The International Food & Drink Event (IFE 2017) is back. Getting ready to open its doors in March for its 20th edition, IFE 2017 will be a vibrant four-day, trade-only food and drink extravaganza, with a myriad of leading wholesalers expected to attend.
Bursting with NPD, product launches and category innovation, IFE 2017 is the perfect playground for wholesalers. Featuring more than 1,350 global food and drink suppliers, IFE provides the tools to stay one step ahead of industry trends.
The event, which runs from March 19-22, is expected to welcome more than 29,000 attendees from 108 countries, over 35 industry-leading speakers, as well as top chefs from a diverse range of culinary backgrounds and channels.
As the industry descends on ExCeL London, Soraya Gadelrab, event director, shares her top 10 reasons for wholesalers to visit IFE 2017.
- The UK’s biggest food and drink event
IFE is the UK’s only truly international food and drink event that brings together more than 1,350 of the most innovative global exhibitors across both retail and foodservice. With such a comprehensive collection of brands under one roof, wholesalers looking to stock the latest on-trend products are sure to be inspired by IFE 2017’s global offering.
- Stay one step ahead of the industry curve
As more wholesale customers turn to their suppliers for advice and support, being armed with the right knowledge and keeping one step ahead of emerging trends is key. Food is becoming about more than just fuel, and continues to be shaped by the political landscape, consumer behaviour, price and our carbon footprint. Wholesalers visiting IFE 2017 can be sure that they will be among the first to witness the industry’s emerging trends, as well as innovative responses to the current challenges that our food and drink industry faces. From alternative proteins, including insect, whey, hemp and algae, to convenient snacking on-the-go concepts in answer to the increasing fast-paced lifestyle of today’s consumer. Wholesalers can also take advantage of IFE’s new Trend Trails. The simple-to-follow Trend Trail maps will highlight the relevant stands to source new and on-trend produce. The Trend Trails will help buyers walk a dedicated path, allowing them to discover the latest products and suppliers in a specific on-trend category, such as free-from foods.
- Brand new Talking Trends stage
IFE 2017’s new Talking Trends stage will further highlight the industry’s emerging trends. Hosted by Saturday Kitchen wine critic, Jane Parkinson, the Talking Trends stage is the place to be for wholesalers seeking the latest industry insight. Futurologist Morgaine Gaye will forecast the upcoming food trends, while director of brand strategy insight, Amelia Boothman will examine the big food and drink trends of 2017. With the food and drink industry accounting for 16 per cent of the UK’s total manufacturing, it is not surprising that all eyes are on these businesses as they shape how we eat and drink with their products. Amelia will concentrate on the moves driven by consumer behaviour, helping wholesalers achieve a better understanding of the food and drink opportunities, driving their retail and foodservice customers’ purchasing decisions. The Talking Trends stage will also shine a spotlight on the newest NPD entering the market.
- See first-hand the latest category NPD
Wholesalers can also be one of the first to see the latest NPD, which will be showcased daily as IFE continues its exclusive partnership with The Grocery Accelerator. The Grocery Accelerator sessions will take place everyday on the Talking Trends stage and shine a spotlight on 20 of the most promising start-up food and drink companies, giving wholesalers the opportunity to taste, meet and discover.
- Launch of the new Big Picture theatre
The global food and drink industry continues to be one of the fastest moving, and is continually required to adapt in response to consumer demands and government legislation. As sustainability and produce sourcing become a bigger part of the food and drink story, the industry is required to be more open and accountable for its actions. The Big Picture theatre, hosted by Andrew D Scott MIH, owner of Victus Consultancy, will tackle the hard-hitting issues facing the industry, including sugar tax and the diversification of frozen food. As the industry pays ever-closer attention to its carbon footprint, and as chefs and caterers are being held more accountable for food wastage, the benefits of cooking with frozen produce have become significant. As opinion shifts more favourably towards flexible and frozen ingredients, John Hyman will discuss the diversification of this category and its potential for evolution on menus across the industry; arming wholesalers with knowledge that will enable them to educate their customers.
- A look at the issues influencing the industry
While for most businesses in the industry the latest political developments mean business as usual, there remain questions around UK imports and exports. With UK wholesalers and distributors supplying and supporting more than 400,000 retail and foodservice businesses, it is vital that wholesalers truly understand current market conditions. As the UK government officially triggers the Brexit process, there are many areas of uncertainty for wholesalers. IFE 2017 has lined up bespoke seminars to address these issues, including forecasting potential changes to import tariffs, the availability of ingredients and access to labour.
- Unrivalled networking opportunities
Between 19-22 March, some of the industry’s most influential buyers and suppliers will call the ExCeL London home. IFE 2017 provides an unrivalled opportunity to network with suppliers and potential new customers, as well as keep up-to-date with competitor activity. The new show floor networking hubs will give wholesalers the chance to build relationships with the industry’s finest whilst being in the heart of the action.
- On-trend, inspiring Ice Café
IFE 2017 will see the launch of its first ever pop-up. In collaboration with British Frozen Food Federation, the Craft Guild of Chefs and sponsored by Bidvest, The Ice Café will be open daily and serve a menu of great tasting bowl food, created with frozen ingredients. The purpose of IFE’s first pop-up is to help raise awareness of the advantages of cooking with frozen produce including budget, flavour and ease of use without compromising on menu quality; not to mention reducing waste. With its on-trend menu, The Ice Café will offer menu inspiration and give wholesalers additional knowledge on the frozen produce market, enabling them to advise their customers.
- The Staff Canteen Live
The Staff Canteen Live is an exciting demo area where top chefs will cook with on-trend ingredients. Focusing on helping retailers, caterers and chefs develop their skills and kitchen knowledge; wholesalers will learn practical advice, trending ingredient combinations and top trade tips to share with their customers. This highly interactive platform will give wholesalers the opportunity to engage with the chefs as they cook. The line-up for The Staff Canteen Live includes Galton Blackiston, chef owner of Morston Hall in north Norfolk; Robert Ortiz, executive chef at LIMA; Alex Craciun, executive chef at Sosharu; Sarah Barber, executive pastry chef at Café Royal; Matt Worswick, head chef at The Latymer; Paul Ainsworth, owner of Paul Ainsworth at No 6, and Anna Haugh, executive chef at Bob Bob Ricard.
- Co-located with Waste-Works and Pro2Pac
Like a shopper in any category, exhibition visitors and delegates are continually on the search for the best value, and in the food and drink market, the topic of added-value is top of the list of show requirements. Added value is essential to IFE 2017’s wholesale audience, and by co-locating IFE, Waste-Works and Pro2Pac, we believe IFE 2017 offers this in abundance. For many of the buyers visiting our exhibitions, time is a precious commodity. By offering innovative food & drink, packaging and waste reduction solutions under one roof, we believe that we offer a productive, worthwhile experience that can answer an extensive range of industry wide issues at once. IFE 2017’s co-located shows mean that wholesalers can also benefit from extended industry knowledge and a time-effective opportunity to view first-hand the latest innovation from across the industry. Whether that’s handy food-to-go packaging, the newest waste reduction solution, or the most interesting way to add alternative proteins into your diet, IFE, Pro2Pac and Waste-Works have it covered.
Register now via the IFE website for your free entrance badge.