Today begins the 100-day countdown to the official opening of Expo Milano 2015, the non-commercial Universal Exposition formerly known as the World's Fair. An estimated 20 million attendees from around the world will visit Italy's second-largest city between May 1 and Oct. 31 to debate and develop collaborative solutions to the most important food-related issue of our generation. 

Expo Milano 2015 will convene representatives from 145 nations, international organizations, civil society and corporations. The site of the 184-day exhibition, which covers 1 million square meters, will house an interactive learning experience on the complex theme of global nutrition. Visitors can take a trip around the world, sampling food and learning about culinary traditions from all over the globe. Expo Milano 2015 aims to be the first exposition in history to be remembered not only for its products, but also for its contribution to nutrition education and stewardship of the planet’s resources.

The theme of the event – Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life – focuses on sustainability, nourishment and innovation. Food and nutrition have become a global call to action, as the world seeks a sustainable approach to food security.

And with one of the world's richest culinary heritages, Italy is the ideal Expo host. In May 2014, an ASTA survey declared Italy the destination for the world’s best food, given its regional diversity and high-quality cuisine. More recently, Lonely Planet named Milan the “Best Destination in 2015" for foodie travelers.

Coca-Cola's connection to the Universal Exposition is strong and deep. The company participated in the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and its participation in an official Expo was first documented in 1933 at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago where it unveiled the first soda fountain dispenser. The 2010 Expo in Shanghai (the events are held every four years) featured the Coca-Cola Happiness Factory, which “spread happiness” to millions of visitors.

Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

Coca-Cola is the official soft drink partner of Expo Milano 2015. The brand's pavilion, currently under construction, will celebrate the company's heritage and vision in line with the expo's theme. Visitors will be guided on a journey that engages all five senses as they learn about Coca-Cola’s sustainability model, which is based on the promotion of active lifestyles and energy balance; product and packaging innovation; and environmental stewardship.

“The theme chosen for the 2015 Expo represents the search for balance between the human need for food and the resources available,” explains Kim Alexander, Coca-Cola general manager for Expo 2015. “Coca-Cola has always worked to create stronger communities that are healthy and active, and which protect the environment, thanks in part to the cooperative model we call ‘the golden triangle,’ which is based on collaboration among government, business and society.”

Earlier this week, the expo released aerial footage of the site. Look closely and you'll spot the Coca-Cola pavilion! 

A Journey to Discover the Coca-Cola World

Visitors to the Coca-Cola pavilion will learn about the company’s values in three different sections: 1) Localness: Highlighting the company’s deep roots in local communities around the world; 2) Energy Balance: Showcasing Coca-Cola’s efforts to support active lifestyles through initiatives promoting physical activity and a balanced diet; and 3) Sustainability: Raising awareness about the company’s commitment to reducing the impact its products and practices have on climate change.

The Pavilion’s Second Life After the EXPO

The concept of the Coca-Cola pavilion is rooted in the company's sustainability model, which can be seen through the use of environmentally friendly materials and techniques. The building follows the dimensions of a basketball court and, at the end of the exposition, will be repurposed as an indoor space the local community can use for a variety of physical activities.