27 March 2019, 14:27 PM
  • Highlights included Big Debates on Brexit and food waste, Defra and DIT’s multi-sensory Taste & Tales Wall and the ‘Tasting Trends’ experiences

Over 27,000 visitors attended IFE 2019, which took place over 17th - 20th March at London’s ExCel. More than 1,350 new and trend-setting international food and drink brands exhibited their latest product innovations; including everything from charcoal-infused drinks and popped lotus seed snacks to meat-free burgers and healthy protein-based ketchup.

Hot topics included the implications of Brexit and in particular, importing and exporting food and drink produce, with leading figures such as Sandra Sullivan MBE, from the Food & Drink Exporters Association, and Ian Wright, from the Food & Drink Federation, debating the key issues.

Building on the theme of exporting, IFE sponsors, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for International Trade (DIT), brought to life the government campaign, Food is GREAT, through a multi-sensory UK Taste & Tales Wall.

The theme of sustainability was also high on the agenda, with over half of food & drink companies citing reducing their reliance on single-use plastic and making packaging more sustainable as the biggest sustainability challenges facing their business. Experts from WRAP, Defra, The Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part in the Big Debate panels which highlighted the need to educate consumers from a young age on the environmental impact of food waste and ways to tackle this pressing issue.

Bringing the IFE strapline – A Taste of Tomorrow – to life, was the brand-new Tasting Trends attraction. Each day, buyers and suppliers were immersed in an experiential street food hub where they could see, taste and smell the up-and-coming food and drink trends shaping the sector. Pioneering chefs including Tony Kitous, Tokunbo Koiki and Jay Morjaria, cooked up delicacies from the international, plant-based, flavour and conscious food trends.

Speaking about the 21st edition of IFE, Soraya Gadelrab, event director, said: “As one of the biggest international food & drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered! Every event I think it can’t get better and every time I’m blown away. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations; and lots of ongoing and beneficial business partnerships made. It’s left a long-lasting impression on the industry.”

To find out more about IFE 2019 and see the highlights from the four-day event, visit: ife.co.uk