The following blog is a special recap by Vanrooy CEO David Van Rooy as he explains his experience at the exhibition and with Chinese bakery culture .
BAKERY CHINA – SHANGHAI. 6-9 MAY 2019
As a first-time visitor to China, my preconceived ideas and expectations for the city of Shanghai and the local bakery industry were simply blown out of the water after our arrival. Firstly, the size of the place – looking out of my 82nd floor hotel window and seeing nothing but city and in essence the entire Australian population to the horizon in every direction was incredible.
Our first day was spent walking the streets of central Shanghai and I was impressed with the baked product we saw and the level of bakery overall. Admittedly we barely scratched the surface of Shanghai but a 22km walking day was still a good effort.
Whilst not normally a fan of Starbucks, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Jing’an was a brilliant experience. Beans are roasted on site and transported overhead to coffee stations where you can choose your bean and how you want your coffee made. The baked goods on offer were very good too and far better than you would normally experience at a Starbucks.
The absolute pinnacle was a visit to Salon de The de Joel Robuchon in The Bund. The level of quality for the bread and pastry were simply outstanding and well deserving of the Robuchon brand.
Upon arrival for day one of Bakery China 2019 I was immediately impressed with the venue. The Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre – SNIEC – is a Sino-German joint venture and is very similar to the big German exhibition centres, such as the Messe Munich (the venue for IBA). It is big, like everything in Shanghai, at over 300,000m2 and every inch was in use during the show. Each of the three wings represented a sector with Equipment, Ingredients and Packaging as the key areas.
Walking the equipment halls, you are immediately struck by the sheer number of manufacturers of equipment in China. The quality has risen certainly, but then so too have the prices. Still not European quality nor European pricing but the gaps on both fronts are closing. The main concentration of equipment was towards retail sized equipment, not the bigger industrial equipment. And if course there were a number of locally made items, we saw that looked remarkably like a Euro machine – the bakery version of the copy watch!
In my opinion, the standard of equipment is not at a level where I would be willing to put our company name on it. For a start, the level of compliance to our safety laws, for machine guarding compliance, food safety compliance and electrical standards are just not there.
What did impress me more were the ingredients halls. There were many companies producing frozen raw product and the standard was a lot higher than I expected. Round billets of frozen dough for egg tarts (what we know as a Portuguese Tart) were very popular. Plus, many other variations of laminated pastry in ready to use frozen portion sizes. There was a greater emphasis on pastry product over bread product.
Overall, I have come away from Bakery China 2019 very impressed with the enthusiasm for baked product, especially their pastry, the level of knowledge of the participants and consumers and all at a quality that exceeded my expectations. The venue was excellent, the event was well structured and amazing city of Shanghai offered an amazing backdrop to it all.