Industry movers and shakers set to feature in an array of insight talks

This spring from 16-18 April, Food & Drink Expo will return to the NEC in Birmingham with a speaker programme set to offer advice from thought leaders and provide consultancy on some of the most pressing topical issues and trends from reducing plastic packaging to the incredible rise in consumers looking to include more plant-based food in their diets. A behemoth of the UK’s food and drink calendar, the exhibition promises an exciting speaker programme covering food waste, personal nutrition, brand building, how SMEs can thrive in a tough marketplace, provenance and food pairings.


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Alongside the exhibition itself, Food & Drink Expo will once again provide an insightful series of live seminars sharing the very latest food and drink trends, tackling industry issues and quandries and examining predictions for the future. The collection of sessions will be hosted by some of the food and drink industries movers and shakers. The event theatre will provide the opportunity to enjoy lively discussions hosted by high profile speakers and garner astute market insights and ideas to support growth.

Emily Foster from Glowing Potential will host a session on new health movement ‘personal nutrition’, discussing this emerging category’s potential and explaining how to tap into this trend for successful personalised products, services and retail experiences. The panel of industry experts will include MBA Registered Dietitian Mariette Abrahams and Co-Founder SpoonGuru Markus Stripf.

Meanwhile Thea Alexander from Young Foodies will host ‘Supercharge your start-up’. For even the most exciting start-ups, achieving cut-through is tough. Thea Alexander, ex-Propercorn director and founder of Young Foodies, asks some of her favourite start-up founders how they’ve found going from nothing to becoming challenger brands. In particular, she digs deep on the day-to-day challenges, like talking to buyers, accessing data, and dealing with operations. Those sharing their experiences and insight will include co-founder of Brew Tea Co. Aideen Kirby, co-founder of White Rabbit Pizza Nick Croft-Simon, co-founder of Pack’d Luke Johnstone and co-founder of Gato & Co Kim Lamza.

The session on ‘One mission, many choices – the blurring lines between retail and foodservice, and the key consumer trends spanning both sectors’ is set to provide some factinating insights. MCA and HIM will combine to provide their expert views on foodservice consumers and retail shoppers and how they are essentially the same individuals, and are affected by the same trends when on a mission to purchase food, whether for in-home or out-of-home consumption.

Food scene stalwart and BBC Radio 2 presenter Nigel Barden will return to the show, hosting a session with the Happerley board on perfecting provenance. At a time when consumers have lost trust in much of the food they buy, full disclosure is a must for smart food producers. Nigel Barden will explore this hot topic with Happerley – the food provenance organisation, and the new standards they have implemented to benefit the industry and empower the consumer. The all-star panellist will include Happerley founder Matt Rymer, Peter Jinman OBE (CEO of Happerley, Head of Defra animal Welfare Committee, Former Head of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons), CEO of Mid-Counties Co-operative Philip Ponsonby, TV presenter Cotswold Farm Park’s Adam Henson, Adlington Farm brand owner Rod Adlington and Cotteswold Dairy brand manager Rosanne McKewan.

Also speaking at the show will be Love Food Hate Waste Ambassador Richard Fox, who will host an all-star line-up of food and sustainability experts including Manchester Metropolitan University Chartered Waste and Resource Manager Amanda Reid, The Co-Op’s Corporate Responsibility Manager Hannah Gallimore, renowned food writer and critic Matthew Fort and Adam Handling of the Adam Handling Group. These leading representatives from the academic world, retail and broadcast media, will discuss one of the biggest issues facing the industry today, tackle waste reduction, sustainability and the impact on business and society.

From reformulation to reduced sugar options, the Sugar Tax is transforming how the industry talks about the white stuff. Business journalist Steph McGovern will discuss how the sugar debate is shaping sales. Discover how to communicate with customers about health, and whether the tax is going to be effective, alongside fresh market insights from MCA. The panel will include MD of Cawston Press Steve Kearnes, Director General of the British Soft Drink Association Gavin Partington, Founder and Dietitian at Nutrition and Marketing Consulting Glowing Potential Emily Foster and Executive Director of MCA Simon Stenning.

With the one in five UK teetotallers wanting more from their soft drinks, the session from Graeme Loudon from CGA will help provide inspiration on how to refresh your stock with a deep dive into this booming market, from zero alcohol beer to spirit-free gins. Plus, a top mixologist will mix some enticing selections live on stage. Graeme will be joined by Adam Phoenix who is the Bar Operations Trainer at molecular mixologist focused cocktail bar, The Alchemist.

Food & Drink Expo is co-located with four other events – The Ingredients Show, which is new for 2018, Foodex, Farm Shop & Deli Show and National Convenience Show. Together they will bring together 1,500 suppliers from across the whole food and drink supply chain, from retailers to manufacturers, making it the place to do business in the industry.

Register for free, receiving entry to all five shows

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For further press information please contact Lesley Foottit or Alasdair Copland in the event press office on 020 7240 2444 or email

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