The annual National Convenience Show and Farm Shop and Deli Show have just taken place at the NEC in Birmingham. Around 600 food and drink brands across a huge variety of different categories were there in all their glory, trying to capture the attention of what was a record attendance of retailers and operators this year. As you’d expect from a leading integrated agency that specialises in all things food and drink, we were there taking in everything that these great shows have to offer.
As the leading foodservice agency we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments in the eating out market. To that end we always make sure we attend the MCA forum debriefs to get the latest market insight. This week we joined the great and the good of the world of operators and manufacturers to hear the latest news on market dynamics, menu trends and consumer demand in the eating out market. As ever there was a huge amount of great information, but here are our top ten take outs…
Food is an incredibly important part of Easter traditions for families up and down the country and as a nation we spend millions of pounds on food at Easter every year. This is something that hasn’t escaped the attention of the supermarkets and out of home operators who continue to pull out all the stops to cash in. It’s a real battleground. Whether it’s hot cross buns for Good Friday, Easter eggs for gifting, a pub lunch, an evening meal out, or the traditional Lamb and trimmings to cook at home for the family – our nation’s appetite for food continues to grow.
The food industry has just been served with a healthy spoonful of bitter sweet sugar guidance from Public Health England. The new voluntary guidelines will limit the amount of sugar found in products across nine food groups. If you work in food and think this doesn’t apply to you then think again. It’s going to impact on all corners of our industry, from retailers to manufacturers, QSR’s to coffee shops. The word is, if food companies don’t follow the advice, then it could signal full-on regulation in the future and you know what that means…. sugar tax! Yes, just like we’re about to see introduced on soft drinks. So, it’s time to take action on sugar.
The annual Arena Savoy Lecture is the jewel in the crown of the Arena foodservice networking calendar, with the great and the good of the industry in attendance. This year the line-up included the traditional key note speech, as well as a panel debate on the hot topic of Brexit, entitled Challenges and Opportunities. With representatives from finance – Bob Silk from Barclays Hospitality and Leisure team, law – Sebastian Calnan from EMW Law and crucially operator side – Jason Myers of Busaba Eathai, chaired by Vernon Hunte of the BHA, there was a good balance of viewpoints to inform the discussion. Each voiced their informed views on Brexit and what is certainly a hugely complex and challenging process.