With the all-day-dining and on-the-go eating trends showing no sign of abating, the ever popular annual Lunch! Exhibition couldn’t be more on-trend. So little wonder the aisles were packed with trade visitors looking to check-out the latest trends and products. The Business Design Centre was packed with exhibitors, plus two keynote theatres, a start-up zone and innovation challenge area so there was lots to see and taste. Of course as the leading foodservice marketing and PR agency we were there to check out the show, support our clients who were exhibiting and meet up with friends and contacts.

But before I could head off around the exhibition I popped into the Café Society’s judging of the Great British Brunch Challenge and Café Sandwich Challenge. With guest judge Theo Randall, who was there signing his new Italian cook book (one Christmas present down about a hundred to go!), the finalists gathered for the moment of truth as the judges tucked in to their dishes. They then had the anxious wait until the evening and the prestigious Café Life Awards to find out if they had won or not. The standard was exceptional and us lucky audience members were treated to samples of the dishes – my favourite being the sour dough baguette with raclette cheese, rocket, prosciutto and, wait for it, crisps! Delicious!

Then it was time to hit the show and visit some of our clients’ stands including Coolicious Fat-Free Frozen Yogurt, who were shaking up a storm on a stand with a range of tasty smoothies made with their fab fat -free frozen yogurt (we had to try at least two in the name of research!). At the other end of the heat scale it was on to see the gang at The Real Soup Company and The Real Deli Company who were cooking up a storm with their wonderful fresh soups and dips (we lost count of the number of samples we tried, but it has to be said that their Sri Lankan Chicken certainly hit the spot). As for what’s ‘hot’ at Lunch! – there was a huge array of bagged snacks and bars, ranging from half popped corn to protein rich bars, as well as birch water, cucumber gin, raw millionaire’s shortbread, square pies and much, much more! With journalists to host, samples to nibble and contacts to catch-up with, the two days of Lunch! is always a busy but highly enjoyable one for the Beans. Next stop The Great Hospitality Show!

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