AU Melbourne market Epping

The World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) Congress is heading to Australia this October.

The biennial event is rarely held outside Europe, with co-host Melbourne Market Authority expecting more than 300 international and local delegates to attend the event, running from 23-27 October.

The congress kicks off with tours of the new Melbourne Market site in Epping and the Queen Victoria Market, with two days of conference sessions, followed by an optional visit to Sydney.

Congress theme: market modernisation

Speaking to Produce Plus ahead of the event, WUWM said that markets around the world are facing the ongoing challenges of modernisation and service provision. With that in mind, the congress has been built around the theme of market modernisation.

“The 2017 WUWM Congress will focus on the impact technology will have on the market’s role in the supply chain and the customer experience, under the banner of market modernisation. An exciting mix of international and Australian speakers have been secured that will hopefully inspire and challenge our WUWM members,” the organisation said. “These events provide excellent networking opportunities, alongside up-to-date information and reviews of topical issues and the latest market trends.”

After early morning tours of the Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market, the congress will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on Tuesday 24 October and Wednesday 25 October. Delegates will get a taste of speakers from both Australia and further abroad, with real time translation in Mandarin and Spanish.

The Melbourne Business School’s Colin McLeod will be setting the scene with a look at the innovations and start-ups popping up across the globe and how the new technologies will affect markets. From the UK, Donald Hyslop from Borough Market London will focus on the use of space and how retail markets will not only survive, but thrive, while from the Netherlands, Rene van Gool of vga will look at disruption in the food chain, building on his consultancy experience and management of a restaurant in Market Hall Rotterdam.

John Turnbull, director of asset management and development at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, will look at the role markets play in cities, while Australian Rob Adams, director of city design and projects from the City of Melbourne, will discuss investments being put into revamping the Queen Victoria Market and how the dynamics of a growing city affect the role of markets.

To close the first day, a high-energy session from David Hughes, emeritus professor of Food Marketing at the Imperial College London, will examine macro trends affecting traditional supply chains and opportunities.

Opening day two of the congress will be LaManna Premier Group ceo Anthony De Pietro, who will discuss the role the markets play in his Australian business and where the markets could improve.

Mid-morning, the sessions will delve into the new technologies that are improving the supply chain, and tackling food waste. Sustainable practices for markets are also on the programme, with a session challenging delegates to think about what a market designed from scratch would look like today.

Delegates will have the opportunity to explore an exhibiton, featuring information from infrastructure suppliers and the Melbourne Polytechnic, which has partnered with Melbourne Market to launch a greengrocer training programme.

Throughout the programme there will be plenty of opportunities for networking and cocktail functions at night. To wrap-up the congress in Sydney-style, delegates will be treated to a harbour cruise on Friday 27 October after touring the city’s wholesale and retail markets.

A full preview of the WUWM Congress features in the spring edition of Produce Plus, out now