Summary of the SIRHA exhibition

Summary of the SIRHA exhibition

SIRHA 2024 opened its doors on 5 March 20 000 visitors and 300 exhibitors on 30 000 square metres. The HoReCa sector’s biggest celebration and trade fair will host an unprecedented number of professional events and round-table discussions this year. In addition to these, there will also be a number of professional competitions: the Catering Competition, the World Pizza Championship Selections and the Gelato Masters.

Key themes covered in the opening speeches

Gábor Ganzer, CEO of Hungexpo, opened the event with a short welcome speech. In his speech, he stressed that, in retrospect, the economic effects of both the Covid and the Ukrainian wars had put the HoReCa sector and the food industry in a difficult situation, but that the sector had proved its adaptability in such circumstances. In his speech, the CEO also paid tribute to the chefs who are renewing gastronomy.

The NÉGYOSZ stand, Zsófia Fülöp and István Miskolczi / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, continued the opening of the exhibition with a speech on a number of interesting topics. He said that it is now natural that all food is always available, but we can only achieve this if the most innovative and responsive sector and industry is the agri-food industry. Normally you can say that food goes a long way from farm to table, but at this event we have the producer and the consumer very close together.

The food industry is a strategic sector, which is why the Ministry of Agriculture is providing it with historic resources in the current difficult situation. Later this month, the consultation on tenders for the food sector under the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) programme will start. It is expected that around £200 billion of tender money will be available, £50 billion for smaller scale projects and £150 billion for complex projects.

NÉGYOSZ stand, Toffini vegan dessert and plant-based drink at the SIRHA trade fair / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

The minister also said that cooperation between the agricultural sector and the processing industry is needed for development. He also referred to the period of the EU presidency, during which important regulatory issues such as labelling and food waste are to be decided. According to the agriculture minister, the main problem is not animal production but food waste. As an example, he cited the success of the NÉBIH’s No Leftovers programme. He also stressed the importance of awareness-raising campaigns and trademarks.

Public catering feeds 1.5-2 million people a day, so it affects many people on a daily basis. But not only consumers, but also domestic producers and the environment. It is crucial that domestic public catering complies with the standard, as from 2023, 80% of the ingredients sourced within this short supply chain will be mandatory. This is not only more environmentally friendly but also supports domestic producers.

Public caterers’ competition / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

This year, the Hungarian Food Codex is due to be amended, and the sector can expect a comprehensive amendment, while the issue of banning the marketing of fake meat by decree has also been raised.

On this issue, as a professional organisation, we believe that banning a category on which we do not have sufficient research and information is not conducive to innovation. As there is no legal basis for the placing on the market of these products in the European Union, they are not authorised, so this potential ban will not bring any change to the current legal environment for fake meat. What could be detrimental, however, is if it is confused in consumer communications with existing plant-based substitute products that are thriving in Hungary. In this case, an innovative sector with high added value could be adversely affected.

This idea was reinforced by the subsequent Innovation Product Award ceremony, where results were announced in 6 categories. Both the “food” and “drink” categories were dominated by plant-based products.

In 2024, the following products were awarded in the food category:

  • Nestlé Hungária Kft.’s Garden Gourmet Vuna won first place in the food category.
  • The Vegadokk Kft. Hamburger scones – meatloaf appetizer product line won second place
  • Kotányi Hungária Kft. No Need For Meat, soy granulate based instant ready meal bases came in third place.

And in the Beverages category:

  • METRO Kereskedelmi Kft. METRO Chef Veggie vegetable drinks won the competition.

We can state, with this striking result, that plant-based products led innovation in the food industry in the year 2024.

István Miskolczi and Ervin Nagy representing NÉGYOSZ / Photo: NÉGYOSZ.


NÉGYOSZ had its own stand at the exhibition. We met many interested people, made new professional contacts and collected signatures for our organisation’s manifesto. This plant-based manifesto can also be signed online here.

NÉGYOSZ’s plant-based manifesto / Photo: NÉGYOSZ

At the exhibition, visitors could taste the products of three of our members. The traditional smoked cereal bars of Vega-Farm Food Ltd. were a great success. For dessert we tasted the vegan desserts of Naszálytej Zrt Toffini. This dessert, coated with a tofu-based cocoa mass, and the fruit snacks of Lolo Snack, made with a special drying process, made the taste experience complete. So the food on offer was a meeting of tradition and innovation.