_dsc0623It is a challenging time for the UK’s retail industry: the economy has faltered, and consequently consumer spending has decreased to an all-time low. It is little wonder there is an air of unease in the food world. So, now is the time when everyone from the big four supermarkets to independent corner shops need to focus on innovation in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.

However, it is crucial that businesses aren’t too cautious when it comes to investing their time and money – decisions on spend should not be made on the initial financial outlay, but on the return on investment they can deliver.

Good exhibitions provide a time and cost effective investment and this year’s IFE09 offers an unrivalled opportunity to source new and innovative products from 1,200 suppliers from around the world. It has never been more important to provide customers with a wide range of good value, innovative products to give them the choice and assistance to survive the economic downturn. No other show in the UK delivers as many national and international buyers to the UK, many of whom will be new contacts for exhibitors. With so many opportunities at the show, the real question businesses need to ask themselves is not ‘can we afford the time to attend IFE09?’, but rather ‘can we afford not to?’

Innovation For Everyone

The organisers behind the UK’s largest and most respected food trade event are committed to ensuring this year’s event will be a true showcase of serious, unrivalled ground-breaking innovation. Take a look for yourself, when the doors open on 15 – 18 March 2009 at ExCeL in London.

But how do they plan to deliver it? What exactly will make IFE09 any different from any other food and drink trade show or indeed any of the past IFE events? Of course, these are obvious questions and will be the words on the lips of every prospective visitor and exhibitor as they make that all-important investment decision. Not content with the show’s reputation for trend analysis, thought leadership, networking and practical demonstrations, the team has come up with a plan that has already attracted a whole host of the UK’s leading food and drink industry players to ‘put their hands in their pockets’, and is set to entice even more in as the show draws closer.

The event’s primary visitor attraction, Innovation Live – in association with Mintel – underscores the whole raison d’etre of IFE09, showcasing the world’s most ground-breaking yet practical and most importantly, previously unseen products. Mintel’s Global new Product Database Team will source the products from across the globe rather than from exhibiting companies, providing a genuine slice of the world’s most innovative products and a unique feature not seen at any other event.

Visitors will enjoy an interactive experience where they won’t just be able to see the inspirational products, they will be able to touch and taste them too. Tastings of ambient, chilled and prepared products will take place throughout the show accompanied by supporting information and insight delivered by Mintel’s consultants. Visitors will be able to have a one-to-one with a consultant to really get to grips with the products on display and identify new products with full supporting information in order to gain inspiration for changes, which can be implemented in their business immediately. Most importantly, delegates will leave Innovation Live with practical information to assist in sourcing cutting-edge products that can provide new business and growth opportunities.

New and innovative products under one roof

The products showcased by exhibitors at IFE09 are completely independent of those selected by the Mintel team but of course, that does not make them any less innovative. A large number of companies have already signed up promising new product launches.

Foodservice Focus

IFE’s foodservice side accounts for nearly one third of the show and should not be underestimated by anyone serious about sourcing new products for a foodservice business. In 2007, the event attracted some of the world’s most senior foodservice representatives from the likes of Avenance, Brakes, Compass, as well as hotel and restaurant visitors from Marriott International, Novotel and Gordon Ramsay Holdings all looking to source products and do business. This year, visitors from this sector of the food industry will be treated to a brand new feature created specifically for them.

The perfect package

This year, however, it’s not just the retail and foodservice audience that will benefit from visiting IFE. For the second year in a row, IFE will be joined by food and drink processing and packaging show Pro2Pac, which will take place in an adjacent hall at ExCeL. Organised for the first time by Reed Exhibitions the event will build on the inaugural 2007 show, highlighting the latest ideas, equipment, light machinery, systems, technology, services and materials relevant to the food and drink industry, especially brand owners and manufacturers. The co-location of the two events aims to deliver a unique 360-degree perspective of the food and drink industry.

IFE09 is set to attract over 1,200 food and drink suppliers including approximately 600 from outside the UK, all bringing a host of the worlds most innovative and new products. By attracting the right mix of visitors and exhibitors, the event looks set to continue its reign as the leading UK food and drink trade show for many years to come. Whether you work in retail, foodservice, wholesale and distribution or manufacturing IFE is the largest event of its kind in the UK and as such shouldn’t be missed.

To register for FREE entry, visit www.ife.co.uk.

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