Riga Food 2019 – innovative ideas and solutions drive growth!

On 7 September, closed the Baltic’s major food industry exhibition “Riga Food 2019”, bringing together food professionals from 50 countries around the world and demonstrating the role of increasing innovation in the food sector at Kipsala International Exhibition Centre.

“It is pleasing that consumer needs and expectations are increasingly being thought of. New, original and, above all, healthy products, modern technologies, environmentally and people-friendly packaging and other innovations presented at the “Riga Food 2019” fair contributes to the business development,” pointed out the “Riga Food” manager Rolands Nežborts.

This year, a total of 700 companies from 37 countries presented their goods and services at “Riga Food”. 65% of the participants were producers, 30% were traders and wholesalers, while 3% – service providers.

Companies from Bashkortostan, the UK and Romania were represented at “Riga Food” for the first time! This year, the exhibition had a record number of national representations – national stands of 16 countries – Belarus, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Estonia, Italy, Mexico, Latvia, Lithuania, Canada, Uzbekistan, Poland, Ukraine and the Kherson Region, and Russia represented by its federal subjects Bashkortostan, Tula and Altai Regions.

Within four days, the exhibition was attended by 38,900 visitors including professionals and general public from 50 countries around the world. 40% of attendance were foreign visitors.

The “Riga Food 2019” opening ceremony and official exhibition tour was attended by the Minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards, the Executive Director of Riga City Juris Radzevičs, the board chairman of BT 1 Viesturs Tīle and the “Riga Food” manager Rolands Nežborts, as well as we were highly honoured by the presence of the ambassadors and diplomats of Austria, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Russia, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Uzbekistan and other countries.

In the Latvian national exposition, the newest products were presented by 22 companies – Almarini, Aloja Starkelsen, Dimdiņi, Meat House Ādaži, Kronis, Lat Eko Food, LKOM, Jaunpils Dairy, Mosenc, Perfecto, Skrīveru saldumi, Top Food, Valežs, Very Berry and members of the Latvian Bakers Society: N. Bomis Bakery, Lielezers, Dona, Flora, Hanzas maiznīca, Lāči, Saldus maiznieks, LPB bakery “Priekule”, and “Puratos”.

Small businesses and home producers offered their products and presented culinary heritage in the Hall of Latvia’s Regions. Goat’s cheese, gelato, ginger jelly candy, spicy chutney, dried pears, mullein tea, juniper berries, perch in jelly, chickpea crackers, shiitake mushrooms, fine muesli, garlic dressings and many other tasty products attracted not only general public but also food experts.

“Our goal is to support small manufacturers. In early summer, we summoned each of the Riga region municipalities to nominate one entrepreneur to participate in the exhibition, and as a result Riga Food 2019 brought together the best of them to impress the visitors with their performance. It was good for those who had developed unique products. It is no secret that many original flavours are developed from old ones using modern approach and technology,” told Dace Grīnberga, head of the Business Support Centre at Riga Planning Region.

Quality events programme
In addition to the “Riga Food 2019” exhibition, a series of presentations, seminars, masterclasses and business meetings were held. There was an Electrolux training kitchen open in Kipsala! Professionals discussed both industrial Internet solutions and how to make practical use of them in the food industry, the production of innovative products and the participation in the international matchmaking event. Gourmets, in turn, took advantage of the opportunity to taste the newest products, to familiarise themselves with cooking technology, to take part in masterclasses, to taste, get ideas and recipes for their daily menu.

Ideas that add value to the food industry
“Riga Food 2019” announced the first winners of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Knowledge Community’s EIT Food Innovation Idea Competition. Grants totalling 15,000 euros were awarded to further the idea. Nine companies took part in the competition and the winners was Smart Packaging and SpirulinaNord.

“Smart Packaging uses smart sensor systems in food packaging to determine the freshness of food and reduce food waste or health risks posed by inaccurate food expiration dates. Nearly nine million tonnes of food are wasted every year due to inaccurate expiration dates, causing losses of more than €140 billion,” told Solvita Kostjukova, a co-founder of Smart Packaging.

SpirulinaNord is a technology created by scientists at Riga Technical University (RTU), which allows to grow the valuable tropical microalgae spirulina in the Latvian climate conditions and offer it to customers to use it fresh. “Spirulina is a high-quality source of vegetable protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” explained the developers Agnese Stunda-Zujeva, Kristīne Veģere, scientists at RTU, and Kaspars Veģeris, an experienced businessman.

Chef competitions have a widespread resonance
Six chef competitions took place during the International Food Fair “Riga Food 2019” bringing together 43 participants. Pāvels Skopa (Restaurant “Koya”) won the title “Latvian Chef of the Year 2019”, Reaton Golden Ladle and the prize money EUR 700, leaving Jānis Osis (Restaurant “Fifty-Six Twenty-Four”) in the second and Jegor Porulev (Restaurant “Hügge”, Estonia) in the third place. The title of the best journeyman chef went to Nikita Buslajev who assisted Jegor Porulev.

Contest of dinosaurs
The “Master Chef 2019” competition, called a “contest of dinosaurs” by contestants themselves, gathered a great number of spectators. The “Master Chef 2019” competition participants included the best chefs of Latvia, who had not only been working for years to build a restaurant culture in Latvia, but had also been appearing in various TV shows. The title of the Master Chef 2019 was awarded to Raimonds Zommers, a chef of the Entresol restaurant and the winner of many competitions.

