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10 Reasons to visit the UK Food & Drink Shows 2024

Photo courtesy of show organisers.

The UK Food & Drink Shows return to the NEC, Birmingham from 29 April – 1 May, bringing together the very best of the grocery, specialist retail, wholesale, foodservice and hospitality sectors. Here are 10 good reasons why you should go along - especially if this is your line of work.

1. One free ticket, five jam-packed shows: The UK Food & Drink Shows comprise five individual events under one roof all of which can be accessed with just one visitor badge. Across Farm Shop & Deli Show, Food & Drink Expo, The Restaurant Show, National Convenience Show and The Forecourt Show.

2. Exhibitor Excellence: Over 1200 exhibitors are set to come together across the five shows, giving visitors an abundance of choice whilst also providing brands with the most up-to-date look at innovation in their respective sectors.

3. A bumper crop of awards: The widely recognised gold standard across the category, The Farm Shop & Deli Show Product and Retailers Awards return to the shows in 2024. Witness the latter reveal its winners live on stage on Monday 29 April. Britain’s Best Loaf competition will be back once more and will be announced on stage on Tuesday 30 April alongside a new event launched by British Baker, Britain’s Best Cake, which will be announced on The Grocer Stage on Monday 29 April. 

4. Meet your culinary heroes: In a new feature for 2024, The Restaurant Show is opening an exclusive area for book signings. Some of the biggest influencers, chefs and operators from across the industry will be giving away copies of their latest books as well as offering visitors meet and greet sessions along with a photo opportunity.

5. Business advice: Five stages – The Grocer Stage, Farm Shop & Deli Stage, Chefs’ Stage, Restaurant Stage, Convenience Store and Forecourt Trader Stage – present a standout programme of seminars with industry experts offering their takes on the most pressing issues and thought-provoking topics.

Over 1,200 exhibitors over 5 shows. Photo courtesy of show organisers.

6. Ask Questions: Whether it’s questions around sustainability, the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, the future of plant-based eating, improving diversity and inclusion, harnessing technology or trends for 2024 and beyond, sessions are designed to tackle the problems that the industry professionals continue to come up against, whilst also giving visitors an opportunity to ask their burning questions.

7. Favourites return and evolve:  Dragons’ Pantry is back after popular success last year, with a new batch of brave entrepreneurs facing big characters and big questions as they aim to secure a new listing. It’s joined by the all-new Retailers’ Den, a similar concept that drills down into the convenience landscape. See which brands make a splash and try the products for yourself on Tuesday 29 April and Wednesday 1 May at 2.15pm on The Convenience Store Stage.

8. Innovation at every turn: Whether you’re looking to expand your deli counter offering, get hold of a new energy drink range, find a financial solution, smarten up your forecourt storage set up or discover the latest back-of-house formats, hundreds of innovative products are set to grace the show floor at the NEC.

9. Specialist zones: After their inaugural success in 2023, two exclusive zones are set to return to Food & Drink Expo for 2024. Healthy & Natural zone will include a range of healthy, wellness and natural products encompassing free-from, vegetarian, low-calorie and organic items to name a few. And Plant-Based Zone will also be making a comeback with everyone’s favourite vegan and plant-based exhibitors showcasing the future of this ever-growing sector.

10. Industry heavyweights out in force: Five separate stages, set up across the different shows, include a panellist line up that reads like a who’s who of industry specialists. Just some of the names signed up to speak are:

Aktar Islam, Chef Patron, Opheem; Heather Mills, Founder of VBites; James Cosmo, Company Director/Actor, Annandale Distilleries – Storyman Whisky; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; Ian Taylor, Retail Director, SPAR UK; Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UKHospitality; Sam Akinluyi, UK&I Managing Director, Innocent Drinks.

Karen Betts OBE, CEO, Food & Drink Federation said: “There’s a great range of companies across the diversity of the industry. There’s a real sense of optimism here at the show, it’s a great event to be part of.”

Further details and to register for your free pass:


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