Innovation takes centre stage at lunch! 2017

Over 6,200 visitors are expected at this year’s lunch! show.

This week’s lunch! show is set to highlight the most innovative products taking the food-to-go market by storm.

Visitors heading to ExCeL London on 21-22 September will see a record number of entries for the show’s Innovation Challenge awards.

The awards, which recognise the best products and solutions launched in the food-to-go sector over the last twelve months, will see 69 new innovations vying for a place in the show’s Innovation Challenge live final. To get there, they have to win over the visitors and get their votes.

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Voting opens at the lunch! Innovation Challenge Gallery from 10am on Thursday 21 September and will run until 4pm. The exhibitors to have secured the most votes will then be invited to ‘pitch’ their new innovations to an expert panel of judges (and an audience full of visiting buyers) the following day. Pitches start at 11.15am in Keynote Theatre 1, with the results to be announced just a few hours later at 2.15pm, on Friday 22 September.

In amongst the food, drink and packaging entries, there are some catering equipment contenders too. These include rexmartins’ RMB Fresh Air Heat Pump.

The supplier feels this is a unique product in that it requires no external condensing unit. This should enable the unit to be easily installed and eliminate the hassle of extensive planning permission, which would be needed for an external condensing unit. The only requirement is a 13A electrical supply and a small space for the exhaust flexible line to sit, which will enable the extraction of heat load.

Another contender is the Pelican Rouge-supplied Schaerer Barista coffee machine. This hybrid combines the principles of a portafilter machine and barista skills, with claimed easy operation and the reliability of a fully automatic coffee machine. Quality-related parameters like grind level, dosing and tamping are calibrated on installation.

“lunch is still the best at showcasing and bringing innovation to our industry. Even after 10 years it continues to be the only place to visit, especially at its new home in ExCeL London. I never miss it,” says Martin Hambleton, head of procurement at En Route International, and a regular judge of the show’s Innovation Challenge Awards.

Other returning judges include Louise Direito, head of innovation at Krispy Crème (formerly global senior food and beverage innovation manager at Costa Coffee); Angelina Harrisson, food and commercial director at Tossed; Sandy Anderson, senior buyer at Elior; and Neville Moon, owner of The NPD Kitchen (and a former head of food and beverage at Caffè Nero).

They’ll be joined by new names for 2017 – taking the total number of judges up to 12 (from five last year). Among them are Hannah Hughes, a freelance innovation and development specialist who has worked with Harris + Hoole and SSP; Paul Ettinger, business development director at Caffè Nero; Jane Treasure, an independent NPD consultant who has held senior roles at McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee; Alan Tomlins, MD of the Small Batch Coffee Roasters; Henry Ayers, founder and director at The Gentlemen Baristas; chef and restaurant consultant Jay Morjaria; and Guy Meakin, head of buying at Pret A Manger (and a former senior buyer at M&S).

Over 6,200 industry buyers are expected to attend lunch! over 2 days. This year there will be a record 335 exhibitors showcasing everything from food and drink to packaging, technology and equipment, as the show’s new home, ExCeL in London’s Docklands, has increased stand space by 23%.




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