International Food and Drink Exhibition

The word 'innovation' has come under fire in recent years. Within new product development circles, it has become a synonym for anything that is vaguely new-to-market. Changing that perception and challenging the way the industry thinks about innovation is a bridge that marketers must cross on a daily basis. With a truly groundbreaking approach to the industry's most over-used noun, the next installment of the UK's largest and most respected food and drink trade event is promising to deliver serious global innovation in every conceivable format when it opens its doors on 15 18 March 2009 at ExCeL in London.

"No venue will ever have housed so many of the world's most genuinely innovative food and drink products, " commented Paul MacDonald, Event Director of IFE09. "We have really gone back to square one with the meaning of innovation and are being ruthless when it comes to meeting the criteria. With this as the theme for the show, it is essential for any company looking to develop and have a future in today's ultra-competitive industry to get involved."

Decision makers from retail giants including Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Harvey Nichols attended along with foodservice representatives from the likes of Pret a Manger, Carluccios, Pizza Express, Claridges, Hilton Hotels, Marriott International and Novotel, all looking to source products and do business with over 1500 manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. Of those that visited, 14 per cent came from outside the UK, highlighting the event's increasing international appeal and revealing an ever-growing opportunity for exhibitors to widen their customer base overseas.

Innovation Live in association with Mintel underscores the whole raison d'etre for IFE09. Occupying 500m2, the event's star attraction will showcase a selection of the world's most innovative products, as sourced by Mintel's Global New Product Development team. Visitors will be able to enjoy a uniquely interactive experience where they can see, touch and taste innovation as well as being given advice on how best to source cutting-edge products.

For the foodservice visitors, the brand new Skillery, run in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs, will be a live cookery demonstration area incorporating the latest in flavour trends, menu design and innovative cooking styles. To give visitors a seriously 'up-close-and-personal' insight into the latest developments in the foodservice sector, the attraction will be split into three smaller sessions, running concurrently for the duration of the show. These will be themed in-line with the most up-to-the-minute trends driving business in the foodservice sector and are likely to cover health, sustainability and provenance to name a few.

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