Food industry professionals around the world are gobbling up the idea of bringing together four different food and beverage shows under one roof at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week.
Las Vegas Food and Beverage Industry Week opened for three days on Tuesday with exhibitors and attendees from the International Pizza Expo, SIAL America, Bar & Restaurant Expo and World Tea Conference + Expo gathered in the West and South Halls of the Convention Center.
The Pizza Expo is in its 38th edition, while SIAL America is in Las Vegas for the first time. The Bar & Restaurant Expo is the new name of the event formerly known as Nightclub & Bar Show.
They’re all together for the first time, thanks to colocation, an industry term that means attendees at one show can use their ID badges to gain access to other shows.
“The shows themselves really had the idea and the concept and pitched it to us,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Much of the credit goes to (show organizers) Emerald and Questex. We have a really strong relationship with both of them because they do so many shows, not just here in the building but all over Las Vegas, so it’s a relationship that has already developed.
The LVCVA served as the coordinator and communicator for the event, which is expected to see greater attendance as delegates will be able to do business in different sectors of the food and beverage industry.
SIAL America, which brings together around 200 suppliers and retailers from seven countries, has built its reputation by hosting one of the world’s largest food shows in Paris every two years.
“We were talking about a collaboration on the pizza show,” said Jessica Blue, executive vice president of Emerald. “Was there an opportunity to work together somehow? The idea of SIAL America came and went in that direction and we started discussing it. There is nothing like SIAL in the United States. There are other food shows, but none with the depth and breadth of the entire food industry like SIAL does.
SIAL is a French acronym – Salon International de l’Alimentation – which roughly translates to “Global Food Marketplace”.
“We were looking for someone who knew the food retail industry and Emerald was the perfect fit for us,” said Laurent Noel, General Manager of the Comexposium division of the Paris-based SIAL network. “What we had in mind came to life through Emerald and there hadn’t been such an event in America until now.”
Tim McLucas, vice president of the Bar & Restaurant Group, said his organization is diversifying from its specialization with nightclubs and bars to incorporate food service into this show.
Hill said it’s too early to tell if a new trade show in Las Vegas in 2026, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, will ever be part of Las Vegas Food & Beverage Industry Week. That’s because it’s already a big event in itself and would only meet every three years in Las Vegas, alternating with Indianapolis, Indiana, closer to the Chicago-based National Confectioners Association.
The move to alternate years in Las Vegas came after the Sweets & Snacks Expo had been held in Chicago for the past 25 years.
More shared shows to come
Food & Beverage Industry Week in Las Vegas isn’t the city’s first co-located show.
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week takes place every November, bringing together the Specialty Equipment Market Association at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo at the Venetian Expo Center. Last year, SEMA and AAPEX were the biggest trade shows of 2021 by attendance.
Hill also noted that the National Hardware Show will be co-located with the NAHB International Builders’ Show and NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show for Design & Construction Week in January.
“More shows and more industries will be looking for these kinds of opportunities,” Hill said. “These types of combinations that really have attendees and customers in mind allow them to come to a series of shows that can benefit them and to use their time and travel efficiently.”