UMAMI ARENA was launched to further develop the legacy of SMAK 2020. The ambition is to create the next-generation meeting place for everyone who works with food and drink.
A total of 25,600 visitors found their way to NOVA Spektrum in Lillestrøm through four hectic days from 14 to 17 February. UMAMI Arena and HOLDBAR 2023 took place adjacent to each other and together presented 453 exhibitors to engaged professionals and industry people.
“We are incredibly pleased with the feedback we have received from both exhibitors and visitors,” says UMAMI Arena Director Torill Engelberg.
“Not least, we are pleased with all the feedback we have received from exhibitors who report a very “high quality of visitors”. This means that we have managed to attract the right target groups so that the exhibitors are visited by relevant guests at their stands,” she says.
Minister conducts opening and award presentation
Minister of Agriculture and Food Sandra Boch was responsible for the ceremonial opening of UMAMI Arena and also awarded the Horeca Industry Honorary Award 2023 to Morten Thorvaldsen. He has led Thon Hotels for almost 35 years and, according to the jury, has “been an exemplary employer in recruitment to the industry”.
Arena for championships and awards
In total, UMAMI Arena has hosted as many as 11 different Norwegian championships in different food and drink branches: NM in patisserie art, NM in the art of coffee, Pizza Champion Cup Norway with three pizza competitions, Jeunes Chef Rôtisseurs and Chaîne Sommeliers Competition.
In addition, a number of prizes have been awarded: the prestigious Horeca Industry Honorary Award and important awards such as the National Conference’s Competence Award, the Norwegian Championship in Healthy Canteen Food, and the most creative Cut Food Waste initiative of the Year award.
Four exhibitors report on the atmosphere
We took the temperature of four exhibitors on the last day of the UMAMI Arena, and have received a short report on the atmosphere from a hectic week:
“It has been great to be ‘back’ and meet customers and other suppliers,” says Marit Wanvik Halvorsen, commercial manager for Out of Home at Tine.
“UMAMI, as an independent arena, gathers a lot of expertise under the same roof. We have met customers from different markets/customer groups, ranging from manufacturers to product developers, chefs, purchasers and other decision-makers,” says Wanvik Halvorsen.
“In addition, we have been given the opportunity, through Tine Master Class with well-known Bocuse d’Or chefs, to give the customer a unique experience and show that we are committed to the industry and them as customers,” she says.
Fewer “non-serious customers”
Henning Hjelljord of Bacardi Norway AS says that they have had a good number of visits and also experience that they have had fewer “non-serious customers” visiting the stand:
“We have received many samples for existing and potential new customers, showcased the concept to one of our best customers – and introduced ourselves as a partner in Bacardi Norway,” says Hjelljord.
“We received good feedback from the audience, both on the appearance and content of the stand. A lot of people came to us and said we had the best booth,” the Bacardi representative said.
Important to be seen
Anders GL Vist of Wulff & Co also reports a very good response during UMAMI Arena.
“We have received a lot of positive and good feedback from both customers and other exhibitors. Gaining better visibility in the market is important to us,” he says.
Good response – good leads
“It has been enjoyable and fun as always, but a little more tiring this year given the many activities and stands that we have been involved with,” says Marketing Manager at Primulator, Lasse André Lööv-Olsen.
“We have made the effort to participate in everything from the water and hygiene stand in the glass aisle, and the Norwegian championships in coffee and gelato – in addition to our own Primulator stand.
“We experience a good response from visitors, and the strong presence has given Primulator a lot of customer meetings and presentations – and not least many good leads,” says Lööv-Olsen.
“We have worked very purposefully to communicate and position ourselves towards the professional communities and have prioritized building a program that encompasses a broad range of everything related to food and drink,” says the UMAMI Arena director.
“The ambition has been to become the place where the industry and professionals will meet. UMAMI Arena will help to create a sense of belonging, learning and inspiration – but not least be an arena for trade and networking,” says Engelberg.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all exhibitors for a great effort, exciting news and fantastic stands. It is the breadth of exhibitors and what each one is able to deliver on that has made us, together with the industry, succeed with UMAMI Arena in 2023,” she says.
“We will now evaluate the entire event, and ask for input from all exhibitors and visitors, and partners. This is how we can further develop and improve,” Engelberg concludes.