Category Archives: Events
The Restaurant Show; where else can you find hundreds of suppliers all in one place and at the same time, enjoy two other exhibitions?
The Restaurant Show at Olympia in London last week featured the Bar & Pub Show and Catering Equipment Expo. They have become the ultimate destination for the hospitality industry with regard to innovations, services and suppliers.
This year brought together some of the industry’s biggest names to address the most significant issues around culinary trends, technology and employee engagement.
Gamification in Restaurants
There were plenty of sessions to engage visitors with some key current trends revealed and investigated at the Restaurant Show. This included gamification. The ‘True Players’ session revealed how Starbucks and itsu, inspire and engage staff through gamification and analytics to promote customer experience, staff retention and sales.
Another session focused on the influence of Generation Z and Millennials who currently represent a significant part of the workforce. An expert panel discussed thinking differently about culture in the workplace. It showcased approaches from sports and psychotherapy that can help create a hard-working and trustworthy workforce. Technological advances also featured heavily at the show. There were sessions on how to harness the power of voice technology for frictionless service amongst others.
Alongside the many culinary demonstrations were examples of innovations, including JenPak Ltd’s new eco-friendly range of crockery which is made from recycled sugarcane, or Bagasse. FSG Tableware Ltd exhibited its reusable to go cups made from coffee waste.
On the cuisine front, Biff’s showcased its indulgent plant-based burgers and ‘wingz’, and its signature and innovative crispy fried jackfruit. In addition, Elisa-Foodexhibited its 100% whole wheat, spelt, quinoa gluten-free, organic and vegan pizza bases and pizzas.
Sustainability is always at the core of the Restaurant Show. Once again, the organisers partnered with FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. At the end of the show, FareShare conducted a surplus food collection service for all exhibitors. This prevented unnecessary food and drink going to waste, giving all suppliers the chance to donate their excess products to feed people in need.
Catering Equipment Expo and Bar & Pub Show
CEE featured expert advice on tabletop, back-of-house and heavy equipment as well as technical demonstrations and cost-saving seminars from leading experts and exclusive product launches from leading brands.
The Bar & Pub Show, now in its third year was extremely well attended with a focus on the evolution, diversification and adaption to changing consumer behaviour. There was a programme of live events at Bar & Pub Hub. Exhibitors ranged from the UK mainland’s most northern distillery Dunnet’s Bay to the bottle glass to sand crusher. The latter claims to solve a bar’s recycling storage needs.
lunch! returned to London’s ExCel last week to the delights of food retailers, food-to-go operators, café and coffee shop buyers and owners, travel and leisure caterers.
The line-up of the show included 62 speakers appearing in 36 Keynote Theatre sessions, and more than 400 exhibitors.
This is a record number of exhibitors. They showcased a huge range of products and services; from ingredients to kitchen equipment and counter displays, food and drink to packaging, payment and business services.
One of the highlights of lunch! is the Innovation Challenge award. Where this year, a record 110 competed with many of these innovations enjoying their official trade launch at the show. The products competing for a much-coveted gold Innovation Challenge Award were showcased in the Innovation Challenge Gallery. lunch! visitors chose the award finalists by voting for their favourites on opening day.
A significant part of the show was set aside for plant-based and ‘meat-free’ innovations. This catered for café, coffee shop, food-to-go operators and retailers looking to cater to the thriving vegan and flexitarian market. According to Marketing Week, last year, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation. This made it the country’s fastest growing culinary trend of 2018 with a market worth of £310m. Approximately 22 million people now claim to be flexitarian and one in eight Britons choose to be vegetarian or vegan. To reflect this, 52% of exhibitors at lunch! offered vegan or vegetarian alternatives.
Sustainability in Catering
Sustainability was another key theme. As some of foodservice’s biggest consumers of single-use packaging and disposables; coffee shop and food-to-go operators have been making huge strides to reduce their environmental impact. The Sustainability Panel addressed these issues with keynote speakers and included some of the top names in the industry; Ollie Rosevear, Head of Environment at Costa Coffee, Martyn Clover, Head of Food at Tortilla, Jim Winship, Director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association, and host Martin Kersh, Chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).
