Any appreciation of HostMilano, the world’s premier hospitality exposition, has to begin with the statistics. October saw just over 187,000 people flock to the exhibitions, of which 38.8% were international guests hailing from 177 countries. Over 1,500 hosted buyers milled around the convention floor, hailing from as far afield as China, the US, Australia and southern Africa.

"Host is a success story," says Fabrizio Curci, CEO and director general of Fiera Milano Spa. "With a rise of 24.3% in the number of professional visitors, Host confirms its status as a true point of reference in the hospitality industry, the place where its different sectors meet to mould the trends of tomorrow, and to do business and networking."

Host 2017 also confirmed its status as an essential event for the coffee industry. "The out-of-home market is an increasingly strategic channel for Lavazza," says Michele Cannone, head of food service marketing at Lavazza. "Host is the perfect place to present our extensive range of innovative and premium products to buyers from all over the world. This year, once again, the fair has confirmed its status as an important international landmark, with highquality initiatives, visitors and exhibitors".

Growing sectors

Another of the traditional core areas of Host is food equipment, which continues to grow and evolve.

"Coming here to Milan and taking part in Host is crucial to understanding where the international out-of-home market is going," explains Ingrid Yllmark, vice-president of corporate communication at Electrolux Professional. "Italians are unbeatable at creating ‘stories’ around products as part of a lifestyle, and as a multinational we’re committed to transforming these cues into business opportunities for our customers around the world. We do this, above all, while enhancing the points of contact between catering and beverages, an industry in which we have just acquired a company."

The ice cream and pastry sector is also in a state of effervescence, and is among the most dynamic in grasping opportunities for hybridisation. "At Host 2017, we’ve presented the new automatic SC-Cup machine, the first to use capsule technology, and researched together with Sarong, leader in the coffee market," says Andrea Cocchi, managing director of Carpigiani Group. "Designed for convenience stores, hotels and tourist resorts, it enables customers to choose a capsule with their favourite ice cream flavour, and in 90 seconds they have a cup ready for tasting."

Design focus

At Host 2017, the most design-related sectors, such as decor and tableware, are among those attracting the most attention. "Even in a generally traditional sector such as tableware, it’s possible to innovate," says Barbara Cincotto, marketing and sales director of Arcturus Group, the parent group of companies such as Sambonet and Rosenthal. "Here, with Rosenthal, we’ve presented the Ardesia (slate) finish that makes it possible to add a dark grey border to any white model. It thus becomes a mini ‘blackboard’, hence the name, on which the restaurateur can write a hashtag, a website, a recipe of the day or any other information. These are innovations that are meeting with great success at this edition of Host, where we’re noticing a particular attention to design."

The strong orientation towards design was confirmed by Joseph G Cephas, vice-president for communications at the American Society of Interior Designers. "This year, a number of our associates have taken part as professional visitors, because among US interior designers, there’s a widespread desire to expand their business in the contract sector,"

says Cephas. "Here at Host, they’re finding lots of ideas and products to help them expand into this new market. The size of this event is hugely impressive, the range on offer is very wide, but the show’s organisation by sector nonetheless enables visitors to easily find everything they’re looking for." The next edition of HostMilano will be held at fieramilano on 18-22 October 2019