The latest from the UK’s gastronomic scene hits the NEC show floor


From 16-18 April, Food & Drink Expo will return to the NEC in Birmingham playing host to some of the most exciting up and coming food and drink brands of the moment as well as industry movers, shakers and influencers. 

This year’s three day event will welcome a wide range of businesses to the show floor, some more established and some first-timers. Among them are companies tapping into some of the latest industry trends such as gut-friendly foods, alcohol-free tipples, Hawaiian cuisine and plant-based protein.

Tapping into the dominating macro trend for health, ALIVE Beverage (Stand G150) is brand new to the UK and will be exhibiting its range of three healthy functional drinks at show. Founders Emma Garvey and Victoria Hamilton will be on stand to meet and greet visitors and talk to them about the drinks which are designed to support high performance, detoxification and balance in your everyday.

Coconut-based products continue to be popular with consumers and one brand continuing to innovate within this space is The Coconut Company (Stand L150). It will be showcasing its current range of retail products as well as launching its new powdered coconut milk drinks in a range of flavours and new ‘Dark Sauce’ – a soy sauce alternative made from coconut sap.

Meanwhile on-trend brand Quoats (Stand K133) will be adding a new Apple, Pear and Cinnamon pot to its existing range of Original, Coconut and Raspberry and Date and Pecan. The brand, which has been in the UK market for two years now, produces unique porridge pots with a blend of quinoa, oats and flax and taps into the increasing on-the-go breakfast shift in the market. 

Tapping into the demand for alcohol-free drink options ‘no sin gin’ brand Chastity (Stand E180) will also be at show. The brand produces two ‘gins’ which boast all the taste sensation of a small batch gin but with none of the alcohol.

The Grocer Talking Shop Live stage remains one of the highlights of the show and this year will be no different, hearing commentary on some of the most pressing industry topics from food waste to reducing plastic packaging. 

Meanwhile, MD of Food Mentor Karen Green and co-founder of Snaffling Pig Nick Coleman will host Find your recipe for success where visitors can get the lowdown on creating a profitable food business as SME expert and best-selling author Green explains how to build a brand and carve out a successful category. She’s joined by Virgin Foodpreneur winner 2017 and Dragons’ Den contestant Nick Coleman, who’ll give real-world examples of how to thrive in a tough marketplace.

Elsewhere, Neil Phillips of The Wine Tipster will host Wine trends: decanted covering what exciting wine developments will dominate the next decade. Neil Phillips will talk through the trends from wine boxes to English varieties, fresh fizz to emerging regions. Plus, he'll discuss where wine fits into the wider retail mix, when space is tight and promotions are paramount.

Food Spark editor Tom Lee and executive director of MCA and Food Spark Simon Stenning will host From far-out tech to nothing but nature about the broad spectrum of plant-based innovations in food and drink. Covering the topical subject of the rise of vegetarianism, flexitarianism and veganism and thus increasing demand for products to meet these needs, the session will look at some of the most exciting products and concepts in the market right now, from vegan pubs and supermarket ranges, to meat-free alternatives aimed at the flexitarian mindset. 

The announcement of the winner of this year’s Great New Idea competition is a must see for those visiting the show. Each year, the award welcomes entries from the food and drink industry that demonstrate some of the best innovations from the last twelve months. Over 160 products have been entered into this year’s awards. Products in the running will be clearly marked on stand, giving visitors the chance to see the best contenders.

Food & Drink Expo is located alongside four other food industry shows including The Ingredients Show - new for 2018 - Foodex, Farm Shop & Deli Show and National Convenience Show. Their combined weight brings together 1,500 suppliers representing the length and breadth of the UK’s food and drink industry, meaning the show is once again offer a fantastic opportunity to network with retailers, brand founders and industry influencers. To register for free entry to all five shows, simply visit

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