In-person food trade exhibitions have been rare in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are starting to return to some Asian countries.
"Late September, the massive SIAL China food exhibition took place in Shanghai. Huge crowds showed up at our booth there, but outside of China, only a few Asian countries have held trade exhibitions of any type. Shows in other countries are being pushed back, some way into late next year," says Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. "With travel restrictions still in place, these trade exhibitions are taking place largely without business travelers, because you'd have to undergo 14 days of quarantine after you arrived. But the fact that they're being staged is a positive."
USMEF's participation in these events is made possible through support from the National Pork Board, the Beef Checkoff Program, the USDA Market Access Program and the USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program.
"Unlike the mainland, the recovery here in Hong Kong is still somewhat tentative, especially after three very distinct virus, suppression and lift cycles, but everyone's remaining hopeful," Haggard says. "One sign of increased confidence is the 'all systems go' designation for Restaurant and Bar Hong Kong, a mid-November food trade exhibition and it will be one of the first trade exhibitions held in the territory since the pandemic started."
Haggard says while the Restaurant and Bar Show has always been a domestic show, with not many U.S. exporting companies attending, USMEF is looking forward to this event, as well as Food and Hotel China.
"Coincidentally, at the same time as Restaurant and Bar, China will host its second largest food show, Food and Hotel China, and our staff there will be manning a sizeable booth to make U.S. beef and pork visible," Haggard says.