With visitor pre-registrations tracking well ahead and over 200 companies preparing to exhibit, it promises to be another big year for Casual Dining – the industry’s favourite restaurant, pub and bar event, returning to ExCeL London on 25-26 March.
No stranger to breaking records – since its launch in 2014 it’s reported significant year-on-year growth in attendance and floor space – it’s just enjoyed its best January stand sales ever, with over 30 exhibitors (its highest in one month) coming on board. That’s great news for its visitors (who annually include some of the most influential leaders and buyers in the business), as they’ll have even more new innovations to discover next month.
Many of the latest signings were new companies (to the show): Nespresso Professional, Mission Foods, Vita Mojo, MOJU Drinks, SASSY Cidre, Freddie’s Flowers, Ruby Food Products, and Lumea. They’ll be making their debut alongside returning exhibitors like Arla Pro, Eurilait, Destiny Foods, Frobisher’s, TouchBistro, and Slingsby Gin (all recently confirmed).
There’s also just one stand remaining in the newly launched wine pavilion – ‘The Vineyard’; which is conveniently located next to the new Pub & Bar Keynote Theatre. New names there include Broadland Wineries and Unity Wines.
Notably, yet perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s been a big uptake by vegan/plant-based brands for Casual Dining 2020. To quote Mark Wogan, co-founder and creative director of Homeslice: “Anyone ignoring the plant-based revolution that is going on is mad!”
Exhibitors to look out for include Joe Delucci's, Food Heaven, Mademoiselle Desserts, and Aulds Delicious Desserts – sampling their latest free-from and vegan sweets; Rude Health – showcasing its dairy-free and organic Barista Almond and Barista Oat drinks; and AAK Foodservice – it’s launching a Whirl Vegan Sweetened Whipping Cream that can be used hot, cold or frozen.
For meat alternatives, there’s: vegan fast food brand Biff’s Kitchen, with its jackfruit-based ‘junk’ food; LoveSeitan – launching a new vegan pepperoni that’s supplied frozen or chilled in sausage or sliced format; Loughnane’s of Galway sampling its new vegan VEEF range of burgers and mince; Moving Mountains Foods showcasing its plant-based Sausage Burger made from oyster mushrooms, and pea and wheat protein; and The Vegetarian Butcher – launching its NoChicken Chunks into foodservice.
To date, there’s also more low-and-no alcohol companies (another growing trend) booked in than in previous years. To search the exhibitor list, please visit: www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/exhibitor-list.
New product preview
2020 is already shaping up to be a bumper year for new product launches. Scores of exhibitors have been busy sharing details of what’s new from them (with many launching at the show). Here’s some of the food and drink highlights:
- Wild Beer Co is adding Kalamansification – a tropical sour beer made using Hibiscus and Kalamansi, to its diverse canned range of beers.
- GCL Food Ingredients is introducing Prawn and Lemon Grass Dumplings – a new Italian/Asian mash up that provides consumers with an innovative pasta alternative.
- Kepak’s new ‘Burgers with a Blend’ – the Beefroot Burger and Moo-shroom Burger – are made with grass-fed quality beef and vegetables, such as beetroot, quinoa and mushroom.
- The Sausage Man is introducing the Volkswagen Currywurst – a sausage being dubbed the most iconic in the world and, most recently, featured in Richard Hammond’s new Discovery Channel show Big.
- Sea Products International’s latest innovation – the Blazing Shrimp, features hand-prepared King Prawns enrobed in a light, hot and spicy, Southern fried style batter.
- Karimix UK’s new Korean Bulgogi Sauce can be used for dipping or grilling, as a stir fry/marinade, or a glaze just before serving.
- Glebe Farm Foods’ new PureOaty oat drink is made using only four natural ingredients: British gluten free oats, water, sunflower oil and salt.
- Climpson & Sons recently launched its After Hours range, including espresso martini (ready to serve from the tap or shaken) and small-batch Midnight Oil coffee liqueur.
- Consistent Shred™ – available as a premium Soft Melt Mozzarella & Cheddar blend, is the latest addition to the Spinneyfields pizza topper range from Ornua Ingredients Europe.
- Sustainable water provider EauVation is launching the Table Top Acqua 20, providing pure, chilled and sparkling drinking water instantly on demand.
- Tails Cocktails is launching its Garden Cocktail. Made with a mix of gin and elderflower, with notes of cucumber and basil, it can be served on ice and topped with soda water.
- FrieslandCampina is launching Yazoo No Added Sugar Strawberry Flavoured Milk with the category’s first bendable paper straw.
And that’s just from a dozen of the show’s 200+ exhibiting companies (offering everything from ingredients to food and drink, from smart kitchen kit and front of house, to payment solutions and catering tech). Over 100 are also expected to enter this year’s much-sought-after Casual Dining Innovation Challenge awards (more details, including the stellar line-up of judges, will be released next month).
It is this continued focus on new innovations and promoting the best choice of suppliers from across the sector, that has won Casual Dining a legion of repeat visitors - from multi-site restaurant, pub and bar groups, to hotels, contract caterers and the nation’s best independents.
“Casual Dining 2019 provided a great opportunity to engage with innovative new suppliers and network with existing contacts. It’s a great event and one I look forward to returning to in 2020,” says Mark Carter, head of drinks category management at Marston’s Pubs & Bars.
“Casual Dining is the ‘must attend’ event for our sector. With all suppliers under one roof, it’s an efficient way of seeing new product innovations from businesses you know well, plus some great supply alternatives from businesses you know less about,” says Tracey Brown, food & beverage director at Jupiter Hotels.
“Casual Dining is a great show that brings hospitality leaders, new talent, tech and exciting new trends under one roof,” says Sameer Shetty, operations director at Hubbox.
Free trade registration
Over 5,000 attendees will attend Casual Dining 2020 at ExCeL London over 25-26 March. For further information and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit www.casualdiningshow.co.uk and use priority code CD10 (alternatively, use direct link: https://eventdata.uk/VISITOR/CasualDining2020.aspx?TrackingCode=CD10).
 Source: www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/qas/speaker-qa-mark-wogan-homeslice
 Source: www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/news/food-drink-trends-for-2020