MILAN, Italy -- The seventh staging of the European Union's Venditalia trade fair and conference attracted 271 exhibitors and a total of some 20,000 visitors to Pavilions 1 and 2 at the Fieramilanocity exhibition center here.
According to the event's organizers, the enthusiasm displayed by showgoers suggests that the vending industry is showing early signs of an impending economic recovery.
The convergence of advanced technology and lessened environmental impact on display at Venditalia commanded the attention of visitors, as did the profusion of innovative vending equipment dispensing everything from hot pizza and pasta dishes through all sorts of snacks to hot beverages including ginseng-infused coffee and other sophisticated flavors.
Industry progress was highlighted by the display in many booths of classic vending machines, many of them famous and fondly remembered. These contrasted with innovative contemporary designs encouraging selective solid-waste collection, offering numerous cashless payment options including "mobile" ones, and boasting video displays screening weather, news and advertising while doubling as user-friendly customer interfaces.
"We are very satisfied with this result and I wish to publicly thank all those people working behind the scenes of this immense organizational machine," said Venditalia chairman Marco Monaco, Gruppo Argenta (Modena). "If Venditalia is a window onto this sector's future then we cannot be anything else but optimistic.
"This event highlighted a great innovative entrepreneurial spirit," Monaco reported. "Notwithstanding the negative economic trend, many exhibitors were extremely satisfied with the business contacts made, confirming Venditalia as an extraordinary platform for promoting business, contacts with the market and a true and proper meeting point between worldwide supply and demand."
Lucio Pinetti, secretary-general of the Italian national vending association Confida (Milan) and a member of the Italian business confederation Confcommercio Imprese per l'Italia, observed that the brisk activity at Venditalia "makes us certain that recovery is just around the corner.
"Our sector is in close contact with the end consumer; 90% of its machines are installed in workplaces," Pinetti pointed out. "It is therefore an unfailing carbon copy of the country's state of wellbeing. We immediately registered the effects of the recession, but now we feel we are right in saying that recovery is effectively knocking at the door."
The 8th edition of Venditalia is scheduled for May 9 through 12, 2012, again in Milan.