Gama spoke to Philippa Christer, event director, ahead of the latest edition of IFE, International Food & Drink Event.
What are your expectations for this year’s IFE?
I’m so excited for this year’s edition of IFE. There are so many new aspects of the show and additional features for visitors to explore. This year we’ve introduced the Startup Market for newly launched food & drink brands and the New Products Tasting Theatre, where visitors can sample completely new products and try delicious dishes from key distributors and wholesalers.
IFE 2023 will also have a dedicated Sustainability Stage, sponsored by Elopak and with a full day of content curated by the Food & Drink Federation. Sustainability is one of the most important topics in the global food & drink sector so it’s great to have an opportunity to delve deep into specific issues within this.
How should food and drink companies ensure success in the face of global political insecurity, price inflation, supply chain challenges and other headwinds?
In recent years we’ve seen a lot of the brands we work with diversifying their product ranges and blurring the lines between retail and hospitality, and that flexibility can help to protect companies in the face of current challenges in the market.
Retail and wholesale buyers and hospitality business owners are more time-poor than ever and are using events like IFE to sample a wide range of food & drink products from around the world and keep on top of the latest trends.
What key trends are shaping food & drink in 2023?
Sustainability, as I mentioned above, is one of the defining issues the industry is facing, and it’s the number one question buyers are asking when it comes to new food & drink products.
Free from, vegan and low & no alcohol products continue to launch onto the market and grow their market share, and that speaks to the continued consumer interest in health & wellbeing which really spiked during the pandemic. Our Health & Wellbeing and Vegan & Plant-based sections at IFE continue to be incredibly popular, both with visitors and with brands hoping to take part.
Taking place on 20th-22nd March, IFE, International Food and Drink Event, will welcome 25,000 food and drink professionals to come together face-to-face to sample new products, make lasting business connections, and find suppliers who’ll give your business a competitive edge.