The Panel also addressed contemporary issues such as tackling food waste, increasing food redistribution, reducing energy and water consumption, more recycling and reusing (packaging, uniforms, furniture etc), looking to alternative food sources, and encouraging behavioural change.
Hannah Squirrell, Customer Director at Greggs said: “the ‘Blue Planet effect’ has driven customer awareness of the environmental impact of their consumption choices to a whole new level. We are proud to support national environmental initiatives, including Surfers Against Sewage Beach and River Clean Series, and are committed to doing our bit to protect the health of the planet.”
For reusable alternatives, visitors were able to see innovations such as the Ecocoffee Cup created with natural fibres made from bamboo waste material sourced from chopstick production. Similarly, Berrington Spring Water’s Aluminium Refill Water Bottle launched in June has tripled sales projections.
Lunch! is a great show to keep tabs on recent innovations and trends after a long summer. One for all catering businesses to put on the diary for 2020.
Rugby players and supporters love food and drink. And with the Rugby World Cup about to begin in Japan comes the opportunity for originality for caterers of all kinds.
Homebound supporters not only want to enjoy the games with a beer; but can also be tempted by finer dining as well as the more traditional delights.
When one thinks of rugby forwards, the delicacy and fine detail shown by Phil Vickery and Martin Bayfield on Masterchef isn’t the first thought. But given the importance of food in their training, it’s perhaps not surprising.
Food Glorious Food
As far as food goes, Japan is taking the competition very seriously. Rugby players have a regimented approach to their diet in order to keep themselves fighting fit and at the top of their performance levels. According to a number of top coaches, protein is vital to develop and maintain muscle mass. Some coaches insist that the players consume a daily amount of 2.5g of protein per kilo of body weight. This includes eggs, dairy, beef, turkey, chicken and fish, most of which are abundant in Japan.
Many adhere to four meals a day. An example would be porridge and poached eggs for breakfast; sweet potato, vegetables and salmon fillets; steak skewers with roasted root vegetables and coconut rice for a post-training meal; and a prawn or chicken stir fry for dinner.
In the 24 hours before a match players should consume high-carb meals based around slower-digesting carbs such as potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes and oats. These are complemented with sweeter sources such as fruit and smoothies. Japan’s Yaki udon will be especially popular, as the dish is thick and chewy noodles, made from wheat flour. Yaki soba uses the thinner soba noodles made from buckwheat flour.
The Japanese national delicacy, sushi, fits well into a rugby player’s diet as does a lot of everyday Japanese food. It can be beneficial from a fuelling and recovery perspective due to increased intakes of nutrients such as omega-3 and electrolytes. Fish, stir fries and shellfish will feature heavily in menu choices as will the meat selection such as Wagyu prime cut Japanese beef. The meat fat has a very low melting point so it can literally melt in your mouth. Rumour has it that the animals are fed beer and massaged with sake.
The England team however, might be short on condiments. Supplies of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise have supposedly been sent ahead because their favourite condiments are scarce and expensive in Japan.
Japan has very good news for beer drinkers. Major Japanese sports keep spectators lubricated with vendors who patrol the stands dispensing beer into cups. These are called Uriko and they are crucial to meet the demand for beer. When Australia visited in 2017, bars were drunk dry before kick-off! So to ensure no embarrassment for the official sponsors, Heineken, the Japanese Heineken brewery has increased production by 80%.
One thing is clear, food plays an important part in the rugby world and with each country bringing their own nutritionists and food advisors, the right diet in Japan (a balance between East and West cuisine) may well go a long way in confirming the eventual winner.
The Rugby World Cup Final is on 2 November at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama; when the winner of the 20 competitor countries will be crowned. So plenty of time for catering businesses to work out their own game-plan to benefit.
The Speciality & Fine Food Fair celebrated a landmark birthday last week and the show provided a special 20th anniversary edition at Olympia, London. The event held between 1 and 3 September attracted over 10,000 visitors, food producers, exhibitors, speakers and VIPs.