Bocuse d’Or Latvia National Selection
Only two chefs – Dinārs Zvidriņš and Juris Latišenoks – and their assistants – Toms Fridrihsons and Dans Ivanovs – took part in the “Bocuse d’Or” National Selection. The competition was tough enough and Latvia will be represented at “Bocuse d’Or” by Dinars Zvidriņš. According to the panel of judges, the best assistant chef was Dans Ivanovs.

Baltic Culinary Heritage
The Baltic team competition “Baltic Culinary Heritage” had already become a tradition. Jury repeatedly announced Team Latvia as the winner of this competition. The Team Lithuania, on the turn, won the audience favourite’s title. The Team Latvia included three chefs: Kristīne Strode, Baiba Brasle, Aigars Sīlis and the team manager Viesturs Lasmanis. To further strengthen the tradition of this competition, a tripartite memorandum of cooperation was signed during the awards ceremony, stating that this competition will "travel" from one Baltic country to another, so we will see it return to Latvia again in three years.

Zero Waste Challenge
The “Zero Waste Challenge” competition for the Baltic Schools invited young chefs to think about climate change, which is also caused by food waste, so the aim of the competition was to leave as little waste as possible. Two schools from each of the Baltic States took part in the competition. This time, the best turned out to be Teko (Estonia). Read more about the Chefs’ Club competition: www.bt1.lv/rigafood/read.php?subid=9434

Premium quality food manufactured in Latvia
This year, the premium quality food competition was held in the categories of honey, dairy products and bread. The “Quality Honey Awards 2019” Golden medal and the 1st place was awarded to Rimants Gaidamovičs (buckwheat honey), the 2nd place winner – farm “Dorītes” (lime honey), the 3rd place winner – Maija Malnača (multifloral honey).

The “Quality Bread Awards 2019” Golden medalists: bakery “DONA” (wheat wholegrain bread), “Hanzas maiznīca” (wholegrain rye bread), “LĀČI” (real grain bread), “Cannelle Bakery” (Bagel), bakery “Lielezers” (dark rye bread with seeds), “Madonas maiznieks” (Lāčplēsis rye bread), “Saldus maiznieks” (Courlander rye bread). Silver medalists: bakery “SOLO” (grain bread / Cēsis bread), “Fazer Latvija” (bread with parsnip and carrot), bakery “Flora” (BIO grain bread) and bakery “Priekule” (Aļļi rye bread).

The best dairy products were determined in five categories. The 2018 / 2019 new products Group I “Fermented Milk Products”: the 1st place and Golden Medal was awarded to Tukuma piens “Greek yogurt super breakfast oatmeal with apples and cinnamon” (technologist Vita Poškus). The winner in the Group II “Cheese” – “Latvijas piens” fresh cheese “Snowballs with feta flavour” (technologist Inese Grundmane). The Group III “Ice Cream” winner – "Rūjienas saldējums" ice cream “Mini Melts” with bilberry flavour (technologist Sanda Gūte).

The winner in the group “Sour cream with a fat content 25%” – "Tukuma piens" sour cream “Eksporta” (technologist Sandra Firleja); “Cottage cheese with a fat content of 9%” – "Talsu piensaimnieks" whole milk curds “Talsu” with a fat content of 9% (technologists Dina Zazīte and Mārtiņš Raksa).

The winner in the group “Butter” – "Tukuma piens" for cream butter “EKSPORTA”, 82,5 % (technologist Sandra Firleja); group “Mature semi-hard cheese” – "Smiltenes piens" for its mature semi-hard cheese “Hollandes”, 45 % (technologist Vita Puriņa). More about the winners: www.bt1.lv/rigafood/read.php?subid=9409

”Riga Food 2019” Packaging No. 1
Panel of judges assigned the Grand Prix to Pobeda Confectionery for the packaging of unique chocolates. Other winners: Kabile Manor Winery packaging for sparkling beverages – 1st place; Kronis packaging for soups (doy pack) – 2nd place; Capulus terra or Curonia Roastery – 3rd place.

The “Riga Food 2019” visitors vote in the category of packaging for beverages: 1st place – Keramexclusive ceramic souvenir bottle “Violin”; in the category of packaging for confectionery and sweets: 1st place – Vajars packaging for the chocolate cream “Magmum Šoko”.

The winners in the groups of packaging for bread and groceries – “Latvijas maiznieks” for the Latvian Grain Bread packaging; packaging for meat and processed meat products – Noo Lihatoostus for “Snakker” packaging; packaging for fish and processed fish products: 1st place – Oscars Fish packaging for frozen products; 2nd place – Oscars Fish tin tunnel.

Packaging for foods not included in the product groups above: 1st place – Baltic Bio Grain for packaging "No ban on green living!".
More about the winners: www.bt1.lv/rigafood/read.php?subid=9426

The 25th anniversary edition of the International Food, Drinks, Food Processing, Technology, Packaging, Innovation, Catering, Hotel and Shop Equipment and Service Exhibition “Riga Food 2020” will take place from 9–12 September 2020 at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre, Riga, Latvia.

”Riga Food” is held by the International Exhibition Company BT 1 in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia, Institute of Agrarian Resources and Economics, Latvian Technology Centre, EEN Latvia, Chefs’ Club, Diplomatic Economic Club Latvia and other partners.

Read more about “Riga Food”: www.rigafood.lv
Follow the “Riga Food” news: facebook.com/rigafood