IFE 2022 reunites the F&B industry with its successful in-person edition!

30 Mar 2022

The 2022 edition of the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) marked the event's successful restart. It was held between 21.03.2022 and 23.03.2022 as a physical event at the ExCeL London. The venue featured the latest Covid-19 prevention measures to ensure attendee safety. The edition featured a comprehensive range of highlights as part of its programme. According to participants, the edition was quite successful. The edition received approximately 30,000 F&B specialists and over 1,500 exhibitors.

The hosting dates for IFE 2022 were set between March 21st and March 23rd. The event was held as a physical edition at ExCeL London in London, the UK. To protect the participating audience, the venue featured extensive coronavirus safety measures. They were implemented under the “All Secure Standard” risk assessment and prevention plan. The security plan included precautions such as a strict entry policy. It also included obligatory face masks, social distancing and hand sanitation. Attendees could receive access after presenting proof of not being a Covid-19 carrier. The documents included passports that verified a double vaccination. As an alternative, participants could present certificates that confirmed the presence of antibodies. Alternatively, attendees would use a negative lateral flow test no older than 48 hours.

During their participation, attendants had to wear face masks. They were encouraged to maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres at all times. Hand sanitisers were available in locations such as the exhibition halls and restrooms. Organisers recommended that participants perform hand sanitation as often as needed. For the task, they could use the provided stations. To avoid potential infections, the venue’s cleaning team performed sanitations. This included disinfecting all touchpoints using a chlorine-based cleaning product. They also documented a regular cleaning of the restrooms. There were also special waste management procedures in place. These ensured the safe disposal of testing materials and PPE.

ExCeL London also incorporated a modern ventilation system to maintain the air protocol. This allowed the venue to receive a constant fresh air supply. To avoid airborne infections, the system received regular cleaning and maintenance. This included frequent filter replacements.

The 2022 edition of IFE featured a diverse range of highlights. Among them was the opportunity for attendees to earn a free Spring Conference ticket. It also featured the opportunity to explore Australian F&B innovations. They also included the Frozen Food Week Competition held by the British Frozen Food Federation. Another highlight was the World Food Innovation Award and its winners. The Vegetarian Society was also one of the central pinnacles of IFE 2022. This is due to its presentation of trademark vegan and vegetarian products. “Meet the Buyer” likewise debuted as a highlight, as did the 30th anniversary of Dina Food. The restart of sub-events such as the Market Opportunities Forum likewise served as pinnacles. IFE 2022 furthermore took place alongside four other events. These were IFE Manufacturing, Pub, HRC, and the London Produce.

Among the most memorable details was the opportunity for attendees to earn a free Spring Conference ticket. For the task, they could take part in IFE 2022 and join IFST (The Institute of Food Science & Technology). This allowed food business owners and specialists to gain access to a valuable information source. Furthermore, it enabled them to access a sought-after professional and social network hub. They could also take part in sub-events that provide professional development opportunities. Among the essential sections of the Conference is the option to learn about new case studies. These present the newest cybersecurity, packaging, and sustainability innovations. The speaker line-up of the Spring Conference will include Paul Brown, Michelle Patel, Victoria Fuller, and Jon Alexander.

Another pinnacle was the opportunity for attendees to explore Australian innovations. Such novelties were available in the debuting 2022 Australian Pavilion. It was organised and managed by the Australia Trade and Investment Commission. It featured over 30 innovative Australian companies. This included:

  • Austral Fisheries
  • Brown Family Wine Group
  • Clean Seas Sustainable Seafood
  • Coopers Brewery
  • Hive + Wellness Australia
  • Midfield Group
  • Mighty Craft
  • Ponting Wines
  • Stone and Wood
  • Thomas Food International
  • Jack’s Creek
  • Yarra Valley Dairy

Among the products presented at the Pavilion were fruits, pale ale, and extra virgin olive oil. They also included Wagyu and Black Angus beef. Bakery snacks, confectionery, coffee, wine, dairy products, and seafood were also presented. The Frozen Food Week Competition was also one of the highlights featured in IFE 2022’s programme. The sub-event was hosted by the British Frozen Food Federation. It was held as a means to celebrate its return to in-person exhibitions. The competition enabled attendees to win a starring role for their product in the upcoming Frozen Food Week hosted by the Federation. For the task, they had to guess the number of peas in the freezer.

