Food-To-Go Industry Prepares For Lunch! 2016

foodLunch! Innovation Challenge entries announced

With visitor pre-registrations tracking well ahead, and over 350 companies preparing to exhibit, this month’s lunch! trade show, taking place on 21-22 September at the Business Design Centre in London, is set for its biggest food-to-go showcase yet.

Food-to-go has never been more popular.  £16.1bn is the value IGD retail analysts say the UK’s food to go market is set to reach by the end of 2016, with sales up nearly 7% from 2015.  In their most recent survey, around 70% of shoppers had purchased their lunch ‘to go’ in the preceding month, whilst almost a third (28%) had ‘bought something on-the-go for breakfast’.

Such numbers make it a hugely competitive marketplace.  To keep customers interested, operators have to identify key trends and keep their menus ahead of the curve.  Innovative sourcing at lunch! is one proven way to do just that.  It’s been helping to launch new products to market since 2008.  From supermarket meal deals to travel catering, from attraction cafés to local sandwich shops, lunch! and its eclectic mix of exhibitors have been influencing ‘on the go’ menus across the UK for years.

“lunch! continues to truly amaze and inspire a generation of food-to-go buyers,” says Martin Hambleton, head of procurement at Enroute International.

“lunch! is a key event for our buying team.  The quality of suppliers makes it the destination show for our industry,” says Helen Higgins, head of food at EAT.

“lunch! is a fantastic show and great way to discover new innovations.  I would recommend it to anyone in this sector,” says Andy Crowle, product research manager at Tesco.

New show features for 2016 include the launch of the Innovation Challenge Gallery.  Located on the Upper Feature Level, it’s a good vantage point for visitors to see what’s new.  Designed to promote the best food-to-go innovations over the last twelve months – it boasts a record 64 entries this year.

Visiting buyers get their chance to decide this year’s awards shortlist by casting a vote for their favourite innovations on the show’s opening day.  Finalists will then go on to live pitch their products (in 90 seconds or less) to this year’s judges, including top buyers from Tossed, Costa Coffee, En Route International, and Elior UK (pitches start at 11.45am in Keynote Theatre 1 on Thursday 22 September, with the results at 2.45pm).

lunch! returns to Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on Wednesday and Thursday, 21-22 September 2016.  To register for a free trade pass, please visit and quote priority code LUN10 (direct link: