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27 Oct 2022

IFE adds Sustainability Stage and raft of new features for 2023

IFE adds Sustainability Stage and raft of new features for 2023

IFE, International Food & Drink Event, has announced a number of new additions to next year’s event, which takes place on 20-22 March 2023 at ExCeL London. 

IFE is the UK’s largest trade event for the food & drink industry, delivery high-quality and effective business connections and product sourcing opportunities for retailers, wholesalers and hospitality professionals.  

As the 23rd edition of the event approaches, IFE has announced a number of exciting new features designed to showcase innovative new products, highlight the latest industry trends and innovations and provide bespoke advice and guidance for food & drink professionals.  

One resource for visitors is the Ask the Expert and Certification Clinic features, where a range of respected industry experts and organisations will be on hand to provide bespoke, confidential advice on a number of key topics, plus what it takes to gain a number of key industry accreditations.  

The Sustainability Stage

While ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) has never been more important in the food & drink industry, factors like the cost-of-living crisis and supply chain challenges have seen setbacks in progress in the sector.  

Supermarkets such as Tesco, M&S, Aldi and Lidl have all been making sustainability-focussed changes to their own-brand packaging, however the ambitious goals Iceland set out at COP26 in 2021 to become a completely ‘plastic neutral’ supermarket have been delayed by the challenge of passing additional costs onto consumers. 

These factors and more have prompted IFE to make sustainability a central focus of the 2023 event, with sessions covering a range of issues under the banner of ESG and gathering together some of the UK’s leading retailers, food & drink brands and sustainability experts to provide clear advice and guidance to the industry.  

IFE Event Director Philippa Christer comments: “A sustainability strategy has gone from ‘nice to have’ to vital for a large percentage of our audience of food & drink retailers, wholesalers and hospitality professionals in their product sourcing journey, and we’re seeing incredible innovation and dedication from suppliers taking part in IFE. Sustainability is a huge topic and having a dedicated Sustainability Stage will enable us to host in-depth conversations covering a number of key issues.” 

Unrivalled new product sourcing 

Another new addition for the 2023 edition of IFE is the New Product Tasting Theatre, a curated showcase of the most exciting new products at the event.  

Startups and larger brands launching new products will have the opportunity to take part in five-minute pitching sessions across the three days of the event. Suppliers and distributors will also have a chance to participate in longer ‘Discovery Hour’ sessions where distributor products will be showcased in various dishes by guest chefs in sessions hosted by Chef Consultant Steve Walpole. 

Walpole says: “I’m delighted to be hosting the New Product Tasting Theatre at IFE 2023. It will be a great opportunity to explore some creative and delicious uses for quality products and a unique chance to showcase their potential to buyers at the show.”    

Buyers across retail, wholesale and hospitality have expressed their excitement at the launch of the new theatre and the additional opportunities to see innovative products showcased at the show. 

Shiada Drysdale, Manager – IFS Food & Beverage - Beverage Lead at Virgin Atlantic, says: “I am looking forward to sampling at the New Product Tasting Theatre and keen to see the innovation and curation. Plus, there is nothing better than experiencing products at their best.” 

Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus, adds: “The New Product Tasting Theatre is a great addition to an already fantastic show, and I especially look forward to the Distributor Discovery Hour sessions. IFE just keeps getting better and better.” 

IFE 2023 will include an additional new area centred around new product innovation, The Startup Market, which is reserved for business trading for two years of less and must-attend part of the show for visitors interested in exploring the future of food & drink.  

International opportunities

International food & drink is a vital part of IFE, with innovative global food & drink suppliers alongside dedicated pavilions from around the world showcasing the very best international products and countless opportunities for importers to connect directly with brand owners. 

IFE 2023 will see an all-new international Meet the Buyer programme, enabling UK-based buyers interested in products from around the world to have a curated experience at the event, meeting with pre-arranged international businesses and with support from the IFE team. 

New for 2023 is the Exporters Hub, sponsored by K International, which will give UK food & drink brands an opportunity to meet with international buyers to learn more about opportunities outside of the country.  

Sandra Sullivan, Director of the Food & Drink Exporters Association, comments: “IFE is a fantastic opportunity to source exciting food & drink products and building stronger trade relationships in the world of food & drink. The FDEA is delighted to be renewing our partnership with the event for 2023 and excited to hear about the launch of the Exporters Hub to enable valuable conversations between export experts, brands and overseas buyers.” 

IFE will take place alongside IFE Manufacturing, Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) and The Pub Show at ExCeL London on 20-22 March, collectively the UK’s largest gathering of food, drink and hospitality professionals.

To learn more about any of the features at IFE 2023, contact ifeteam@montgomerygroup.com. 

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