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HOST MILANO exhibition: the new features of the 2021 edition

The biennial exhibition dedicated to the world of hospitality and catering is back live in the halls of Rho-Fieramilano from 22 to 26 October 2021. The post-pandemic edition of HostMilano in attendance allowed HoReCa professionals to meet again and discuss the latest innovations in terms of food service equipment, design and raw materials, offering an insight into the future formats of hospitality.

SLIM S.r.l. attended the exhibition as a visitor, looking for innovative solutions dedicated to professional catering, coffee machines and vending machines. For the occasion, we interviewed Raffaella Zambellini and Barbara Zago, respectively Co-CEO and Business Developer of SLIM, who gave us an insider's look at the most long-awaited international event in the HoReCa world. Let's find out what's new!

Specifically, in this article we will talk about:


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Host Milano 2021 exhibition: the 42nd edition

Good morning Raffaella and Barbara, let's start with the first question: What are your impressions following your participation in the Host post-pandemic exhibition?

Raffaella Zambellini: It was a surprising edition from several points of view. There was an unexpected participation of professional operators: we are talking about 150,000 visitors and 1,344 exhibitors. Even if, due to the absence of some countries such as China, the attendance was slightly lower than in pre-Covid years. It is certainly exciting to be able to see our customers and staff again, to talk to each other live and to touch products that we had only seen on video. The event, which was held in conjunction with Tuttofood - the hub of the food ecosystem, made it even more engaging for us professionals. We attended a series of events, show-cooking sessions and conferences that were part of a rich programme of meetings aimed at encouraging the exchange of expertise between operators in the sector. To sum it all up, being the first post-pandemic Host exhibition, it couldn't have been better!


Host fair 2021


The latest in design: what to highlight about the equipment of the future

What trends for the HoReCa sector emerged at the exhibition?

Barbara Zago: Technological and sustainability trends, which had been in the air for some time, were reconfirmed by the various exhibitors. Technology has enabled food service equipment to take a significant step into the future, leading to considerable developments. Over the past year, companies have invested in research and development to enhance the functionality and features of their machines, with a view to offering a cutting-edge solution to professionals and consumers. IoT, computer applications and smart appliances are just some facets of this trend.

Another trend that is very much in vogue is sustainability, in the sense of avoiding waste, both food and energy, and encouraging proper disposal using biodegradable or recyclable materials. In this sense, digitalisation can help, through the use of smart devices, to reduce energy consumption and food waste. Just think about "smart" fridges that help with food management and aim to reduce consumption.

What innovations and technologies were presented in terms of machinery and equipment?

Raffaella Zambellini: The most interesting innovations were on the IoT (Internet of things) front for coffee machines. The Internet, applied to the aspect of maintenance controls, makes it possible to manage machine settings totally remotely, cutting down on the problem-solving times that the operator may encounter.
Certain technicalities that were previously handled manually, thanks to the use of technology, facilitate the work of bartenders and coffee lovers. Today, the use of electronics in the production of a single cup of coffee makes it possible to calibrate the regulation of water pressure so that the dispensing guarantees the optimum aroma and taste of the drink. Some of the machines on display can have 3 or 4 pressure diversification programmes. In addition, the bartender can set other programmes which he can then recall for use.


Fiamma coffee machine


What were the innovations regarding the design of food service applications?

Barbara Zago: While on the one hand the equipment presented is made more efficient by new technologies, on the other hand, we saw a return to the past, with the proposal of professional coffee machines and grinders with vintage lines. A retro design starting with the use of materials such as briarwood or wood. Machines with a sophisticated design for the domestic sector are also becoming increasingly popular.

Thanks to the pandemic, having had to stop for 12 months has meant that people are living more at home, with a consequent change in eating and consumption habits. Demand for similarly professional, home-sized devices has increased and manufacturers have been quick to propose new design solutions for domestic use. One example is Profitec, a company we work with, which has developed a professional machine for the home market, customising the pressure knobs with a very special coating.


The latest in lighting: the latest trends

What has emerged on the subject of lighting?

Barbara Zago: In most food service equipment, be it refrigeration machines, dishwashers, ovens or professional hobs, there are always lighting components. But it is particularly in the coffee machine sector that a clearly defined lighting concept has emerged. The light source is not only installed in the working area or as a signalling device but also cleverly inserted into the body of the device or into the knobs with an aesthetic function. The trend is to play between the application of the light source and the use of reflective materials, such as aluminium shells, to create striking light effects across the surface. Examples include the La Cimbali brand with its top of the range espresso machines and avant-garde design, and the Rancilio company, which has presented coffee machines with an ultra-modern design, which fit in with any type of décor. Lighting, therefore, plays a key role in the personalisation of the device, which is intended to stand out and offer itself to the consumer as a beautiful and attractive object, to be part of the home and venue décor.


Rancilio coffee machine


How do you think SLIM can fit into these new trends?

Raffaella Zambellini: Considering our offer, and referring to the new trends proposed, we have noticed several opportunities for SLIM lighting solutions.

As far as professional kitchens are concerned, the vandal-proof light indicator is a product that has intrigued the designers of catering hobs and dishwashers. It is an IP65 light indicator, with a metal body part that makes it more resistant to mechanical and chemical "stress" conditions, making it suitable for installation in equipment that is used daily and treated with aggressive disinfecting agents.

Micro LED spotlights, on the other hand, have proved to be an effective solution for coffee machines, both in terms of their internal dimensions and their engineering. These small devices function as a lighting system, ideal for highlighting the coffee dispensing area even in a lit room. The possibility of 230V voltage also allows the machines to operate without overloading the reducer. Staying in the coffee machine area, optical fibre lighting is a design light element for sophisticated devices. In fact, it can be used as a light profile inside the body of the machine to enhance its shape.

Finally, looking at the refrigeration sector and ice makers, solutions for disinfecting or sanitising water using customised systems with UV-C LEDs could be of interest.


We would like to thank Raffaella and Barbara for this contribution!
The next appointment with the Host Milano exhibition will be from 13 to 17 October 2023, in the meantime, we will continue to keep up to date to shed light on the trends in the sector.

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