During 3 days from Sept 23 to 25, representatives of 21 cities from around the world met in Stavanger, Norway for the Annual General meeting of Délice Network. This meeting was the occasion to showcase how Stavanger has been using food to develop new economic opportunities while putting a strong focus on sustainability in the different markets.
The sun was shining in Stavanger as the 45 guests from around the world landed in the 4th largest city of Norway. For some of the representatives, this was the second meeting in the Norwegian city after an AGM in 2011. But for the many new member of the network, it was a first.
The city has changed over the past years, trying to diversify the economy to be less depending on oil & gaz. With their extraordinary terroir and agricultural surroundings, they have very naturally chosen food as a strong driver for the city. Restaurants are blooming in the city, from the trendy vegan restaurants to the traditional brasseries up to fine dining. But what brings them all together: the will to be sustainable and highlight the local products.
This search for sustainability brought the Network to choose a highly strategic topic for this gathering: Sustainable Food in the MICE Market. Stavanger as many other destinations welcomes business tourists all year round. How can we give them a taste of the destination during their short stay and how to have more a sustainable and qualitative food offer in the conference venues?
Thanks to the sustainability expert Guy Bigwood and a panel of experts from Gothenburg, Stavanger & Barcelona, the questions was debated and all city representatives created together some first tools to set-up in their cities.
As this meeting was organized during the Nordic Edge Expo – second largest SMART City event in Europe – a case study was organized in Stavanger. 7 chefs from 7 worldwide cities were invited to prepare tasty & locally sourced meals to the participants of the Nordic Edge. This Chef Challenge was organized as a trial to see how event organizers can improve the food offer during these events. Chefs from Gaziantep (Turkey), Torino (Italy), Tucson (USA), Barcelona (Spain), Kobe (Japan), Brussels (Belgium) and Riga (Latvia) were the ambassadors of their destination during this event.
This meeting also allowed to consolidate the strength of the network, with the integration of 2 new member cities: Malmö (Sweden) who is using strongly food as a driver of social inclusion. The newest member is Portland (USA), one of the trendiest food city nowadays. Portland has developed a strong food scene based on the hipster culture.