IFE, International Food & Drink Event, returns to ExCeL London on 20-22 March alongside IFE Manufacturing and Hotel, Restaurant & Catering. The must-attend trade event invites retail, wholesale and hospitality professionals to network, learn and discover the latest products in the world of food & drink.
This year’s edition will showcase thousands of products from more than 1,500 suppliers, with over 90 countries represented and countless innovative UK brands.
Freya O’Mara, buying manager – Cheese at Ocado Retail, says: “We are looking to come to IFE as an Ocado Dairy and Bakery team – it’s really important for us to make sure we are at the forefront of product trends and innovation and attending IFE will enable us to network, see new products and people and get excited about future innovation.”
New for 2023
A new feature at IFE 2023 is the Startup Market, an area of the show comprised of businesses trading for less than two years and showcasing new product innovation from across the UK. The market will showcase suppliers including Saved, the cricket protein snack brand, Fermenti, supplier of plant-based fermented fruit bites, and Pukpip, provider of indulgent frozen snacking products including real frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.
Alongside the Startup Market is the New Products Tasting Theatre, a demo kitchen where buyers will have the opportunity to sample the latest new products, explore the ranges of key distributors and wholesalers including Bidfood, Empire Bespoke Foods and Alibaba.com, taste a showcase of gold winners from the Free From Awards, and attend IFE’s Big Business Break with Surya Foods, where innovative brands will be pitching their product for the chance to secure up to half a million pounds in investment and support.
Matt Buckingham, Buyer – Confectionery at Marks & Spencer, says: “I am planning to attend IFE this year as it gives buyers a unique opportunity to meet suppliers from all over the world and see (and taste!) fantastic innovation in the flesh. This exposure to newer suppliers that we may not have previously been aware of does not come regularly and it is a great networking opportunity for prospective suppliers that are interesting in working with one of the most recognisable brands in the UK.”
In IFE’s Exporters Hub, sponsored by K International, powered by the Institute of Export & International Trade, international buyers will have the opportunity to quickly and efficiently source export-ready food & drink brands with infrastructure in place for international sales.
Among the numerous new products on offer at this year’s event are a range of British-produced pizza toppings from Action Foods, AVO’s Lafiness Korean Barbecue Style Marinade, Vitafresh Sedge Grass Straws from Vitafresh Produce, a new Vegetable Fibre Paste from TheFlexitarian, and The English Drinks Company’s all-new Cucumber Vodka.
Insights from industry leaders
New for 2023 is IFE’s Sustainability Stage, sponsored by Elopak, where industry leaders and ESG experts will delve into a wide range of issues within this important topic.
Visitors can attend sessions including a look at sustainability in the frozen food sector with Rupert Ashby of the British Frozen Food Federation, a discussion on sustainability in wholesale led by James Bielby of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, a debate on the health of the nation moderated by Louis Bedwell of Mission Ventures and ‘Sustainability begins with the board’ led by Rob Iles of Visionise.
The stage will additionally have a full day of content curated by the Food & Drink Federation, featuring debates on topics such as decarbonising our food systems, meeting evolving customer expectations, the transition to a circular economy for plastics and packaging and what ‘green skills’ are needed for the industry to achieve net zero.
The show’s Trends & Innovation Platform will see presentations and discussions from the likes of Kantar, thefoodpeople, IGD, FDReviews, FMCG Gurus and Stylus, on topics including active nutrition, emerging food technologies, future world flavour trends, consumer price sensitivity, and the rise of the discount retailers in the UK.
The stage will also see a discussion on how the industry can work to champion black-owned brands, led by Silika Shellie-Manso, Director of Innovation (Grocery) at Sainsbury’s, and a debate around managing allergens across the supply chain let by Bertrond Emond, Membership Ambassador & Culture Excellence Lead at Campden BRI.
To find out more about everything happening at IFE 2023, and to register for your complimentary trade ticket, visit ife.co.uk.