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Seven challenges the Horeca Sector has to grow in Colombia

Bogota, May 2018. The Horeca Sector demands more and more industrialization in its processes to reduce expenses and increase profitability, said Jaime Orjuela, executive director of the Colombia Association of Food Science and Technology, ACTA.

Industrialization, Orjuela emphasized, is not a concept that is based solely on the use of cutting-edge machinery in companies, restaurants, hotels and other businesses that are related to the production, marketing and distribution of food and beverages.

Faced with this, 7 challenges arise and the sector must assume them, these are topics such as the professional handling of chemical substances, pesticides and cleaning material to ensure the safety of food and beverages that are part of the industry.

According to Orjuela, the safety of kitchens, technological equipment, refrigerators, packaging and other tools that are part of the sector are essential to ensure that the entire industry chain works to provide food that nurtures and ensures public health. "Technology may be incorporated in the sector, but if it does not have an adequate asepsis management it will affect people and those health costs fall on the industry. Cross contamination can be seen by not taking this challenge into account."

The second challenge is related to the implementation of food technology with which besides helping in the food safety process, it achieves the reduction in production times, the increase in product elaboration and improvement in its quality.

"In Colombia there is patented technology that not only is focused in top machinery. It is also about additives, inputs and other developments that are made so that the sector produces foods that are not reduced as easily when cooked, last longer or allow them to be prepared in less time without losing nutrients", explained the expert.

The third challenge of the Horeca Sector is focused on bringing to the market differentiated and value-added products, for which it is working on its transformation. "In Colombia there are many foods from which new products can be obtained. It is good to think, for example, of having a new pineapple sauce or another fruit in the bakery sector. This is how the country's own resources are more used", said the food engineer.

The fourth one focuses on making investments in quality packaging and wrapping so that the food retains its quality, flavors, textures and an adequate temperature. "Many of the returns to companies that produce food are because customers acquire food that was damaged and it may be because its packaging had a defect and did not fulfill its protection function. This costs the industry a lot."

The fifth challenge is that if there are quality products and packaging, it has to be ensured that they are transported and stored in such a way that they do not lose nutritional value or are vulnerable to the development of microorganisms that damage them.

The ACTA director considered that the sixth challenge is aimed at professionals of the Horeca Sector who have the opportunity to generate business and become entrepreneurs to generate economic development in Colombia. "Leaving the universities to create businesses is a major challenge for those who want to be part of the world of the food and beverage industry. We need more entrepreneurs. "

The seventh challenge is to promote the sharing of knowledge and generate spaces to access technological innovations in the country. "Events like Alimentec are very important because they allow to know what is happening with the sector, what's new in the market, what are the challenges, what can be improved. The sector has the opportunity to have that contact in events like this", he said.

This is how Alimentec’s tenth edition will be held from June 5th to 8th in Corferias, where technologies, innovations, packaging, services, trends and equipments for the food and beverage industry will be exhibited. At the same time, an academic agenda will be developed each day of the fair with experts from the Colombian Association of Food Science and Technology, ACTA; the Argentine Institute of Packaging, IAE; the Coordinator of Copal Foods of Argentina and the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota.

"We will have 4 days of trade fair to have access to a commercial sample with about 500 national and international exhibitors; shows and demonstrations of recognized chefs and conferences on food safety, the importance of packaging within the programs of food safety, demonization of food, healthy eating, food waste reduction and standards that the industry must meet", said Doris Chingate, project manager of Corferias.

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