Gama spoke to Giorgio Rigali, Head of Communications, ahead of the latest edition of Food & Drink Expo.
What are your expectations for this year’s Food & Drink Expo?
This year’s Food & Drink Expo is shaping up to be one of the biggest yet. The UK food and drink industry is fast-paced and constantly evolving, with businesses recognising the role of large face-to-face events in helping spread their brands and messages. Throughout the show, we have a diverse range of businesses exhibiting and have introduced some new zones – plant-based and healthy & natural – that really showcase two of the fastest growing areas of the market. Across the three days, we have a content programme that really drills down into the key topics impacting the sector, with some really inspirational influencers taking to the stage. We are confident that this year’s Food & Drink Expo will, once again, connect businesses throughout the UK food and drink supply chain, creating growth opportunities, as well as inspire visitors with content from industry leaders.
How should food and drink companies ensure success in the face of global political insecurity, price inflation, supply chain challenges, and other headwinds?
The industry is facing some significant headwinds and the signs suggest that these are not set to ease in the short-term. Whilst these challenges pose a serious threat, there are always opportunities for growth. Staying on top of market trends and adapting to the needs of consumers is key to staying relevant and generating footfall and sales. Insight shows that consumers still look to treat themselves during times of economic downfall, so the opportunities are present. For grocery, there is an opportunity to encourage more at-home treating, particularly as many consumers might look to cut-back on out-of-home spend. Navigating the cost-of-living crisis is one of the prominent themes of the content at the show this year. We aim to provide the insight and support that businesses need to navigate these challenges.
What key trends are shaping food & drink in 2023?
In reality, the key mega trends shaping 2023 and beyond are not drastically different. Omnichannel, technology, sustainability, value and people will be key themes throughout the industry. Staffing shortages have been a huge issue across grocery and hospitality; putting extra emphasis on staff wellbeing could be the difference between retaining and losing staff. Consumer demand for sustainable solutions is not waning and they are more demanding than ever of businesses across the supply chain. Sustainable solutions don’t always have to come at a cost, but if they do, they could be the critical in the long-term. The cost-of-living crisis will continue and consumers will be seeking value in their purchases. Businesses need to think smart when it comes to their value proposition: value doesn’t always have to relate to price and smaller margins. What is overarching ahead of these trends is understanding your audience. Particularly during these challenging times, it is near impossible to be everything for everyone – understand your target audience and build the proposition around that. Attempting to target everyone could result in your business losing appeal across all consumers.
About Food & Drink Expo
Food & Drink Expo provides the number one route to the UK food and drink market and helps hundreds of companies showcase their exceptional products. Buyers and decision-makers across the whole industry, from grocery, wholesale and speciality retail to foodservice and manufacturing, are invited to uncover the hottest trends, latest product launches, and the industry’s vision for the future.