Australia’s largest food trade exhibition celebrated its 30-year milestone with more than 27,000 people.
Record numbers of both visitors and exhibitors attended Fine Food Australia across the event’s four days, held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in September.
The show floor was a hotbed of activity with everything from business meetings, Q&A sessions with industry figureheads and pizza acrobatics through to chocolate centrepiece competitions taking place under the one roof.
This year’s Bakery World boasted the biggest collection of baking and pâtisserie-related products and services in the event’s history, with competition organisers saying the competitions and demonstrations were a massive drawcard.
A lot of attention was focused on the Talking Food Stage, where experts discussed the trends and topics affecting today’s food service professional, including the latest international trends, family businesses, serving customers with allergies, and pub food.
Australian Baking Business hosted two panel sessions at the stage; with Phillippa Grogan from Phillippa’s Bakery, Michael Klausen from Brasserie Bread and Orlando Artavilla from Candied Bakery joining the bread panel to discussing the importance of quality ingredients and traditional, slow-fermentation methods.
For the pâtisserie panel, LuxBite’s Bernard Chu, Epicure Group’s Deniz Karaca, The Ministry of Chocolate’s Drew Maddison and Le Petit Gateau’s Pierrick Boyer came together to talk about pushing boundaries in presentation and ingredients, as well as the importance of social media in today’s competitive food industry.
As it is every year, innovation was a major focus of the event, with the New Product Showcase highlighting up-and-coming products, services and equipment designed to make life easier and more cost-effective for food professionals.
The Best New Bakery Product award – designed to celebrate the best and most innovative equipment, finished food and ingredients for bakery businesses launched in the past 12 months – was hosted by Australian Baking Business and judged by Deniz Karaca, Orlando Artavilla and the magazine’s editor Irini Cavalliotis. Together, the panel shortlisted several commendable products and awarded top gong to local pie machine manufacturer, Simple Simon Pie Machines.
Congratulations to the place-winners in this year’s Best New Bakery Product awards:
Winner: Simple Simon Pie Machines for the True Blue Pie Machine
Runner-up: Macpan Australia for the Macpan Cyclops
Runner-up: Monika for the Monika Pathfinder
For the judges, Simple Simon’s semi-automatic innovation, which allows flexibility for gourmet fillings and garnishing, met a range of criteria including durability, marketability and cost-efficiency.
“I thought all products entered in the awards had a purpose in today’s cut-throat bakery business, but looking from a small bakery owners point of view, Simple Simon demonstrated a product that was suitable for small-to-medium sized bakeries, in terms of price and size,” Orlando said.
“Not very often you get a small version of commercial bakery equipment available. Tom, the owner of Simple Simon also demonstrated great knowledge of equipment and had an answer for all of our questions.”
“On first sight it seemed like it would probably take us much time to clean, as it could potentially save you from doing your pies by hand. So I was positively surprised to see how easy the most vital parts can be taken apart and re-assembled,” Deniz said.
“Given the time saving and its great price point, it will have to make small business owners rethink how things are getting done at the moment – especially when you consider the ever rising cost of labour in today’s workplace. I’m sure this machine can present great value to the right scale environment.”
Simple Simon Pie Machines owner and keen sponsor of the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition Tom Lindsay was happy with the win and said show-goers had been impressed with the product’s flexibility.
“We really took great lengths to give the industry a product that could do it all; cocktail, party, school, lunch, travel, family oblong, square pies, you name it. And, from the feedback we’ve been getting, that’s just what bakery owners want in a machine,” Tom said.
“Machines in the bakery have to be durable, they have to be fully mobile and they have to be easy to clean – bakers just don’t have the time or the patience to deal with a product that isn’t.
“Above all, the machine has to produce a bakery product that is authentic – that looks like it took the baker all morning to hand-craft, because that’s what consumers today are looking for; products that aren’t pumped out of a major manufacturing facility, that have that level of rustic appeal.”
2015 will see the return of the event to Sydney. For more information on Fine Food Australia, visit www.finefoodaustralia.com.au.