One Mondelēz International representative reported: “The breadth of categories on display was great.
“We went to discover the latest trends and companies that we’ve not heard of and you could see a real emphasis on health and natural come through in the products on display – there were lots of British foods too, which is always good. Novel branding and provenance were the key trends that stand out.”
A total of 650 exhibitors were present at the show, which was held at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) from March 24–26.
Paul Wilkinson, business development manager at automation specialist Pacepacker Services, which launched a new pick-and-place robot portfolio at the event, said it had attracted significant interest.
“We’ve been integrating robots for pick-and-place and palletising tasks for over 40 years, but the use of robots to pick-up and pack food products is really starting to accelerate.
“This was reflected in the levels of enquiries we received at Foodex from a diverse cross section of end users, from snacks, to ready meals and flour producers. One enquiry we received came from a fish supplier to pick up raw product is testament to the growing interest for primary packing.”
Philip Yau, who founded Bonnie Yau Food Products with wife Bonnie, said the show had proved a roaring success for the firm as an exhibitor.
“We had three very busy days and it was definitely worthwhile. We saw familiar faces and existing customers – plus we have been approached by many new prospects. We also received enquiries from new industry sectors. The show has been positive for us – the quality of leads was invaluable.”
Channel 4’s Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom and Henry Herbert, caused a stir, providing advice on building a successful brand and strong retail relationships when they appeared.
Elsewhere, Riverside Bakery’s gluten-free pasta range No. G, which it launched in retailer Whole Foods Market this week, was crowned the winner of Food & Drink Expo’s Best New Idea.
And British Bakels won the 2014 Great British Bounce Back award, which recognises firms that have invested in equipment or training despite challenging market conditions.
“We’re delighted to win the award, which was voted for by visitors to the Expo,” said Sam Benjamin, development technician at Riverside Bakery. “We had a fantastic response from people who visited us at the show.
“An increasing number of people can’t eat gluten and we wanted to give them back the British food they love, whether that’s a slow cooked beef pie or an indulgent chocolate tart.”
Brands including Corkers Crisps and Wine Fusion secured listings through the Dragons’ Pantry feature at the co-located Farm Shop & Deli Show, which returns to the NEC on April 20–22, 2015.
Food & Drink Expo is a bi-annual show and so will next return from April 18–20, 2016. Don't miss FoodManufacture.co.uk's video highlights of the event.