IFE returns to reunite the food & drink industry
IFE, International Food & Drink Event returned to ExCeL London today for the first of three packed days of product tastings, insightful seminars, high level networking and the latest industry trends.
Taking place alongside Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC), IFE Manufacturing, The Pub Show and The London Produce Show, the combined event is the UK’s biggest gathering of the food, drink and hospitality sector.
Food & drink buyers from around the world, from caterers and hospitality professionals to retailers and wholesalers, descended on IFE to discover innovative products and quality food & drink business.
New for this year’s event is the Vegan & Plant-Based Section, in partnership with The Vegan Society, showcasing innovative vegan & plant-based foods from suppliers including Beyond Meat, Future Farm, Veg of Lund, H!P Chocolate and many, many more.
Louisianna Waring, Senior Insight & Policy Officer at The Vegan Society, commented: “We've had an absolutely fantastic show. Everyone I've spoken to has said the Vegan & Plant-Based Section has been buzzing the whole time. The show whole is buzzing but in that area in particular it's been amazing to try the new brands, connect with consumers. The Vegan Trademark has had hundred of leads from the show and we're it's been to talk with the panellists at our very well-attended session."
Elena Devis, Head of Vegan Category at Deliveroo, added: “Here are some of the products I tried at IFE and was very impressed by: personally, I loved seeing so much innovation in the seafood space. Tuna was one of my favourite things before I went plant-based, so being able to enjoy its taste and comfort without the fish was quite a feeling! A lot going on in the ice-cream/dessert kingdom as well, which is so needed! (Did you know ‘dessert’ is one of the most popular search terms on Deliveroo!?)
“I probably won’t be eating anything other than broccoli for a week, but I couldn’t be prouder of the challenger brands and people driving the new generation of food and can’t wait to see where we are in five years' time.”
Highlights from Day One on the show’s Future Food Stage included an insightful discussion from Retail Week and Co-Op Head of eCommerce Chris Conway, as they discussed the future of food & drink retail post-pandemic and how online shopping and speedy delivery fit into the modern consumer experience.
Later, Laura Willoughby MBE, Co-Founder of Club Soda, was joined by Rachel Hewlett, Sales and Business Development at Shelf Now, David Burgess, Director and Co-founder of Fugitive Motel and Josh Kelly, Shop Manager at the Alcohol Free Off Licence to discuss mastering low and no in the retail space, and how to effectively market and sell products in this rapidly growing category.
Day One concluded with the unveiling of the World Food Innovation Awards, in partnership with FoodBev Media, as innovative food & drink products and businesses were celebrated across 25 categories.
View the full list of winners here.
Commenting on the first day of the event, Event Director Philippa Christer said: “We’re so excited to finally open the doors again for IFE and to welcome the who’s who of international food & drink to taste and discover exciting new products, meet with industry friends, do business and learn from our fantastic speakers on the future food stage. See you tomorrow!”