Pick&Pack for Food Industry establishes itself at the foodtech industry week in Bilbao 

April 19th 2024

Pick & Pack

The great technological week of the food industry, with the simultaneous celebration of Food 4 Future – Foodtech Expo 2024 Pick&Pack for Food Industry, has once again elevated Bilbao as an international foodtech capital, leaving an economic impact of 19 million euros for the city. The multi-specialist global meetings dedicated to the dairy, fishing, meat and bakery sectors, among others, have brought together 9.037 international congressmen from 34 countries who, for three days, have discovered the latest trends and technological solutions in AI, robotics, automation, IoT, as well as new ingredients, which are directing the food industry towards a more efficient, sustainable and technological model.

A total of 287 exhibiting companies have presented at the BEC-Bilbao Exhibition Center the innovations that are marking the sector's roadmap in terms of sustainability, machinery, safety and food science in all its segments. Likewise, 482 leaders from renowned manufacturers such as Pepsico, Campofrío, Danone, General Mills, Hijos de Rivera, Nauterra, Nestlé, Capsa or Diageo have revealed the strategies and innovations that are helping the industry to adapt to the current socioeconomic situation and advance in the circular economy, thanks to the promotion of new technologies. 

New trends and more sustainable, healthy and affordable demands

The last day of the event has responded to the new behaviors of a consumer looking for sustainable, healthy and affordable options. María Soledad Camacho, vice president of Marketing Danone, has stated that, to reach a customer who is increasingly aware of their health, it is important to have inspiring products that are scientifically proven. “As a brand, we create healthy, sustainable, and accessible products that impact consumer needs. This year in the European markets, we are going to see how Actimel begins to work with different targets with 3 different immunological needsWe not only have the need to respond to increasingly demanding needs, but also the responsibility to mobilize the industry towards more sustainable practices”For its part, Enrique Rodríguez, Commercial Delegate of Vichy Catalan, has highlighted that “A new generation of beverages is being positioned with new future options: flavored and enriched water, water-based gel drinks and freeze-dried powder solutions.". 

In turn, Alberto Jimenez, CEO at smileat, has assured that sustainability is in the company's DNA and that, in terms of marketing, their contribution is to offer value with dissemination and listening to families, as they did with the launch of a cereal that only contains 3% of sugar. “It took us two years to launch it with the help of a technology center. I think we contribute a lot as a category”. Likewise, Guillermo Mena Sánchez, Global Research & Innovation Director at Global Fruselva, has opted for investment in innovation and for staying close to customers to provide value. Regarding the gaps that the industry may find along the way, he has highlighted that “"Regulatory rigidity means that progress cannot be made at a pace for people's health." In addition, he has stated that “nutritional education is growing very slowly in Spain, so we have a responsibility from school to nursing homes".

To approach the consumer through marketing strategies and new business models, participants in the congress have cited personalization and data processing as essential elements. Thus, Iker Ganuza, Country Manager Spain, of Pepsico, has shared how the company has developed a “Consumer DNA” to profile consumers based on criteria such as demographics, habits, etc., along with store profiling in order to optimize product positioning and obtain better conversion. For its part, Lotus Bakeries has bet on pop-ups experiential at points of sale so that people can try the product, in addition to new ways of consuming the product, as indicated by its CEO, Víctor Villanueva.

The advance of decarbonization

Decarbonization and the commitment to the circular economy has been one of the transversal themes that have been present at the meeting, where strategies to minimize waste, improve resource efficiency and promote recycling initiatives throughout the year have been addressed. Product life cycle. After highlighting the values ​​of its Sustainability strategy “let's go 2023”, Candela Aldao, Senior Sustainability Manager at mahou san miguel has confirmed that the company works to produce more sustainable beer, and in some pilot projects, such as the opportunity to provide a second use of the grain used in beer manufacturing, offering it to entrepreneurs to make edible cutlery.

In this context, Clara Hernandez, Environmental and Climate Change Director at Campofrío Sigma, has detailed the circular economy projects with reuse in its facilities and factories that the company is carrying out. In Burgos, for example, “The intestinal mucosa of the pig is processed to produce heparin for medical use“. Among other measures, Emiliano Martus Barelli, director of Environmental Sustainability at Sons of Rivera (Estrella Galicia), has indicated that the company uses biogas as a source of energy in the brewery and uses solar panels in its A Grela factory. In addition, they have managed to implement 100% recycled rPET in mineral water bottles and a 70% reduction in carbon emissions for each bottle. 

For its part, Mariví Sánchez, Head of Sustainability and Communication at Nauterra, has opted for the “need to invest in sustainable fishing practices and circularity” and has set the goal of not throwing waste into landfills by 2025. Supported by the eco-design of the product, the company advocates the reduction and recovery of waste, as evidenced by a project underway between 2018 and 2023, which has managed to recover 80% of waste globally.

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