Thousands of Hospitality and Foodservice professionals descended onto the Birmingham NEC to experience all the latest and greatest in product and technology innovation from more than 200 exhibitors, as well as engaging talks and demos by the very best in the industry. This also coincided with the launch of the HRC Buyers Club – an initiative connecting buyers with UK suppliers, giving them the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings ahead of the show in return for being hosted overnight and invited to exclusive networking events.
The Covered Market was unveiled for the very first time to a great reception. The new feature celebrated small, artisanal suppliers displaying a wide range of fresh and delicious baked goods, dairy, fish, butchery, vegetables, herbs, spices and pulses.
The Spotlight Stage attracted vast crowds keen to tackle topics ranging from the future of street food and staffing challenges through to 2019 consumer trends and the gap in the soft drinks market. Speakers included industry experts Rakesh Nair, The Cinnamon Collection Group Development Chef, Jan Matthews, COO, Smart Group, Glynn Purnell, Head Chef and Proprietor, Purnell’s and Lee DeSanges, Baked In Brick owner.
Innovation was a big focus at Kitchenology (in association with CESA) showcasing inventive products and smart technology with a focus around business efficiencies and sustainability. Meanwhile the UK’s most prestigious chef competition, Salon Culinaire was a star attraction (full winners list can be found here) as was The Skills Theatre masterclasses hosted by Ruth Hansom, winner of TV’s Million Pound Menu and the first female winner of Young National Chef of the Year, and Leo Kattou, from Simpson’s Restaurant, BCF Chef of the Year finalist and of MasterChef fame. As if this wasn’t jam-packed enough, The Staff Canteen Live stage created a buzz with show-stopping demos by some of the UK’s top chefs including Ellis Barrie (Marram Grass) and James Cochran (1251).
Many exhibitors launched a host of new products set to hit the wider market soon.
Ross Carter, portfolio director at event organiser Fresh Montgomery said, “We’re pleased to hear that exhibitors thought the event was well paced, diverse in visitors, and a good source of quality, marketable leads. Year-on-year we strive to add more value for our exhibitors and visitors, so to achieve a balance between engaging sessions and valuable insight. We are extremely pleased with the shows outcome and very much look forward to building on this next year.”
Neat Nutrition – Charlie Turner, Sales and Marketing Director said ‘We were so impressed with the quality of people at the show. We managed to get face-to-face time with contacts we’ve struggled to get hold of. The show has also opened up new avenues for us to explore that we hadn’t even considered. We came in with one business objective, and left with another entirely!’
Santa Maria – Habee Folami, Marketing Executive said ‘It’s been a great show, we’ve had some amazing new chef sign ups and we’ve sold out of all of our stock! We’ve had some interesting conversations with potential new sales leads looking for large quantities, so fingers crossed they come through!’