347 billion), a country where American multinationals have relocated in order to improve profits and pay less taxes back home. In contrast, the European Union is responsible for less than 20% of the trade gap: Americans happily choose to buy European luxury goods (cars, fashion, food and wine).

The newly-elected President of the United States, Donald Trump, has been repeating ‘America First’ like a mantra from when his electoral campaign first began. His aim is to relaunch homegrown manufacturing and reduce imports. He has signed two executive orders in the hope of identifying the factors that cause the trade deficit. Trump is threatening a trade war and a list of countries are being targeted, starting with China and Mexico, but the list also includes Germany and other European countries like Italy as well.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is considering the possibility of introducing super-tariffs of 100% on a whole series of niche European products.
Even though this is all currently speculation, the foodstuffs affected could include roquefort French cheese, Perrier and San Pellegrino mineral water brands and specialities such as foie gras, cured meats, tomatoes, fruit juice, jams and chocolate.

The World Trade Organization – which supervises international trade agreements – has stated that the United States cannot impose tariffs willy-nilly, nevertheless there is a backstory.
In 1996, during the Clinton administration, the United States dragged the European Union before the WTO due to a European ban on the importation of US beef treated with hormones that are banned in the EU.
Two years later, in 1998, the WTO condemned the European ban on American beef imports, with or without hormones. In 2009, the United States and the EU signed an agreement to import a limited amount of hormone-free meat into Europe, an agreement that the EUhas never, however, respected.
Therefore, the WTO has established that the US can impose tariffs on imports worth a total of $116.8 million, i.e. the same value of the damage done by the EU ban on American meat.
Given that the total value of EU exports to the USA in 2016 was approximately $360 billion, of which around $3.7 billionwas represented by the food industry, it’s obvious that $116.8 million is a token figure. Nevertheless, the stakes are high:the approval of this measure could cause an escalation and lead to much more sweeping restrictions. In a recent interview, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, stated that a trade war would be in no one’s interest, and invited the US president to abandon his protectionist rhetoric.


Milan, the food & beverage capital


Following the enormous success of Expo 2015, Milan has secured its reputation as the food capital, with a series of B2B and B2C events that took place there from 4-11 May 2017.

The results of the fifth edition of Tuttofood – the biennial B2B food and beverage show – were beyond all expectations: 80,146 professional visitors, 23% of which were foreigners, up 2.5% compared to the Expo-associated edition of 2015.

Among the buyers who attended, there were particularly large delegations from the USA, Canada, South America, Germany and the Gulf States, with many visitors from long-standing markets like France, Benelux and the United Kingdom, as well as markets seeing the greatest growth: China, India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Among the events that took place at Tuttofood 2017, the presence of Barack Obama­ –the former President of the United States – generated particular excitement. Obama was among the speakers at the Seeds & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit: the international summit on the future of the food industry. This featured four days of conferences and meetings on the big issues to do with food and innovation in this field: from new food production techniques to nutrition in the future, right up to food security and the universal right to healthy, sustainable and accessible food.

Large numbers of visitors also attended the events that took place outside the Tuttofood 2017 exhibition centre. The 320 events, cooking demonstrations, tastings and B2C meetings arranged as part of the first edition of Milano Food City attracted approximately 178,000 participants.




Following the success of the pavilion at Expo2015 and an extraordinary edition in 2016, the Italian Food Show held in Parma, Cibus has become an annual event, like all the other big trade fairs for commodities Made in Italy. In odd years, we now have Cibus Connect, an agile two-day format which associates moments dedicated to B2B and conferences for the promotion of current international food and retail topics with main the exhibition.

The first edition of this new format was held in Parma on the 12th and 13th of April 2017. Promoted by Fiere di Parma and Federalimentare, the Italian Federation for the Food Industry, the event witnessed over 500 Italian companies present new products, accompanied by numerous culinary demonstrations. Cibus Connect was attended by 50 exclusive producers selected by Slowfood, the international non-profit association committed to restoring value to food, respecting those who produce it, in harmony with the environment and ecosystem.

The event introducing Cibus 2018, scheduled to be held in Parma from the 7th to the 10th of May 2018, hosted around 1000 foreign buyers and a total of ten thousand operators.