From Monday to Wednesday of this week, the great and the good from the UK food and drinks industry gathered at the NEC in Birmingham for Food & Drink Expo. Now into its 20th year, the biannual event saw over 400 companies – ranging from startup brands to the industry’s major names – showcase the latest innovations and ideas from all areas of the food, drinks, packaging and convenience goods sectors.
Food & Drink Expo once again incorporated the Farm Shop & Deli Show, highlighting the latest in artisanal and delicatessen products and bringing together over 150 suppliers from the speciality foods industry. Meanwhile, the 2014 edition of Food & Drink also saw the launch of a new Regional Quarter, showcasing products from many areas of the UK including Yorkshire, Wales and the Heart of England.
Enquiring minds sought out the the Brainfood Factory, the event’s seminar theatre hosting masterclasses, interviews, panel debates and product demonstrations, while the Great New Idea Award recognized exhibitors’ most creative ideas as voted for by the delegates.
On the ground there was a buzz of activity and a sense of confidence. Exhibitors spoke positively about future opportunities and seemed to be embracing the nascent UK economic recovery. Innovation was prominent, and a particular focus was the health & wellness agenda, especially in non-alcoholic drinks. Myriad health drinks were on display, with coconut water and green tea being the most notable players.
On-the-go and convenience also continued to be a major theme, while the boom in tobacco alternatives was evidenced by the number of stands showcasing e-cigarette products.
Read more about Food & Drink 2014 in the April issue of Gama News.
Additional information sourced from Food & Drink Expo.