One of the central sub-events and highlights of IFE 2022 was the World Food Innovation Award. The award lauds the innovations that will aid the F&B industry in its development and adaptation. The winners received their awards during a special ceremony on the Future Food Stage. The ceremony took place on the first day of the event, 21.03.2022. The winners were presented by Jonathan McGowan, Antonia Garrett-Peel and Phillippa Christer. They also congratulated many highly commended entries. The winners and commended entries for each category were as follows:

  • Best Artisan Product
    • Cacao Barry - WholeFruit Chocolate Evocao
    • Cheebab - Cheebab The Original (Highly Commended)
  • Best Brand Marketing
    • Boxed Water Is Better - Boxed Water™
    • THIS™ - THIS™ Changes Everything (Highly Commended)
  • Best Brand/Brand Extension
    • Hunt and Brew - Single Origin Dairy milk through coffee company lens
  • Best Children's Product
    • Sprout Organic - Plant-Based Infant Formula
  • Best Convenience Innovation
    • Rice In Action - Self Heating rice meal
  • Best Convenience Packaging
    • TIPA Corp - Home Compostable Fully Transparent Laminate
  • Best CSR/Sustainability Initiative
  • Best drink concept, sponsored by EXBERRY
    • Good Rootz - SAPINCA
    • Liberation Cocktails - On-tap (Highly Commended)
  • Best food concept
    • Frostkrone Food - Ready to Eat
    • All is Good - Healthy, Nutritious Food processed using the Mildtech Technology (Highly Commended)
  • Best Foodservice Initiative
    • Quorn - (ChiQin)
    • Float Foods - OnlyEg Patties (Highly Commended)
  • Best Functional Product
    • Zeno Functional Foods - SOBAR
  • Best Health or Wellness Drink
    • Kabocha Milk Co. - Kabochamilk
  • Best Health or Wellness Food
    • Float Foods - OnlyEg White
    • I am Nutri - QUINOA MALT THICK DRINK (Highly Commended)
  • Best Healthy Snacking Innovation
    • Borna Foods Ltd - Fibre-packed vegan trail mixes
    • Daily Crunch - Sprouted Almonds (Highly Commended)
  • Best Indulgence Product
    • TSC Food Products GmbH - Baileys Dessert
    • ALDI - exclusive liveGfree Gluten-Free Holiday Donuts (Highly Commended)
  • Best Ingredient Innovation
    • Perfect Day - Animal-Free Milk Protein
  • Best Low-or-no Product
    • The Naked Collective - So.Beer
  • Best Natural Food or Organic Product
    • OCEANFRUIT - Sea Salads
    • Sozyë - Noya Sauce (Highly Commended)
  • Best New Business
    • Xampla
  • Best Packaging Design
    • Boxed Water Is Better® - Boxed Water™
  • Best Plant-based Beverage
    • Kabocha Milk Co. - Kabochamilk
  • Best Plant-based Food Product
    • The Plant-Based Seafood Co. - Mind Blown Dusted Scallops
  • Best Snacking Innovation
    • Frostkrone Food Group - Ready to Eat - Curry Mango Snacks
    • Superfoodio Limited - Peanut Butter Buttons (Highly Commended)
  • Best Special-edition Product
    • Brownes Dairy - Seriously Novelty Flavoured Milks
  • Best Technology Innovation
    • THIS - FAT 2.0™

The International Trade Centre’s showcase of F&B wares from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific also served as a highlight. It showcased a broad range of companies from the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Africa. This included enterprises that produce products such as chocolate, coffee, chilli, and cashew. Such companies act at the forefront of the shift towards sustainable production. The showcase included producers demonstrating how they address the global challenge of sustainability. For the task, they showed how they implement new production methods. The presented companies included enterprises such as:

  • Plant Powered
  • Plot Enterprise Ghana Limited
  • Caribbean Agro Producers Corporation
  • Temper Tantrum/One One Cacao
  • Corporacion Agricola La Loma
  • Layaki Bio
  • Benlar Foods
  • Gablin Foods
  • Niche Cocoa Industry Limited
  • Coldbush Organics
  • Foods'Co S.A.
  • Decokraft Limited
  • Sankhard
  • Soctracao
  • Sylvan Enterprises
  • Vincyfoods
  • Pure Chocolate
  • Definite Chocolate
  • Tijule
  • Caribbean Labs & Traders
  • Rizek
  • Abby’s Exotic Blends
  • Crazy About Organics
  • Mayendeleyo Cooperative Group
  • Eljap BV
  • Fire Mountain

The Vegetarian Society’s showcase of trademark vegan and vegetarian products was also a highlight. The presentation took place at Stand 3618 and included several sub-event. This included how companies can earn vegetarian and vegan product accreditation. It also presented products that already had such a trademark. Additionally, attendees could sample wares and take part in a raffle for a VSA goody bag. The event allowed the Society to network with potential business partners. It likewise enabled attendees to examine products that are both high-quality and innovative. Similar in nature was the novel exhibition zone, the Vegan & Plant-Based Section. It was held in partnership with the Society and showed novel vegan/plant-based products. Among the leading exhibitors of the new zone were Future Farm, Veg of Lund, Beyond Meat, and H!P Chocolate.

Attendants also looked forward to another highlight - ARAMARK’s hosting of “Meet the Buyer”. During the sub-event, wholesalers, food distributors, and producers could pitch their wares to a panel. The panel consisted of Aramark’s expert culinary, operators, director, and buyer teams. The successful participant could win a chance to sign a supply partnership with Aramark. The event is the third successful rendition of the format. The first two occurred in Ireland and Scotland. Among the example companies that have earned the grand prize is Le Patissier.

