Juan A. Peñamil, editor of Mercacei with Jean-Louis Barjol, executive director of the International Olive Council

Alimentaria, the International Food and Drinks Exhibition, closed its doors last Friday with a 1.4 percent increase in the number of visitors and nearly 4,000 exhibiting companies, figures, according to organizers, that highlight the food industry as a “clear” recovery engine for the Spanish economy.

After four days of intense trade show activity at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, organizers talked about the presence of 142,000, professional visitors from 60 countries, 11 percent more than in the last edition of Alimentaria, in 2010.

President of Alimentaria, Josep Lluís Bonet, highlighted the strength of an industry such as food, that “stands up to the crisis with positive data and a great economic importance in the present and future of the Spanish country.”

Director of Alimentaria and deputy managing director of Reed Exhibitions, J. Antonio Valls underlined that this industry “structures the economy and progress of our country, totally committed to health, sustainability, employment, economy, social cohesion, culture, innovation, and the Spain brand.”

Extra virgin olive oil took over the fair

During the week of the fair, Alimentaria proposed a world tour of extra virgin olive oil through Olivaria, the area dedicated to olive oil, which attracted buyers from Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, USA, Philippines, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Venezuela, who also participated in the Olive Oil Business Meetings.

In its 1,500 square meters of exhibition, Olivaria also unveiled the industry with a representative range of the large world producers of olive oil and this year has also involved representatives of olive powers like Italy, Greece and Tunisia.

In addition, many activities related to olive oil took part, such as tastings and presentations, and professional and assistants were personally informed about the characteristics of each EVOO exposed in the Gourmet Olive Oils Tasting Bar, organized by Food Consulting with the support of Mercacei Magazine.

This initiative presented 85 different varieties of extra virgin olive oil from growing areas from Spanish and other countries such as Cyprus, which appeared for the first time in this gastronomic activity.

Mercacei’s Pandora Peñamil Peñafiel wIth Spanish chef, Karlos Arguiñano

EVOOs by Mercacei

Mercacei Magazine had an important participation in Alimentaria. In 2002, Mercacei created and coordinated for Alimentaria, the Interoliva area, dedicated to the promotion and spreading of spanish olive oils inside Alimentaria, which in 2004 changed its name to Olivaria. The close link between Alimentaria and Mercacei resulted in a very active presence this year.

Mercacei had a private stand during Alimentaria in the Olivaria area, which was, altogether with the Gourmet Olive Oils Tasting Bar, the center of the promotion of the best extra virgin olive oils with personal tastings which were held by the Mercacei team to important visitors such as european importers, japanese buyers, the sales manager of Harrods and Jean-Louis Barjol, executive director of the International Olive Council.

But the star of the extra virgin olive oil industry in this Alimentaria edition was EVOOs by Mercacei (AOVEs by Mercacei) the special supplement that Mercacei published for Alimentaria, an informative magazine about the virtues and characteristics of EVOOs, its uses, benefits, trends, major international awards and other contents.


Internationalisation became one of the main values of Alimentaria, which led more than 8,000 meetings between Spanish companies and 500 importers around the world.

Also, of the nearly 4,000 exhibiting companies from Alimentaria, 1,300 (32 percent) were foreign from 75 countries including Thailand, Dubai, Sweden and Japan, in addition to the presence of China, Indonesia, India, Brazil, Chile, USA and almost all European Union countries.

Mexico was the Honor Guest with 40 exhibitors and energizing activities related to the cuisine of this country.
Food, tourism and gastronomy

Alimentaria contributed to enhance the best Spanish cuisine. Organizers highlighted the International Congress of Gastronomy BCNVanguardia, which focused its program in the integration of innovation in the business of restoration.

The Alimentaria Hub

One of the great innovations of this edition has been The Alimentaria Hub space, a center that has brought together all the activities of the fair, with the aim of enhacing the innovative and multidimensional spanish industry and identify business opportunities.

Between the best activities of the fair, we can highlight the International Congress of the Mediterranean Diet, Innoval Awards, and the First Nestlé Creating Shared Value Forum.

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