lunch! celebrated its 10th anniversary last month with its biggest ever edition, enjoying a record turnout for another successive year.
Over 6,300 food-to-go operators, retailers and caterers headed to London’s ExCeL on 21-22 September, to see and sample innovations from 335 exhibitors. This was the first time the show was held at the east London venue, having outgrown its original home in the Business Design Centre in Islington.
The 7% increase in total attendance included a 17% rise in the number of buyers with over £5m of purchasing power at the show.
Among them were key decision makers from well-known brands including Aramark, BaxterStorey, Bidfood, Booker, BP, Brakes, Caffѐ Nero, Center Parcs, Coffee Republic, Compass Group, Co-op, Costa, EasyJet, Eat, Elior, Gate Gourmet, Greggs, Harrods, Holland & Barrett, itsu, Leon, Lidl, M&S, McDonald’s, Merlin Entertainments, Morrisons, National Trust, Nisa, Ocado, P&O Ferries, Pod, Pret, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo, SPAR, SSP, Starbucks, Subway, Tesco, Virgin Trains, Waitrose, and WHSmith.
The visitor list also included over 1,800 independent cafés, coffee houses, sandwich shops, bakeries and delis, who travelled from across the UK and Ireland.
One attendee was independent consultant Hannah Hughes, who has worked with Harris + Hoole and SSP. She commented: “lunch! certainly celebrated its 10th birthday in style, it was the biggest and best yet! So many amazing exhibitors, exciting product innovations and passionate people, it’s definitely a must in the diary.”
Victoria Green, buying manager at Waitrose, said: “lunch! 2017 was the best yet. It’s a really valuable opportunity for our buying, technical and development teams to catch up with existing suppliers but also to check out up and coming brands and products.”
While Adrian Liddiment, head of UK and international operations at Coffee Republic added: “After visiting lunch! for 10 years, I still find it the most inspiring event in our industry. It has become the must visit show for me every year.”
It is thanks to this industry support, says the organiser, that lunch! 2017 was a record-breaker in many respects. From its record headline attendance figures, to a record number of exhibitors (66%) rebooking onsite, to the record amount of stand space already reserved for 2018.
“We’re delighted to have just had our biggest, busiest and best lunch! yet,” said group event director Chris Brazier.
“The comments we’ve received about the incredible atmosphere at our new venue have been overwhelmingly positive – there was such a fantastic ‘buzz’ across the show floor throughout the 2 days. We’d like to say a big thank you to all the exhibitors, visitors and partners that supported us this year, and over the last 10 years. Here’s to an even bigger and better lunch! in 2018, and the next 10 years!”
Exhibitors signed up to return to the show next year include UCC Coffee UK & Ireland and Magrini. lunch! will return to ExCeL London on 20-21 September 2018.