President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis says Riga Food has become tradition and symbol of quality!

The Baltics’ major food industry exhibition "Riga Food 2017", which this year gave even more resonance and gathered even more visitors in the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre, closed on September 9.

The Riga Food trade fair gathered 720 companies from 35 countries presenting their goods and services. 47% of all participants were Latvian producers, 20% – Latvian importers and wholesalers, while 33% of participating companies were from abroad.

During the fair visitors had an opportunity to attend 15 national collective stands representing the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Italy, Mexico, Latvia, Lithuania, Canada, Poland, Slovakia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Hungary. Newcomers in this section were Azerbaijan and Mexico!

The total attendance reached 39,412, which is a 1% increase compared to last year. "Riga Food 2017" was attended by professionals from 54 countries of the world.

President of Latvia and the Minister of Agriculture opens Riga Food 2017
The official opening ceremony of Riga Food 2017 was attended by the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, Minister for Agriculture Jānis Dūklavs, CEO of BT 1 Viesturs Tīle and the Riga Food 2017 Project Manager Rolands Nežborts. The opening ceremony was also attended by the ambassadors and diplomats of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovakia, Uzbekistan and other countries.

In the opening address, the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis stated that the food sector is one of the most important sectors in the Latvian economy, which has been successfully developing over the centuries, strengthening the professionalism of Latvian producers, enhancing quality of products and their visibility in the world. "The last year has been marked by a positive change in the field of food industry – there is a steady increase in production volume, which, in turn, confirms that our products are not only demanded in Latvia but also far beyond the borders of Latvia reaching exotic regions like the United Arab Emirates, Africa and South Asia, " President pointed out adding that "Riga Food is the largest food fair in the Baltic Region and it has become a recognized tradition and a symbol of quality."

Representation of numerous Latvian producers!
Latvia was represented in the national collective stand by 24 companies from a wide variety of food industry sectors – enterprises both well known in the Latvian and foreign markets, and newcomers like the Meat Processing Company “Ādaži”, the companies “Aloja Starkelsen”, “Dona”, “Dimdiņi”, “Kronis”, “Lat Eko Food”, “Mosenc”, “Jaunpild pienotava”, “Perfecto”, “Puratos Latvia”, “Rāmkalni Nordeco”, “Smiltenes piens”, “Skrīveru saldumi”, “Enhars”, “Valežs”, “Vladas SP”. The bakery sector, in turn, was represented by the members of Latvian Bakers Association – “Dona”, N. Bomis bakery “Lielezers”, “Roga-Agro”, “Saldus maiznieks”, “Lāči”, “Vidzemes maiznīca”, “Hanzas maiznīca” and the bakery “Flora”.

The taste of Latvian regions

In Riga Food’s Regions of Latvia Hall, 150 small producers, small and medium-sized enterprises of Latgale, Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Zemgale invited visitors to enjoy regional gastronomic treats.

During the "Popular Taste" competition held for the second consecutive year, visitors had an opportunity to taste different regional delicacies and vote for their favourites. The top rated products here were as follows: a vast assortment of black pudding made by Ineta Bole, the strong non-alcoholic beverage “Ingverine” brewed by Jānis Smelters, the Valts Grasbergs’s natural milk products that have already won popularity among Latvian customers, Lāsma Kiļupe’s chocolate-coated candied fruits, Leonīds Kradevics’s fruit and berry wines, and Agate Gutmane’s fine confections and cakes on sticks.

“The responsiveness and imagination of home compounders is worth of appreciation. Great feedback during and after the fair inspires further progress and makes us believe that the chosen path is the right one. We are glad that the judges in collaboration with the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economic selected the Mazsālijas farm to represent Latvia at the Green Week 2018 international food fair in Berlin,” told Mārtiņš Cimermanis, a Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre.

Quality and versatile programme of events
Alongside extensive exposition, a number of presentations, seminars, workshops and business meetings took place at “Riga Food 2017”. Moreover, the premium quality food competitions were held to determine and reward the manufacturers of the highest quality milk, bread and honey products in Latvia.

International Packaging Competition
The Riga Food 2017 Packaging No. 1 Competition was held to promote modern and high-quality packaging for food products.

According to judges, the Grand Prix for the best packaging went to SIA Glear for “Jersikas čipsi” with mango salsa and blue cheese flavour. "Skrīveru Pārtikas kombināts" packaging for the assorted "Gotiņa" sweets won the 1st prize; the 2nd prize went to “Choco Group” for “Aqua Chocolate Collection” and Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija packaging for "Zefir in Chocolate with Riga Black Balsam Blackcurrant Filling”; the 3rd prize – Badagoni LLC for the packaging “Wine labels – GAU” and JSC Tukuma piens for “Baltais” Protein Yoghurt drink packaging.

All prize winning packagings and the Riga Food 2017 visitors’ favourites will be presented at the International Packaging Technology and Logistics Exhibition "Pakfood 2017" in Poznan, Poland, September 25-28.

Best chefs and apprentice chefs determined!
Riga Food 2017 offered professional competitions for the best chefs and apprentice chefs. The title "Chef of Latvia 2017” and the Reaton’s Golden Ladle Award went to Dinārs Zvidriņš (Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga), the first runner-up – Nauris Salenieks (Restaurant “Kaļķu vārti”), the second runner-up – Jegors Poruļevs (a self-employed chef).

The title "Apprentice Chef of Latvia 2017”, in turn, went to Artūrs Bilzens (Restaurant "Kaļķu vārti"), the first runner-up – Konstantīns Mihejevs (Restaurant "Entresol"), the second runner up – Normunds Silkalns (Riga Tourism and Creative Industries College).

Riga Tea Days and Latvian National Tea Tournament for Children
Riga Tea Days took place in Kipsala on the first exhibition day offering visitors to get acquainted with diversity of tea ceremonies. On the last exhibition day, the Latvian National Tea Tournament for Kids was held, where young tea masters competed in tea brewing, composition and tasting art. The winner of the Latvian National Tea Tournament – Anete Dīriņa.

Riga Food is held by the International Exhibition Company BT 1 in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Institute of Agrarian Resources and Economics, the Latvian Technological Centre, the Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre, EEN Latvija, the Chefs Club and the Diplomatic Economic Club Latvia.

The 23rd International Trade Fair for Food, Beverages, Food Processing, Technology, Packaging, Innovations, HoReCa and Retail Equipment and Services will take place from 5–8 September 2018 at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre, Riga, Latvia.

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