The Fair has always had an excellent reputation as an environment to reach out and make connections with existing or potential new partners and customers. As a result, The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is eagerly anticipated by those involved in artisan and speciality produce. These include independent retailers, chefs, delicatessens, hoteliers, importers, restaurateurs, distributors and wholesalers. Each are given the unique opportunity to source, network and get up to date with the latest trends.
2019 saw nine Welsh artisan food and drink companies exhibiting under the Food & Drink Wales banner. The country has a long established status at the show for innovation and this year was no different. Halen Môn, the Anglesey Sea Salt Company launched DIY Brine kits for Christmas poultry. While Daioni Organic showcased its coffee range with 100% Fairtrade single-origin organic Arabica coffee beans from Mexico.
South Caernarfon Creameries featured its new handcrafted range of cheeses. These include Dragon Cavern Aged Cheddar with Penderyn Whiskey and Dragon Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar. The Parsnipship showcased its full range of vegetarian and vegan produce such as Glamorgan Crumble, stilton and spinach potato cake and tandoori mash-up.
The Welsh Government supported the nine companies to attend Speciality & Fine Food Fair in the dedicated Cymru/Wales Pavilion.
Seminars and Features
Elsewhere at the Fair, the Food for Thought speaker programme featured successful entrepreneurs and industry experts. Their topics covered sustainability, the reduction of food waste, customisation, plant-based food, fermentation and Made in Great Britain.
The Savour the Flavour live demonstration kitchen created dishes inspired by products from the show. The Fair’s portfolio director, Soraya Gadelrab commented: “Kitchens are so vibrant. It’s all about the taste and visual appeal of dishes so we’re delighted to translate this directly at the fair through the live demo kitchen…the Food for Thought programme offers an unrivalled insight into the latest trends set to influence menus, from fine to casual dining”.
In recognition of the expanding success of the booming drinks market, the Drinks Cabinet returned for its second year. This features luxury small and large batch spirits, beers, ales, wines and ciders, as well as the burgeoning low- and no-mixers and soft drinks sectors.
The Discovery Zone enabled visitors to find innovative brands created in the past three years. It included everything from antipasti to oils, seasonings, cheese and charcuterie, dairy and dairy alternatives and fish and seafood.
The Shop of the Year competition had a stand. It offers small independent retailers the opportunity to shine, with five main categories, namely delicatessen and grocer; specialist cheese shop; farmer owned farm shop; food hall; and specialist food or drink shop. There is also a Newcomer Award. Entries close on September 20th. So if you missed the Fair, there’s still time to enter the Awards to celebrate your success and generate more interest.
The beauty of the UK is that regardless of the weather, there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
With the recent deluges sweeping the country, the NEC in Birmingham had the perfect solution: the Summer Good Food Show. Recognised as the “biggest summer food festival to hit the Midlands” the show opened on 13 June. It was packed with food lovers’ delights, from demonstrations to exhibitors to taster sessions and expert advice and tuition from some of the UK’s top chefs.
The Big Kitchen has always been the highlight of the Show and this year it did not disappoint. Some of the very best celebrity chefs and guests cooked up delights live on stage. Lotte Duncan presented Taste of Italy, with offerings from Tom Kerridge, James Martin, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge, Nadiya Hussain, Ainsley Harriot and the marvellous pairing of Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh.
Exhibitors turned out in their hundreds to tempt the flow of Show visitors with delicious, innovative and healthy produce. There was a huge selection of artisan producers and over in the Producers Village, there was a smattering of almost every food type from bread and cheese, savoury sausage rolls to luxury sweets.
Pop up Restaurant
Of great interest was the BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant. This offered a sit-down meal of two or three courses. These were inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from www.bbcgoodfood.com. The event was extraordinarily popular. Hardly surprising when you see the menu: charred asparagus, smoked salmon, shrimps and rye crumbs; followed by cumin-roasted rump of lamb, crushed Jersey royals, shallot petals, caper and mint dressing; or fish pie with smoked haddock, king prawns and salmon, crunchy cheddar mash and steamed greens.
