Irelandís Primary Food & Drink Exhibition

SHOPOrganisers of SHOP, Expo Events, have announced the attendance of the largest number of artisan producers ever at SHOP 2008. Ireland's primary food & drink exhibition, which takes place at RDS Simmonscourt - Monday, 29th Sept to Wednesday, 1st Oct 2008 -, will see an increase of 25% in the number of Irish produce companies exhibiting under the County & City Enterprise Boards (CEB) stand this year. This substantial increase of artisan exhibitors is an endorsement of the importance of SHOP as a showcase for producers as they meet, face to face with key decision makers and buyers. Last year the CEB section of SHOP attracted great attention and this year visitors will have an even greater array of CEB companies stands to view with 23 Enterprise Boards bringing a mix of 55 businesses alone.

CEO of Wicklow CEB, Sheelagh Daly, says:
"Last year our client companies saw tangible results from taking part at SHOP. It provides the ideal medium to support artisan food producers who gain vital access to trade contacts with key distributors and increase business opportunities.

With the much publicised downturn in the economy, consumers are spending less discretionary income when it comes to eating out. With the upsurge in excellent quality local food producers, Irish consumers have a diverse and, most importantly, traceable selection of products to choose from for home cooking."

The demand for products and services that are 'green' is increasing. Retailers are constantly looking for new quality Irish produced products to maintain customer loyalty. At SHOP there will be the largest display of these products available providing retailers with the ultimate choice of Irish produce for their selection.

Joint Managing Director of EXPO Events, Garret Buckley, says: "The success of SHOP to date has already indicated its popularity with both exhibitors and visitors alike, yet we are truly delighted with the added boost in CEB companies to this years show. This section is an integral part of our event and the increase in local business attending strongly reflects the economic situation and the shift in consumer demand for wholesome, quality home made produce."

In addition to the attendance of County & City Enterprise Boards, a number of other industry powerhouses have secured their spaces at SHOP, a testament to the value of the event to their business, including Horgans Delicatessen, Berryhill, PRM, Invest NI and Traditional Cheese Company.

A further endorsement of the calibre SHOP and a confirmation of its reputation as the primary event on the food & drink calendar, The Guild of Fine Food is again organising the Great Taste Gourmet Food Hall at SHOP this year. The Guild is the British association for speciality food retailers and producers who also publish Fine Food Digest for the retail trade and Artisan for producers. With 1300 members, they run training courses and two trade shows in the UK.

Having already announced the involvement of the World Cheese Awards and the Guild of Fine Foods this year, organisers are also highlighting the calibre of exhibitors already confirmed and highlighting the further endorsement of its visitors and exhibitors at last year's event by way of the results of the independent exit poll.

Over 88% of visitors in 2007 said they would certainly mark the date in their diaries this year with 78% of them holding direct purchasing power within their businesses. Exhibitors themselves shared a similar endorsement with 65% deeming the event to be a valuable tool in their business success.

Designed for those in the Retail, Food and Drink sector to develop new business, launch new products and network, SHOP (which sees the merger of two of Irelands most wellestablished trade shows IFEX and Forecourt), welcomed 4, 000 focused buyers and decision-makers last year including Multiples Buyers, Forecourt & Retail outlets, Independent Retailers, Convenience stores, Symbol Group Buyers, Supermarkets, Wholesalers and Delis.

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