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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Diversity, innovation and future-focussed

It’s the food and drink industry’s biggest event of the year. Together, IFE and Pro2Pac served up a feast of originality

Defra Taste and Tales Wall

From charcoal-infused beverages and popped lotus seed snacks to meat-free burgers and healthy protein-based ketchup, the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) showcased a taste of tomorrow with more than 1350 trend-setting brands exhibiting their latest product innovations.

During the course of the memorable 21st edition, 27,000 food and drink professionals flocked to London’s ExCel. Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food & drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations. This year certainly delivered. The event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations; and lots of ongoing and beneficial business partnerships made.”

Taking place as negotiations continued around the UK’s exit from the EU, the implications of Brexit proved the hot topic. Leading figures such as Sandra Sullivan MBE, from the Food & Drink Exporters Association, and Ian Wright, from the Food & Drink Federation, debated the key issues, with the message to the sector focussed on the need to protect the fantastic diversity, quality and range of food & drink produced in the UK market. Building on the theme of exporting, IFE sponsors, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for International Trade (DIT), brought to life the government campaign, Food is GREAT, through a multi-sensory UK Taste & Tales Wall. The storytelling experience took visitors on a trip through various export journeys and showcased the exceptional British food & drink that’s landing on dinner plates around the world.

27,000 food and drink professionals flocked to London’s ExCel

The theme of sustainability was also high on the agenda and experts from WRAP, Defra, The Packaging Collective and the Soil Association took part in the Big Debate panels which highlighted the need to educate consumers on the environmental impact of food waste and ways to tackle this pressing issue.

Bringing the IFE strapline – A Taste of Tomorrow – to life, was the brand-new Tasting Trends attraction where all sessions were standing room only. Each day, buyers & suppliers were immersed in an experiential street food hub where they could see, taste and smell the up-and-coming food and drink trends shaping the sector.

IFE 2019 was co-located with Pro2Pac, the complete processing & packaging event for the food & drink industry. Attracting professionals from the packaging sector, the event featured interesting debates on topics such as packaging in the circular economy, the impact of Brexit on the packaging market and how to inspire the world to switch off the plastic tap. With experts from the likes of the Confederation of Paper Industries and Women in Packaging, it was the only place to gain a comprehensive snapshot of the future of food & drink packaging.

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