But it wasn’t only food and drink that visitors were interested in this year. The BDA Dietitian Drop In Clinic was very well attended. The Association of British Dietitians were on hand to give advice on diagnosing and treating diet and nutrition problems.
The Skills School was a sell-out. Classes ranged from making and decorating fondant fancies, preparing the perfect sushi and learning Zwilling knife skills. Lexus played host to the Lunch Clubs at the Show this year. It worked with Michelin-starred chefs Michel Roux Jr, Tom Kerridge, Tommy Banks and Emily Roux to present dishes inspired by their cooking style and recipes.
Finally, for those exhausted by the demonstrations, sampling and treats, visitors made their way to the BBC Gardener’s World Live. Here they could stroll among the plants and enjoy the gardens, all included in the price of this year’s ticket.
The Women’s World Cup is underway which gives us something to watch while the UK slowly drowns in the worst June weather in decades. The host country, France, is home over the next few weeks to 24 teams from six confederations with 17 matches scheduled to be played.
2019 is the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with France winning the right to host the event for the first time. Matches are being played in nine cities across France.
The United States enters the competition as defending champions and firm favourites. Scotland, Chile, Jamaica and South Africa are making their Women’s World Cup debuts. Other teams include France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway, South Korea, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, Nigeria and Cameroon.
If you were wondering, the emblem mimics the shape of the World Cup trophy football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light. This symbolises the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. Ettie is the mascot. According to FIFA she is “a young chicken with a passion for life and football…the daughter of Footix, the official mascot of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.” How charming to see such a family-oriented tournament.
So what are the talking points of the Women’s World Cup so far? A 13-goal fiasco from the United States team have sent fans into a frenzy. The Americans celebrated every goal with expected exuberance, adding on a fair few minutes to the end of the game. With this historic win over Thailand, the USA squad has taken the record for the biggest winning margin in a World Cup. That was previously held by Germany, who beat Argentina 11-0 in 2007.
Although as we go to press the World Cup virgins (Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa) have racked up nil points so far. But they are all performing well and are proving the theme of the World Cup slogan – Dare to Shine. And the attendance has been excellent throughout all of the venues, with the Netherlands fans seemingly the most avid. Their orange dominates the colour scene in the host French cities. Over 30,000 Netherlands fans packed PSV’s stadium against Australia.
Players to watch out for include Nikita Parris from England. Head coach, Phil Neville, claims that she could develop into one of the world’s best players. Parris scored the opening goal of England’s Women’s World Cup campaign in their 2-1 win over Scotland on Sunday. She was the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer last season with Manchester City before moving to European champions Lyon.
The competition concludes on 9 July 2019 where the winners will take the biggest prize in women’s football. And with the viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup, eight times that of men’s cricket, there must be an opportunity for catering businesses.
It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here. Yes, Theresa May is resigning. But before that, there’s the little matter of the Cricket World Cup 2019. This starts this week which, at least to sporting fans, is infinitely more interesting.
The UK will host this elite event through many venues across the country and excitement is already building.
The event has a long and varied history, having begun with three nations, England, Australia and South Africa in 1912, with England as the host. Sadly the tournament was not a success. For one, the weather was abysmal – the August of 1912 was recorded as the “coldest, dullest and wettest August of the 20th century”. Some might say typical English cricket weather.
A Very Brief History
The first of what is now accepted as the official Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1975 who hosted the four-yearly event for the next three tournaments. India and Pakistan were the hosts for 1987.
2019 will be the fifth time that England has hosted the tournament and as hosts, automatically qualify. The next seven spots belong to the top seven ODI ranking teams in the ICC, and for the last two spots, the ICC conducted a qualifying tournament for the remaining test playing nations in the world. West Indies and Afghanistan occupy those spots.
10 teams will face each other in a total of 45 games before the final stage of the tournament. The top four teams from the group stage will qualify for the semi-final as there are no quarter-finals for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The two successful teams will then compete in the final on 14 July.