Dina Foods aided in creating one of the notable highlights of IFE 2022. The leading Mediterranean food supplier celebrated its 30th anniversary at the event! To honour the occasion, the supplier showcased a diverse range of authentic products. This included various types of bread, savouries, and confectionery. Among them was their premium layered Filo pastry, Baklawa, which is in high demand. The foods were available in food-safe individual packages. The company was represented at stand 3561 by Suheil Haddad, Warren Liffmann and Wilda Haddad. While presenting their novel wares, Dina Foods networked with potential customers. They also showcased their latest goals. This includes further strengthening and building its foundations. it also included achieving a zero-carbon footprint by 2030 and expanding its audience.

IFE 2022 marked the restart of several important sub-events. This included the Advice To Go Zone and two sub-events. The sub-events were the Market Opportunities Forum and the Certification Clinic. The Advice To Go Zone once again served as the dedicated location for attendees to gain valuable knowledge from industry experts. This included exporting, marketing, sustainable packaging, supply chain services, and labelling. Among the experts available in the area were associations such as City Harvest and BSI. The UK’s Food & Drink Exporters Association and Green Seed also attended the Zone. So did the Institute of Food Science and Technology. Brown Rudnick, an international law firm also attended the Zone. The Market Opportunities Forum was held during all three host days in the venue’s Gallery Rooms. It featured representatives of Green Seed Group. During the Forum, attendees could learn about available opportunities. They could also receive advice on the next steps to take to develop their business. Similar in intent was the Certification Clinic. It offered attendants an opportunity to meet in person with leading accreditation organisations. During the meetings, they could receive bespoke advice and learn about new policies. The advisors included professionals from BSI (British Standards Institution and BRCGS. They also featured representatives of Halal Certification Europe (HCE) and Rainforest Alliance.

IFE 2022 took place alongside four other events. The connecting link between them was the Seminar Programme. The four events that took place alongside IFE 2022 were:

  • IFE Manufacturing
  • Pub
  • HRC
  • London Produce

Each of the co-located events had its relation to the F&B industry. IFE Manufacturing, for instance, attracts product developers, packaging designers, ingredient buyers and manufacturers. Pub gathers attendees from the pub and hospitality industry including innovative suppliers. HRC is the lead event for hospitality innovators, suppliers and other specialists. This includes ones that specialise in food and drink, kitchen equipment, technology, design and decor. The London Produce is the leading trade fair for high volume buyers and sellers. Interconnecting the five events were sub-events such as the Seminar Programme. This allowed attendees to gain a fully comprehensive overview of the industry.

The IFE Seminar Programme included nine focus topics. These were:

  • Hospitality
  • Foodservice
  • Retail
  • Import/Export
  • Sustainability
  • New Product Development
  • Trends
  • Live demo
  • Packaging

It provided a detailed overview of all the tools participants need to grow their businesses. It featured over 70 influential speakers and took place for the duration of IFE 2022. The seminar programme was divided into several conference areas. One of the areas was the Future Food Stage. It served as the hosting location for lectures such as “the changes in consumer behaviours”. The Innovation Platform was also among the conference areas. It served as the hosting location for seminars that discussed topics such as “from the factory floor to the kitchen table”, “packaging trends that will define 2022 and beyond”, “What is the next step for sustainable packaging?”. The Vision Stage served as the presentation area for lectures such as “Pub industry staffing shortages”. The Tech X Stage likewise hosted various seminars. These ranged from “digital transformation in the hospitality sector” to “using smart scheduling”. The Staff Canteen Live Stage was the hosting location for a series of live demos. These featured leading chefs from around the world presenting various dishes and techniques. Among the experts to take part in the Live Demos were:

  • Tom Booton
  • Tony Parkin
  • Paul Foster
  • Jean Delport

The Better Hospitality Conference also connected IFE and the four coinciding trade fairs. It took place during IFE’s three hosting days. It featured workshops, lectures and sessions. Among them were sustainable sourcing, staffing solutions and achieving net-zero. Among the speakers of the Seminar Programme and the Better Hospitality Conference were:

  • Sally Abé - Consultant Chef, The Pem
  • Steven Alton - CEO, British Institute of Innkeeping
  • Mike Anstey - Pilot Lite Ventures, CEO Group and Co-founder
  • Susan Arkley - Freelance consultant and lecturer
  • Kieron Bailey - Co-Founder, EXP101
  • Parm Bains - Co-founder, SHICKEN
  • Adam Baisley - Chief Commercial Officer, Olleco
  • Charles Banks - Director and Co-Founder, thefoodpeople
  • Alon Baranowitz - Architect, Baranowitz + Kronenberg
  • Raf Baron - Feedback Coach
  • Adam Bateman - Culinary Director /Executive Chef, The Grand Hotel
  • Alison Battisby - Social Media Consultant, Avocado Social
  • Danny Bayliss - New technology research manager, Campden BRI
  • Nick Beardshaw - Head Chef, Kerridge's Bar and Grill
  • Louis Bedwell - Managing Director, Mission Ventures

IFE marked the successful return of the event to in-person editions. It received approximately 30,000 F&B specialists. This included more than 1,500 exhibitors. Participants expressed high satisfaction with their participation.