New "Open Mouth" food festival coming to Hamburg
Hamburg is gearing up to host the first ever "Open Mouth" food festival in the city from September 14-18, 2023. After festival stopovers in Copenhagen, Cape Town, Lima, Hamburg can certainly compete with international food centres, according to Michael Otremba, Managing Director of Hamburg Tourismus GmbH. "Hamburg offers a remarkable variety of catering concepts paired with unique locations," he noted. The festival focuses on both delicious, healthy food and sustainability. "We want to involve everyone from regional food producers and manufacturers to Hamburg's catering and hotel scene," said Tim Koch, Managing Director of Tellerrand Consulting. Apart from Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, the backers of the festival include the Hamburg-based Blood advertising agency, the Ministry for the Environment, the Ministry for Economics and Innovation, Biostadt Hamburg, Greenevents Hamburg as well as Greentable and Slow Food Hamburg.
Metropolitan region to become festival venue
Organizers view this latest festival as a prelude to a consistent, sustainable and year-round positioning of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region as a food centre. To enhance that image, the city launched a food cluster in 2022. This new festival should attract even more guests, consumers and producers to the entire metropolitan region with events such as the Hamburg Beer Week (HHBW), the Green Food Festival, the Fair Trade City and a festival for families in the foodlab with emphasis on nutrition. "The Oberhafenquartier will be the second pillar of our programme with a colourful mix of tastings, lectures, panels and music," said Koch.
Greater use of robots
The week should prove inspiring, Koch said."There are so many innovative approaches to food in Hamburg - from concepts for alternative nutrition to sustainable packaging. Five festival days are not enough to accommodate and explore all the exciting ideas. But 'Open Mouth' marks only the start." Commenting on the general mood in the industry given the severe, ongoing shortage of skilled labour, Koch noted: "Again, innovative approaches and individual concepts are needed. Many of those who changed track amid the pandemic will not return to the industry." That calls for more digitalisation. "The more procedures we can automate, the more time we have for what restaurateurs care about - namely being really good hosts." An increased use of robots is imaginable and "not merely for clearing dirty plates. Today's fully automated kitchens systems can be used for e.g., even more, bowl concepts."
Food and beverage concepts gaining importance
In reference to the state of the catering industry, Koch noted: "The industry is socially important. Remote working will stay, but people need social contacts and they find them in the catering sector." Moreover, the catering sector is considered a customer magnet. "We at Tellerrand Consulting sit down at the table with urban planners, project developers, architects and investors at a very early stage. Food and beverage concepts are becoming increasingly important in urban and district development."