Marca by BolognaFiere, the 2023 edition exceeds expectations


Bologna, January 19, 2023 - The nineteenth edition of Marca by BolognaFiere 2023 is celebrating results that exceeded expectations:success in terms of participation and an increase in quality and quantity that clearly sets the 2022 edition apart. Organized in collaboration with ADM – the Italian Association for Grocery Retail and with the support of the Emilia-Romagna regional administration and the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, the event confirmed its role as an unmissable event for anyone involved in the private label sector. Retail groups, companies, buyers, and operators experienced two intense days of top-quality business as well as all the latest news and developments in the sector.

More than 17,000 operators and visitors (40% more than last year) crowded the six exhibition halls and 23,000 square meters of exhibition space (+15% compared with 2022). There was also a larger number of exhibitors, more than 900 companies (+10%), not to mention more than 2,500 brands, that had invested significantly in the quality of their stands, further confirming the importance of this event. This year saw the involvement of 4 additional large Grocery Retail groups, which this year numbered 22, representing the country’s leading retailers. These 22 retail groups all sat on the Marca by BolognaFiere Technical Scientific Steering Committee and at the 2023 edition of the event were also showcasing all their new private label products to an international public. Their stands were filled with a variety of interesting food and non-food products, many of them related to specific moments of consumption, like breakfast, evening drinks and aperitifs.

The fair also attracted significant institutional representation, starting with the packed opening conference organized by ADM, Marca by BolognaFiere and The European House-Ambrosetti, in collaboration with Ipsos and IRi, which was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida; the Deputy Minister for Business and Made in Italy, Valentino Valentini (via video link); and the President of the Emilia-Romagna regional administration, Stefano Bonaccini. The conference included the presentation of the latest Position Paper by The European House-Ambrosetti, a study by Ipsos on the social and economic climate, and the 19th Marca by BolognaFiere Report, the annual snapshot of the role of Private Labels outlined by IRi. At the conclusion of the inaugural conference, Minister Lollobrigida chose to remain for a substantial length of time in the exhibition halls to visit Marca by BolognaFiere and meet with companies, manufacturers and industry professionals.

Thousands of operators then took part in Marca by BolognaFiere’s scientific program, which offered an opportunity to get up to speed on everything related to Private Labels at conferences, presentations of market data, workshops and specialized meetings. Appointments included the presentation of Nomisma's FMCG Packaging Observatory and the well-attended event “Organic products in Italian Grocery Retail: the evolving scenario, performance, role and market spaces” organized by AssoBio as part of the Being Organic in EU Campaign promoted by FederBio and Naturland and co-financed by the European Union, further confirming the huge interest that the organic sector continues to arouse in grocery retail. Finally, there was also substantial interest in the ADI Packaging Design Award, created to highlight the most innovative products in the Italian packaging sector.

Innovation and sustainability were the keywords at the themed trade events Marca Fresh and Marca Tech. The former, focusing on fruit and vegetables and organized for the past three years in collaboration with SGMarketing, involved more than 50 exhibiting companies. Claudio Scalise, partner SGMARKETING commented: “The fair has confirmed its role as a highly effective and efficient platform for trade and business relations for the world of fresh produce. We witnessed considerable success in terms of participation and interest from the operators also in the conferences that offered opportunities for indepth analysis and discussion with the Grocery Retail sector."

Success also for Marca Tech, which, with its 1,500 square meters and the participation of more than 60 companies, has now become a key hub for companies that want to stay up-to-date on the most innovative proposals for sustainable logistics and sustainable packaging using biodegradable and compostable materials.

There was great excitement too at the International Buyer Lounge where more than 3.000 B2B meetings took place between exhibiting companies and visiting foreign delegations who were particularly enthused by the functionality and effectiveness of the exhibition. The market’s big return to Marca by BolognaFiere was, in fact, a success that exceeded expectations on the international front as well, registering the attendance of more than 200 foreign buyers of the highest quality. Many had come from North and South America, Eastern European countries (Romania and Slovenia) and Western Europe (France, Denmark, Germany and Great Britain) as well as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The arrival of foreign buyers was the result of both the well-established partnership with ITA- the Italian Trade Agency for the promotion and internationalization of Italian companies and BolognaFiere’s strong push towards internationalization.

In Asia, particularly in China, BolognaFiere is present with its own company organizing Marca China, (Shenzhen, June 6-8, 2023), in cooperation with the Shenzhen Retail Association. Some Chinese chains were present at Marca 2023 (Ren Ren Le and Su Ning Yi Pin with their own showcase). In North Africa, a Marca by BolognaFiere road show in Casablanca is planned for the autumn, in the wake of the excellent results of the Morocco delegation and the many Halal-certified companies taking part observed during the fair.

Also on the international and export front, there was considerable participation in the International Private Label Selection (IPLS) Award, promoted by Marca by BolognaFiere in collaboration with IPLC-The retailer brands specialists, which selected the ten private label products considered most interesting and innovative for international markets.

“We are genuinely proud,” explained Gianpiero Calzolari, President of BolognaFiere, “of the results achieved at the 19th edition of Marca by BolognaFiere. We’ve seen the exhibition halls packed with thousands of operators, conferences attended beyond expectations, hundreds and hundreds of business meetings, a very high number of products and companies on display and the excellence of Made in Italy products, both food and non-food. Thank you to ADM, our long-term partner in organizing the fair, thank you to ITA- the Italian Trade Agency that supports us in the push for internationalization and growth, and thank you to all the operators, retail groups and companies that took the opportunity to achieve this success and who, even in these particularly difficult times, wanted to be here to invest in the future.”

“Marca 2023 has confirmed its role as an important event for our economic sector,” commented Marco Pedroni, president of ADM, “an opportunity for direct discussions between all those involved in the sector. This edition also gained significant national recognition. The presence of Minister Lollobrigida and other government representatives obviously generated extra attention. For ADM, it was an opportunity to reiterate the central role that Grocery Retail plays, a role that is all the more important given the current scenario filled with uncertainty as a result of inflation, raw material supply issues and the current international situation.”

The dates for the next edition of Marca by BolognaFiere have already been selected: next year’s event will be taking place on 16 and 17 January 2024 at the Bologna Exhibition Centre.

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