Staged alongside IFE Manufacturing and Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC), the 2023 edition of IFE, International Food & Drink Event welcomed more than 27,000 buyers and other delegates from the worlds of retail, wholesale and hospitality, all keen to get the latest insights into the UK food and drink sector.
Adjacent to the product booths, the Sustainability Stage saw sessions on building resiliency into the UK’s food systems, meeting evolving customer expectations, and the transition to a circular economy. Meanwhile the Trends & Innovation Platform saw a wide range of sessions focussing on the latest innovations in food & drink, with presentations covering topics as broad as frozen food trends, emerging food technologies, and the rise of discount retailers.
Elsewhere, IFE’s new Startup Market featured new-to-market suppliers and products, showcasing products ranging from cookie dough to frozen bananas and high-protein puffs made with cricket protein. Innovation was also high on the agenda with the announcement of the winners of the World Food Innovation Award and the inaugural edition of IFE’s Big Business, which took place in the New Products Tasting Theatre.
A tour of the exhibition halls revealed that plant-based ingredients, sustainability, and functionality remain key themes in product development, with a range of exhibitors touting new concepts that aim to respond to consumers’ environmental concerns and demand for food boasting natural nutrition. Among the products to catch the attention were a pea protein beverage, available in a barista expression making it suitable for hot drinks such as tea and coffee, and a range of herbal drinks featuring saffron as a headline ingredient.
Meanwhile, active cultures remained a prominent feature of NPD, providing further evidence of consumer interest in gut and digestive health. Innovations in this space included oat bars and breakfast pots promising plant-powered convenience, and a “living soda” with both cultures and plant fibre.
IFE returns to ExCel London on 25th March 2024.