What You Need to Know about SIAL

For 6 decades, SIAL, or Salon International de l’Alimentation, has sparked innovation in the food industry. Whether you are an exhibitor, a visitor, or just learning about SIAL, we have all the basics to know before you go.
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SIAL: What You Need to Know

A Brief on SIAL

Imagine 250.000 sq. m. of exhibition space. Empty. Now let’s jump to 19 October, 2024. Every two years, all that space is taken up for three days by thousands and thousands of people uniting on the common passion of food. Aisles of producers, importers, buyers and retailers, media specialists, and independents all looking for revolutionary ways to further their position in the food industry. SIAL was founded in 1964 with the goal in mind to provide food industry experts with a place to bounce ideas off each other, find and make new connections, and to better the world through food innovation. The first Salon International de l’Alimentation welcomed people from 26 different countries. Now, there are over 200 countries, 265.000 visitors, 7.000 exhibitors, and more than 400.000 food products expected to be represented this year. Sounds a bit intimidating, no? Have no fear. We have some expectations and pro-tips for both visitors and exhibitors.

This One is for the Visitors

This year, SIAL will be 19.10.2024 to 23.10.2024. From Saturday to Tuesday, the hours for visitors will remain the same, 10.00-18.30. Wednesday, the final day of the show, hours will be slightly different with doors opening at 10.00 and closing at 17.00. The final admission on Wednesday will be at 14.00 (2.00 pm). If you need those few hours in, make sure you’re in and not leaving by 14.00! Are you still in need of accommodations? The SIAL website gives links to their recommended accommodations and directions for transportation here: For visitors, there are four fee windows: Early Bird (available until 16 June), Standard (available until 15 September), Late Bird (available until 19 October), and Onsite. There are four ways to pay, as well. These are: Solo, Trio, School, and Group. Rates differ between each group size, but the main thing to watch out for is the increasing prices with the fee windows. The longer you wait to purchase your ticket to SIAL, the more expensive your ticket will be. Ticket pricing and online purchase can be made here: Pro-Tip for Visitors: Our pro-tip to any visitors of SIAL is do your homework. With the amazing credentials of attendees and exhibitors also come the troubles of an impossibly large crowd. Use the SIAL website to look at exhibition maps to know which areas start with and how to move around. I would recommend reviewing the exhibits which are most attractive and setting up appointments. This gives you a guaranteed time to meet and talk with the high priority companies. The final tip we have is to set a daily schedule. 5 days is a long time with a lot of opportunities. Don’t waste your time by not knowing what to do next. Doing your research, booking some appointments, and setting your daily schedule will ensure you are most effective this year at SIAL.

This One is for the Exhibitors

Let’s jump right into it for the exhibitors. Registration to be an exhibitor is open until the day before SIAL begins (19.10.2024). However, this does not mean there will be space available up to that point. The earlier you register, the less it costs and the better options you will have. Once you are registered as an exhibitor, it’s important to think of how to prepare your booth. SIAL offers different packages for each exhibitor for furniture, electrical, and other amenities. You can look at the different available options during your booth registration. Booth registration can be found at this link: Build up days are from Monday, 14.10.2024 to Wednesday, 16.10.2024. The event hall will be available for build up, on those dates, from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm (19.30). It will also be available from Thursday, 17.10.2024 to Friday, 18.10.2024 from 7.30 am to 10 pm (22.00). Disassembly will be the following dates and times: - Wednesday 23th October 2024 from 5 pm to midnight - Thursday 24th October 2024 from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm - Friday 25th October 2024 from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm - Saturday 26th 2024 October from 7.30 am to 2 pm Any service provider or subcontractor will need to pick up their badge at the front desks before beginning to set up. While SIAL is naturally a great chance for buyers to approach suppliers, this does not mean exhibitors are welcomed to relax and have an easy going time at SIAL. Each exhibitor is divided into 8 exhibition rooms by what type of food you are supplying. Chances are, there will be another company that provides the same service you do. Distinguishing yourself from the others will be crucial. With 265.000 trade professionals in attendance, it will be important to grab and hold the attention of visitors quickly. With that being said, here are our pro-tips for exhibitors at SIAL: 1. Set a light goal for how many connections, commitments, or contacts you want to get by the end of the day and by the end of the entire show. 2. Have something that’s more enticing than the other booths. This might be a small treat, an inviting smell, or a free beverage. 3. Don’t scare them off by getting right into your pitch. Ask some soft investigative questions first. How’s it going? Where have you been so far? Have you found any wins? What is it you are looking for? Don’t take too long, but give them a breather before you start your real pitch. 4. Accept an offered meeting from the suppliers! These are a great indication that they have done their research, know you are relevant to their cause, and are wanting to further that potential connection. 5. Research buyers you would like to work with and set up appointments for SIAL before you get there. This shows the buyer you are interested in working with them and it gives them a chance to get to know your company. As an exhibitor, following these steps will give you a headstart at SIAL. With a semi-structured schedule, you will be able to prioritize your actions, prepare for certain companies ahead of time, and reach your set goals. In conclusion, whether you are attending SIAL as a visitor or as an exhibitor, know that what you are doing is no joke! 265.000 visitors, 200 countries, 7.000 exhibitors, and more than 400.000 food products. You can get lost, totally swept by the vastness of such an expansive show. Even with the large size, SIAL can be one of your greatest resources from both the visitor and exhibitor sides. My closing thought is come so prepared. In fact, come over prepared. Have big ideas of who you want to meet, what parts of the exhibition you want to venture to, and what your daily schedule will look like. Reach out to suppliers to see if they will be there. Schedule appointments with certain exhibitors. Do your research. There’s nothing worse than getting to your anticipated destination and having no direction. Set yourself up for SIAL success. Not SIAL regrets.

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