The UK Food & Drink Shows returned to the NEC Birmingham this week for a three-day event like no other, marked by an air of real celebration, driven by visitors' and exhibitors' eagerness, excitement, and relief to finally get back to face-to-face business.

Following an enforced hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show, Food & Drink Expo and The Forecourt Show, had promised a united front of comprehensive product innovation and business insight two years in the making. A flood of overwhelmingly positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors has shown that the events have delivered on their shared remit, providing 2022's most comprehensive snapshot of multiple markets in just three days.

Andrew Reed, Managing Director – Events & Exhibitions, William Reed, said: “The familiar feel-good factor that sets these events apart really has returned, and yet the enforced break has resulted in an almost festival air - driven by people's relief to get back to some semblance of normality, back to the show floor and back to business. This enthusiasm is writ large in the positive feedback and weight of exhibitor commitment to the 2023 shows we have already received, but also in the sense of togetherness we have felt this week. It's been a fantastic showcase for our industry.”

Show highpoints included the return of the prestigious Farm Shop & Deli Retailer of the Year Awards, which crowned no fewer than nine regional retailing champions, as well as the culmination of a brand-new farm shop and deli-focused Product Awards.

Elsewhere, industry insight and new ways of thinking were provided by a host of luminaries including, Leon co-founder and lead of the National Food Strategy, Henry Dimbleby; former McLaren F1 pit crew member, Marc Priestley; Lisa Hogan of the Diddly Squat Farm Shop; writer, broadcaster and public speaker Lucy Siegle; Executive Director of the Petrol Retailers and Car Wash Association, Gordon Balmer; former Gadget Show presenter, Jason Bradbury; Government Relations Director for the Association of Convenience Stores, Edward Woodall, plus a raft of other key industry players.

“Everyone is here for the right reasons, invaluable conversations, no time wasters. If you’re going to launch a brand or product anywhere, this is the place to do it. We’ve prebooked a bigger stand for 2023 already.”
Anthony Gauntlett, MD, Yummy Bar

“We’ve done all the shows there are to do this year and by far and away Farm Shop & Deli Show is the best. We’ve met and opened up dialogue with buyers from big national retailers, and it’s because of this, and the support of the WRBM team, that we have already committed to the 2023 shows, where we plan to take more space and bring more of our brands.” Peter Mitchell, MD, The Farmers Son (Farm Shop & Deli Show)“In all the events I’ve done, I’ve never met as many genuinely interested people as I have done in the last two days. Quality of footfall has been absolutely fantastic. The industry is out in force this year. It’s been brilliant to be back amongst people, at the end of the day, we’re built on relationships!” Clive Hughes, Business Development Manager, CBE Software (National Convenience Show)

“We have a sensory product and to be able to put it into the hands of retailers and grocery buyers is so important for us. Being at the show allows us to have old school conversations with important contacts, having a laugh, building a rapport. It’s 100 times better than an email!” Tom Willday, Founder, Willsow (Food & Drink Expo)

“It’s been a fantastic show. It’s what people wanted – to get back to face to face interactions, and it’s great to see so many of our dealers here. We absolutely got what we came for.” Andrew Allen, UK Sales Manager, BP (The Forecourt Show)

National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show and Food & Drink Expo return to the Birmingham NEC in 2023 (24th – 26th April), bolstered by the dual additions of Foodex and The Ingredients Show. Companies looking to place their businesses in front of one of the UK’s most influential and switched-on audiences should contact or today.

The UK Food & Drink Shows are the product of award-winning event organisers William Reed Business Media.

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