13 September 2018, 15:40 PM
  • 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
New products, industry experts, and tasty innovations at lunch! 2018

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.”