- The UK's largest food-to-go trade event is set to welcome thousands of food-to-go retailers and operators from across the country in next week's events
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Set to take place over the course of September 20-21 at ExCel in London, lunch! 2018, which was shortlisted for Best UK Trade Show Exhibition (2,000-8,000) 2018, will be an opportunity for members of the food-to-go industry to meet other industry leaders and get a sense for where the industry is at, and where it is going. Victoria Green, buying manager at Waitrose, says: “lunch! is a really valuable opportunity for buying teams to catch up with suppliers and check out up and coming brands and products,”
This year’s event will see a record number of exhibiting companies, with 370 businesses presenting exciting new ideas and products. Almost 100 manufacturers and suppliers have entered the annual Innovation Challenge Awards, a 44% increase from the previous year. The types of product entered varied wildly, from free-from gummy bears to kombucha, cold-brew coffee to pretzel bites.
Among returning judges are Sandy Anderson (Elior), Louise Direito (Krispy Krème), Paul Ettinger (Caffè Nero), Martin Hambleton (En Route International), Guy Meakin (Pret A Manger), chef/restaurant consultant Jay Morjaria, and Alan Tomlins (Small Batch Coffee Roasters), but there will be a whole slew of new judges as well. These include Aggie Morrell, head of food at Pod, Jack Hinchcliffe, innovation director for KFC UK&I; Ed Parkes, founder & director of The Gentlemen Baristas; Martyn Clover, head of food at Tortilla; Frank Boltman, founder & director of Trade; Shane Kavanagh, CEO of Crussh; and Arnaud Kaziewicz, director of food & beverage at EAT. The event will feature a talk by Aggie Morrell, with voting running from 10am to 4 pm on the 20th, high-vote innovations pitching to judges the following morning, and a winner announced at 4:15 pm on the 21st. According to Sandy Anderson, also a founding judge: “lunch! is a must for anyone involved in the food-to-go industry. Every year, there are more exhibitors showing new innovative products in a great atmosphere of passion and fun.”