Interview: Nathalie Depetro, MAPIC


The director of MAPIC talks to RetailWatch about the launch of Food & Beverage in Milan.


Why is this the right time to launch a dedicated, international F&B event?

We have seen in recent years how food and beverage have become a key factor in enhancing the customer experience at retail destinations. With the e-commerce revolution dramatically transforming the positioning of shopping malls as leisure destinations, food halls have become a stimulus and a nucleus to bring the local community together and to turn retail spaces into an exciting environment where people can eat, meet, shop and work.

For retail destinations, it is now essential to gather the right mix of F&B retailers to continue to be attractive. Having made food and beverage the overriding theme for MAPIC 2017, and having seen the great appetite from participants concerning this topic, we saw the opportunity to launch a dedicated event in Milan in 2018.

Why have you chosen Italy/Milan for the F&B show?

Since the 2015 EXPO, which created a legacy with a focus on nutrition and sustainable food, Milan has established itself as the World Food Capital City and is today the main stage for events, projects and debate on food-related issues.

Will the May event still have a strong Italian flavour in some way, although it is international in focus?

For the first time, we are launching a MAPIC event entirely dedicated to a specific segment, food and beverage, and not a local market MAPIC Food & Beverage. It will benefit from the dynamism of the Italian food & beverage sector, while being completely international. Among the international retailers already confirmed to attend are Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, KFC, Starbucks Coffee Company, Rex Caf, Rocket Restaurant, Flunch, Hardee’s, Heavenly Desserts, Pink Fish, La Place and Mama Burger.

From fast casual to travel food experiences, food halls to street food, can you tell us something about the range of F&B retail experiences you’ll be showcasing?

MAPIC Food & Beverage attendees will have the unique opportunity to discover a whole range of new concepts from across the sector, not just in the exhibition hall but also as part of our conference programme.

One speaker who will really present a retail experience that is somewhat out of the ordinary is Andrea Rasca, founder of Mercato Metropolitano, a concept which is reflecting some of the new trends of the F&B industry. Its aim is to raise awareness of sustainability, environmental, economic and social aspects of the community.

Located in a south eastern borough of London, it is described as a movement which revolves around individuals: small-scale farmers, local producers and members of the local community, and provides an experience that goes beyond eating.

This includes learning about how food is grown in the on-site urban garden, finding out more about the wide ranging producers through live demonstrations and events, enjoying music, art exhibitions and other kinds of live performances by undiscovered artists, watching specially curated films and cultural programmes in the on-site arts centre/cinema, looking after physical well-being in the fitness studio, providing affordable workspace and social space for the emerging entrepreneurial community and getting involved with local community groups.

What can real estate investors and developers learn from your event?

MAPIC Food & Beverage will offer an exhibition area where international F&B retailers can showcase their concepts to real estate professionals who want to expand their food retail mix. In contrast to MAPIC in Cannes, retailers will be the exhibitors and real estate professionals will come as visitors. MAPIC Food & Beverage will be a powerful international business platform.

This is quite a unique format and we hope that it will give those investors and developers a rare opportunity to discover a whole range of new international food and beverage concepts that they will hopefully identify as being a good fit for their existing or upcoming retail destinations.

Our conference programme will also be key in terms of enlightening delegates on the various industry trends. One key session entitled: ‘Food Halls: The New Flagship Retail Model?’ will explore the key components needed to create an attractive food hall, such as location, space, clustering and concepts.

What can retailers learn from your event?

By attending MAPIC Food & Beverage, retailers can benchmark and scope out the international competition! More importantly, by meeting with the most important international master franchises, landlords and developers, they can get an in-depth overview of what their requirements are for food and beverage offerings from different market perspectives.

Retailers will not just learn new lessons at MAPIC Food & Beverage: they will also do business, which is at the heart of the MAPIC brand identity.