Venues and Stadiums
Venues are London, Birmingham, Southampton, Trent Bridge, Chester-Le-Street, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, and Taunton. The stadiums are Lord’s, The Oval, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Rose Bowl, Old Trafford, River Side Ground, County Cricket Ground, Headingley, and Sophia Gardens. So with some local and others televised there’s plenty of opportunity for themed catering events.
The schedule is as follows and makes June a veritable month of cricket.
- May 30 England v South Africa
- 31 West Indies v Pakistan
- June 1 NZ v Sri Lanka; Afghanistan v Australia
- 2 South Africa v Bangladesh
- 3 England v Pakistan
- 4 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka
- 5 South Africa v India; Bangladesh v NZ
- 6 Australia v West Indies
- 7 Pakistan v Sri Lanka
- 8 England v Bangladesh; Afghanistan v NZ
- 9 India v Australia
- 10 South Africa v West Indies
- 11 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
- 12 Australia v Pakistan
- 13 India v NZ
- 14 England v West Indies
- 15 Sri Lanka v Australia; South Africa v Afghanistan
- 16 India v Pakistan
- 17 West Indies v Bangladesh
- 18 England v Afghanistan
- 19 NZ v South Africa
- 20 Australia v Bangladesh
- 21 England v Sri Lanka
- 22 India v Afghanistan; West Indies v NZ
- 23 Pakistan v South Africa
- 24 Bangladesh v Afghanistan
- 25 England v Australia
- 26 NZ v Pakistan
- 27 West Indies v India
- 28 Sri Lanka v South Africa
- 29 Pakistan v Afghanistan; NZ v Australia
- 30 England v India
- July 1 Sri Lanka v West Indies
- 2 Bangladesh v India
- 3 England v NZ
- 4 Afghanistan v West Indies
- 5 Pakistan v Bangladesh
- 6 Sri Lanka v India
- 6 Australia v South Africa
- 9 First sf: 1st v 4th, Old Trafford
- 11 Second sf: 2nd v 3rd, Edgbaston
- 14 Final, Lord’s
Cricket World Cup Fun Facts
When the game slows or it begins to rain a few fun facts to throw into the conversation:
- Australia became the first country to win three consecutive World Cup tournament in 2007.
- Until now Australia has won five times, India and West Indies twice, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka once.
- Sachin Tendulkar scored a total of 2278 runs from 1992 to 2011 which is the most by any batsman.
- Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have the record of highest partnership (372 runs against Zimbabwe).
- The most runs in a single tournament and most hundreds in World Cup history belong to Sachin Tendulkar.
- Glenn McGrath has taken most wickets in the World Cup tournament (71).
- Ricky Ponting holds the record for the most catches.
And if the Cricket World Cup 2019 is not the sport you want to celebrate or its rained off then there is always the women’s football world cup starting on 7th June as an alternative!
Yet again, the NEC surpassed all expectations with its five-in-one show, the Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019, incorporating Foodex, Food and Drink Expo, The Ingredients Show and the National Convenience Show. The event took place from 8 to 10 April. It returned for its ninth year as the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, garden centres, farm shops, restaurants, food halls, bakeries and butcheries.
This year saw more than 450 suppliers exhibiting. These encompassed all core food categories and contemporary trend categories; including candles, stationery, furniture and home goods, together with equipment, labelling and packaging.
2019 placed heavy emphasis on healthy and natural produce with exhibitors showcasing their products in the ‘Healthy & Natural’ area. There were plenty of natural, vegan-friendly snacks on display for this year’s hot trend.
Back by popular demand, the Show featured the British Baker’s Britain’s Best Loaf 2019. Over 150 bakers entered in a range of categories, including Best Sourdough, Best Wholegrain and Best Gluten Free Loaf. The overall winner was a wholemeal sourdough created by East Sussex’s Poppyseed Bakery.
The Dragon’s Pantry slot saw competitors presenting their best new product ideas in a 15-minute pitch in. The reward for successful pitchers was winning professional advice on the best route to market.
