lunch! show announces big name seminar line-up


lunch! – the UK’s leading trade event for the out of home food and drink industry, has today unveiled its full Working lunch! Theatre line-up for 2012.  Running throughout the two day show over 20-21 September at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, this year’s sessions have been specifically chosen to enable lunch! attendees to maximise their business opportunities using the latest market trends, plus insights and information from high-profile brands and industry leaders.

lunch!’s free training and education programme is renowned for attracting ‘inspirational’ big names from the food to go retailing and contract catering industry.  This year is no exception – with Pret A Manger’s director of food Caroline Cromer, and street food champion, TV presenter and journalist Richard Johnson heading up the impressive list of Keynote speakers confirmed to appear in the Working lunch! Theatre (sponsored by Magrini).

“Talking at lunch! is a great opportunity to spark debate and conversation around some of the challenges we are all facing in the industry,” says Cromer about her opening day Keynote ‘Pret: Our 25 Year Vision’.

Launched in 1986 to provide “honest, natural food to the masses”, Pret A Manger has seen many changes in the out of home market in recent years.  Given that food on the move has never been more popular, Cromer says the growing trend amongst UK consumers to seek more sustainable, natural food and drink products, ensures that big name suppliers like Pret, who have championed their vision of producing handmade, natural food for over 25 years, have a wealth of retailing experience to share.

Richard Johnson meanwhile will be discussing another key trend currently transforming consumers’ expectations of eating out of home entirely – in ‘Street Food Revolution’, taking place on Friday 21 September.

“The success of street food is about a change in Britain’s food culture,” says Johnson, whose British Street Food Awards first burst onto the scene in 2010.  “We don’t want starter-main course-dessert any more. We want tapas, and tasting plates. We want supper clubs and pop-up restaurants. We want a bit of fun served up with our dinner. And cafes, delis – food businesses everywhere – would do well to understand that.”

Whilst the street food concept itself is nothing new, it is innovative vendors like lunch! 2012 exhibitor The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company (whose Cafe Môr won the 2011 British Street Food Best of the Best Award), that have really helped take it to the next level – as well as indoors.  Street food’s eye-catching menus, packed with tasty, often locally-sourced cuisine, thrives on differentiation and “sells on its freshness” says Johnson, who is keen to demonstrate how the flexibility, convenience, and affordability of this revolutionary trend can offer huge benefits to out of home food and drink retailers.

“Street food sells on its freshness. Whether it’s Dominic the barista at the Caffe Banba cart, grinding only the beans he needs (so that his coffee tastes alive rather than dead) or Rich at Hall’s Dorset Smokery actually smoking the fish in front of you, it’s all about immediacy. Add in a touch of theatre, with traders making churros dough or throwing their crepes in the air, and you’ve got a winning formula. Indoors or out, successful street food has got something to teach everybody,” enthuses Johnson.

Other notable session highlights include ‘Key findings from the 2012 Sodexo Lunch at Work report’ hosted by Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at Allegra, which includes significant insights from over 2,000 consumers on the importance of lunch to the health and well-being of adults at work; and ‘An Appetite for Insight’, which sees Horizon’s director of marketing and business development Emma Read using hard data combined with 25 years of experience within the foodservice industry to explain what emerging trends and growth opportunities within the lunch market means for manufacturers, distributors, operators and the industry as a whole.  Plus, there’s also lunch! appearances from Stefano Nicolai, founder of Spianata&co®, and Vincent Mckevitt, founder & ‘Top Tosser’ at Tossed, who’ll mark their show debut with a compelling look behind the scenes of their respective businesses in ‘Branching Out – Expanding Your Empire’, which will draw on their own experiences of going from being a single site operator to a successful branded multiple.

“Innovation in our industry is key.  At Spianata&co® we are constantly trying to come up with new ideas, recipes and products and in this sense lunch! is a fantastic catalyst, inspiring us every year,” comments Nicolai.

It’s not just the speakers at lunch! that promise to draw in the crowds however.  The popular British Smoothie Championships (sponsored by Magrini), taking place on Friday 21 September, and the Innovation Challenge Live! (on Thursday 20 September), are both back on the menu for 2012.  The Innovation Challenge Live! offers a unique opportunity for visiting buyers to see participating exhibitors ‘pitch’ their new product innovations and ideas live to an illustrious panel of industry judges.  Often the first port of call for buyers looking for the next big seller being launched onto the market, all new products entered into the awards will be on display in the Innovation Challenge Showcase throughout the event.

lunch!, will take place at the new venue of Business Design Centre, Islington, London, on 20-21 September 2012.  To view the full Working lunch! seminar programme and to register for a free trade pass, please visit www.lunchshow.co.uk (https://secure.smartregister.co.uk/events/divcom/2012/Lunch/start.aspx?code=LUN12PR) and use priority code LUN12PR where prompted.

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