With visitor registration now open for 2018, lunch! has released its first preview of some of the new Keynote speakers set to appear at the show over 20-21 September at London ExCeL.
lunch!’s two Keynote Theatres have become known for attracting some of the biggest names in the business, including all the leading lunchtime operators. For 2018, its stellar line-up now includes: Clare Clough, food & coffee director at Pret a Manger; Shereen Ritchie, operations director at LEON; MasterChef finalist Arnaud Kaziewicz, executive chef at EAT; Richard Morris, MD of Tortilla; and Angelina Harrisson, food & commercial director at Tossed, who has called lunch! her “favourite show of the year”.
They’ll be sharing their expert insights into the challenges and opportunities of competing in this dynamic market, alongside other (soon to be announced) industry leaders. Visitors will also benefit from the latest food-to-go research updates from MCA, The NPD Group, and IGD, plus lively panel discussions featuring a raft of award-winning smaller operators sharing their strategies on how to compete and thrive as an independent café, sandwich shop, coffee house, bakery or deli on a high street full of global brands.
“Running a hospitality (and especially a food-to-go) business is hard work. Being able to go to lunch! is a superb opportunity for operators of all levels to access information, products and samples, and listen to industry professionals speak about their experiences. It is a must visit,” says Peter Dore-Smith, founder and director of Kaffeine.
“lunch! is definitely the essential trade show if you’re in food-to-go,” agrees Patrick Crease, product development manager – food to go at Sainsbury's.
Bigger & better every year
Of course, at lunch!, the ‘big names’ aren’t just reserved for the Keynote stages. With only ten stands left to sell, the central exhibition will feature a record 370 companies (up from 335 last year) – showcasing the latest innovations in food, drink, packaging, equipment and catering technology.
Among the confirmed exhibitors are leading brands like UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, Rombouts Coffee, Douwe Egberts, Union Hand Roasted & Traders Coffee, Cawston Press, URBAN eat, Bord Bia, Adelie Foods, Propercorn, Hippeas, Natural Balance Foods, The Handmade Cake Company, Raynor Foods, The Food Doctor, Country Choice, Rude Health, Kepak, Europastry, Magrini, Glen Dimplex, Melitta UK, and Biopac UK.
While the visitors themselves represent all the leading food-to-go operators and retailers across the UK – from the high street multiples to local independents.
In the week since online registration opened, hundreds of buyers have already added their names to the visitor list. Among them are key decision makers from Greggs, Pret, Subway, EAT, Crussh, Tortilla, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, SPAR, Welcome Break, Network Rail, Merlin Entertainments, Bourne Leisure, Searcys, Aramark, Sodexo, Compass Group, Brakes, Caterleisure Group, En Route International, Gate Retail, and many more.
“Britain loves food-to-go,” says group event director Chris Brazier. “As a nation, we made an estimated five billion food-to-go visits last year, and we’re likely to make even more in the years ahead. Our growing appetite for high quality, good value, food-to-go meals, drinks and snacks has created huge opportunities for food-to-go operators and retailers. And they’ll find plenty of inspiration, new ideas and world-class innovations at lunch! 2018.
“Everything that food-to-go operators need to run their businesses successfully is catered for. From their kitchen equipment to counter displays, from the food and drink they serve to how it’s packaged and how it’s paid for – it’s all here,” he says.
The industry’s favourite show
Annually attracting over 6,300 attendees, lunch! may need little introduction to the industry it serves. It’s frequently cited as the key annual event for discovering innovative new ideas and concepts. Since its launch in 2008, it’s enjoyed significant year-on-year growth in attendance (and floor space).
lunch! has also won an impressive three best trade show awards along the way. It’s hoping to secure its fourth in just a few weeks’ time, having recently been shortlisted for ‘Best UK Trade Show (2,000-8,000sqm)’ in the Association of Event Organisers’ Excellence Awards (it won the ‘under 2,000sqm’ category in both 2011 and 2012, and was also named Best Trade Show at the Exhibition News Awards in 2014).
For many repeat visitors, it’s already the best by far.
“lunch! 2017 was bigger and better. It continues to be the best trade show for the food-to-go sector with real innovation and passion at its core,” says Martin Hambleton, head of procurement at En Route International, and a regular judge of the show’s Innovation Challenge Awards.
“lunch! is a key date in the diary for the food-to-go and the coffee shop sector. It is great to see so much innovation from such passionate people under one roof,” says Hannah McKay, head of food & beverage at Caffè Nero.
“After visiting lunch! for ten years, I still find it the most inspiring event in our industry. It has become the must visit show for me every year,” says Adrian Liddiment, head of UK and international operations at Coffee Republic.
Free visitor registration now open
lunch! will return to ExCeL London on 20-21 September 2018. For further information and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit www.lunchshow.co.uk and quote priority code LU26 (direct link: http://www.eventdata.co.uk/Forms/Default.aspx?FormRef=Lun98Visitor&TrackingCode=LU26).