Of course, the renowned Farm Shop & Deli Awards were eagerly awaited. Back for their sixth year, they recognise the very best independent retailers. There were 12 category winners: baker, butcher, cheesemonger, delicatessen, farm shop large retailer of the year, farm shop small retailer of the year, fishmonger, food hall, greengrocer, local shop or village store, newcomer of the year and online business of the year. Overall winner was Cannon Hall Farm Shop from Barnsley.
The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Live stage witnessed a host of industry leaders sharing their thoughts and experience. These ranged from ethical eating, the rise of gin and tapping into the healthy appetite for the wellness market. Top of the bill was the ‘Plastic to palm oil’ discussion addressing consumers’ current eco-worries. The ‘Healthier beer’ discussion was another popular talk. This gave insight into the importance of burgeoning brews from gluten free to zero alcohol.
At the National Convenience Show, the Retailer Hub hosted a number of sessions including a discussion on ‘Success after Brexit: What’s next for food and grocery’. This highlighted the risks posed to the sector in a post-Brexit reality.
Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Commercial Director Mat Rose said: “The ongoing trend for artisan produce, provenance and entrepreneurial innovation has not slowed down in recent years and we are delighted to bring the Farm Shop & Deli Show back in 2019 to provide a platform for all the exciting companies and retailers who have devoted their careers to this sector.
Next year’s show is already recruiting; so if you want to exhibit or book tickets for the event, register your interest here.
The weather is changing and the nights are getting lighter, which can only mean one thing…summer. And with summer comes festivals, in particular food festivals, and we have gathered some of the best to consider.
Music or Not?
The Big Feastival is taking place on Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds from Friday 23 August to Monday 26. It will welcome some of the world’s top chefs. They will demonstrate their expertise in cooking skills live on The NEFF Big Kitchen stage. Raymond Blanc and Tom Brown are just two of the names who will headline, together with a host of music acts including the Zutons, Elbow and the Fun Lovin Criminals. Look out for the Collaboration Kitchen. Here special edition dishes will be served up with all proceeds going to Charity Partner, Action Against Hunger.
The Food Rocks festival will take place on 7-8 September 2019 in Lyme Regis. This presents some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer. The festival brings together top chefs, exhibitors, locals. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings across the weekend. Highlights include the Glenarm Estate beef supper club and the crab and mackerel supper club
Venue-based Food Festivals
Smoked & Uncut at THE PIG near Bath on 15 June features a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including Imelda May and the Kaiser Chiefs, home-made festi-food, local ales and cocktails. Family style feasts will feature heavily with the focus on alfresco dining under canvas. While Mark’s ‘Ruby Murray House’ which will be dishing up indulgent home-style Indian curry.
24 and 25 August sees The River Cottage Festival taking place at River Cottage HQ, Axminster with food, music, talks, master-classes and a host of children’s activities. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food will be available and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself will be in attendance.
Coming Together Locally in May
Moving across the border, the Caernarfon Food Festival is on May 11 2019. It promises to be “perfect for foodies to explore the food and drink producers from the local area.” The event will feature market stalls of food and drink, live cooking demonstrations and freshly cooked street food, celebrating local food and drink produce. There will also be live music from local bands, artists and choirs.
Also in May (18-19) is the Spring Tide Food Festival on Hive Beach near Bridport. This is a food festival jam-packed full of activities and things to eat and drink. The aim of the festival is to combine the network of artisan food and drink producers from Somerset, East Devon and Dorset to “welcome in the new season of food and ingredients in style, to celebrate the pleasure that can be had in the growing and cultivation, the production and cooking and consumption of tasty food and drink.”
Any Reason to Hold a Festival?
Finally, there must be a mention of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling on May 27, 2019 when a 4kg cheese is thrown off a terrifyingly steep hill chased by people in Brockworth, Gloucester. In theory, the aim of cheese-rolling is to be the first person to catch the wheel of cheese; but nowadays, the majority of people participate in the event to raise money for local charities and other good causes.
Lots of food festivals this summer in the South West of England and South Wales. So if you’re a catering business, think what food festival could you hold this summer to boost trade? Or where you might go as a mobile caterer?
17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.
Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.
Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink
Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.
The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.
Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.
One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.
As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.
Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”
IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.