Foodex, the UK show for the packaging, processing, ingredients and logistics industry, played host to thousands of visitors last week, who travelled the country to gain insight into the latest trends and products.

Around 350 exhibitors took stands at the event with big names including Reiser, Brook Food Processing Equipment, Efaflex and Mono Equipment among those exhibiting. Such was the success of the 2016 show, almost 50 percent of floor space has already been rebooked for the 2018 edition of the event. Around 120 customers have committed, including Reiser, Multivac, Bizerba, Unifiller and Ulma Packaging.

Ken Mossford, Managing Director of Reiser, said: “The show was good – we met a lot of existing customers, which is always of benefit, as well as plenty of potential new customers. We are pleased with the quality and volume of leads we have to follow up on.”

The show hosted several competitions spread across the three days with the winner of the Great New Idea being announced from a shortlist of three finalists on the final day. An antibacterial Bag for Life from Addmaster (UK) Ltd was awarded the Best New Idea accolade. The Biomaster Bag for Life is treated with technology proven to prevent the growth of most common types of bacteria.

Sandrine Garnier, Sales Director at Addmaster (UK), received the award from Foodex Event Director Dan Dixon and Nigel Barden, journalist and broadcaster.

Speaking at the ceremony, Garnier said: “It is fantastic recognition for our product and really great timing as a major UK retailer is due to launch this product from the end of April/beginning of May. It is our first big customer but other companies are lined up for it as well. It started in the UK but will soon be international with one company due to introduce it in South Africa. It is so great to win - we didn't expect it at all!”

Recognised at the event alongside the Biomaster Bag for Life from Addmaster (UK) Ltd, exhibitors MCA process and ITS Europe Ltd were announced as runners up. MCA process was acknowledged for its Automatic Hamburger Assembly Line and ITS Europe for its eXact iDip app, which harnesses the power of smart devices and the simplicity of design to handle the heavy lifting of complex water testing.

Meanwhile, Craig Finch of Craig Finch Butchers in Harborne, Birmingham, won the Supreme Champion accolade at this year’s National Meat Products Competition. Run by the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and held at this year’s Foodex show at the NEC in Birmingham, the event attracted 382 products from 48 butchers, farm shops and delis. The event was sponsored by 12 companies including W R Wrights & Sons, CCS and
Windsor Food Machinery.

James Henshaw was also crowned a winner, this time in the Premier Young Butcher Competition, which saw talented up and coming butchers competing for the coveted title.

As well as the events, competitions and hundreds of exhibitors on hand, there was an action-packed programme of events on hand. Across four co-located shows – Food & Drink Expo, Farm Shop & Deli Show and National Convenience Show, there were more than 250 speakers across more than 100 sessions.

Highlights at Foodex included a Future Skills Summit, which focused on one of the biggest, ongoing issues facing the industry - the skills gap. A number of leading experts including Jon Poole, CEO of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), and representatives from the National Skills Academy took their place on the panel of experts. The panel addressed the challenges facing the industry and what can be done to encourage fresh talent to climb the ranks.

Another session that drew the crowds was ‘Food and drink fraud: protecting your supply chains’. Andy Morling, Head of Food Crime Unit at the Food Standards Agency; and Professor Tony Hines, Director of Global Regulatory Services and Crisis Management at Leatherhead Food Research, were among those on the panel that discussed the challenges that still lie ahead in this area.

A further session drew attention to the pitfalls and potential of global trading. A panel of experts including Jean-Pierre Ganier, Head of Exports at AHDB; Mark Heywood, Partner at Dinglet Dell Pork; and Stephen Spice, Head of Department Regulatory Affairs at Campden BRI, looked at the opportunities and pitfalls for meat exporters coming up in the next financial year and how the trade can accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

A host of new products were on display at the show, from J & N Food Equipment’s ABM F2000/3000 Burger Machine, that uses a drum-type former to gently shape portions with minimum pressure for precision portion control of hamburgers, meatballs, fishcakes, butter, cheese and cookies, to Automatic Weigh Labellers, introduced by Inspiron Labelling Solutions. The machines range from a simple entry level Weigh Price Labeller up to a Fully Automatic Weigh Price Labelling Robot with Multiple Printers and control.

Mary Boyd, Packaging Development Manager for Bakkavor, said of her visit: “It was a really interesting experience and I managed to gain lots of valuable information as well as seeing everyone that I wanted to. The show is easy to navigate and everyone there was really helpful.”
Anam Saleen, Health and Safety, Kashmir Crown Bakeries, also attended and said: “I regularly come to the show and once again it was a great experience. There are a variety of different companies at Foodex and I was able to be introduced to a lot of new brands and see everyone on my list. Everyone was very welcoming and helpful and I enjoyed seeing my clients.”
Dan Dixon, Event Director, said: “Foodex 2016 was another resounding success, offering those in the processing, packaging, ingredients and logistics industries insight and exposure to companies old and new. The rebook rate of 50% two years out from the next edition shows how valuable the attendees, both visiting and exhibiting, find the event to be, and we crowned several worthy competition winners.”

The next Foodex will take place from 16-18 April 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham.

-Ends-

Winners of National Meat Products Competition winners:
Traditional Pork Sausage: Michael F Kennedy Ye Olde Pork Sausage
Pork Speciality Sausage: Craig Finch Pork & Leek Sausage
Pork Pie: Allan Bennett Picnic Pork Pie
Meat Speciality Sausage: Michael F Kennedy Moroccan Lamb
Meat in Pastry: Robin Maycock Chicken & Ham Vol-au-Vent
Speciality Hot Eating Pie: Katie Thompkinson Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
Speciality Cold Eating Pie: Richard Taylor Pork w/ Stilton Pie
Meat Pasty: Robin Maycock Beef Pasty
Sausage Roll: Kieran Meehan Pork Sausage Roll
Charcuterie: David Lishman English Chorizo
Beef Burger: Philip Cripps Beef Burger
Meat Speciality Burger: Paul Clarke Steak & Cheese Burger
Black Pudding: Andrew Holt Festive Black Pudding
White Pudding: Mark Harrison Irish White Pudding
Streaky Bacon: Martin Wilkinson Home-cured Streaky Bacon
Back Bacon: Philip Cripps Cherry-smoked Back Bacon
Bacon Joint: Seamus Hegarty Garden Herb Bacon Joint
Ready Meal: Stephen Robertson Lamb Beaujolais Ready Meal
Scotch Egg: Robin Maycock Scotch Egg
Supreme Sausage & Supreme Champion: Craig Finch Pork & Leek Sausage

For more information call 020 7240 2444 or email wrbm@stormcom.co.uk.