If you love to learn about the latest trends going on in the food industry, then Food Matters Live is the place to be every November. The only question you need to think about is whether you want to be a visitor or an exhibitor…
Food Matters Live is absolutely one of my favourite shows of the year and I purposely block out my diary for three whole days to attend as many seminars as I can. The free access you get to such a wide range of experts is incredible and shouldn’t be wasted!
I’ve visited the show for several years now and was thrilled to be one of the speakers in 2017. My seminar concentrated on the free-from sector and how they could access free and low-cost PR for their small businesses. It was almost a full house and I was thrilled to find a couple of journalists from the Metro cheering me on in the audience, too!
Food Matters Live Exhibitors
This isn’t your usual food show as the visitors are a mixed crowd of students, retail buyers, manufacturers, industry professionals working in health, nutrition and foodservice, as well as the average Joe with an interest in health and wellness. As visitors can only sample your food rather than buy it, I think it’s really important to decide what success looks like to you before deciding to invest. If it’s something you want to look into for the future, check out the 2018 Food Matters Live Brochure.
There are 800 food and drink exhibitors split into different zones:
- Healthy snacking
- Free from
- Drink well
- Sports nutrition
Food Matters Live Seminars
300 speakers experts from the food, drink, nutrition and health sectors gather together over the three days to share their latest research, knowledge and debate the issues affecting us all. The 2018 seminar agenda will cover topics including:
- Retail trends in health and wellbeing
- Nutrition for health and wellbeing
- Future of free-from
- Tackling obesity
- Sustainable food futures
- Packaging: healthier by design
- Marketing matters
I spend most of the three days each year scribbling away at these seminars, so here are a few of my highlights from previous years:
Panel – ‘Changing dietary behaviours through design’ brought together a range of experts to discuss whether the set up of our local communities and workplaces are influencing our health behaviours. Would simple changes such as adding fruit and vegetables to the first aisle of a supermarket or as the first choice in a canteen encourage us to eat more? Could cycling and walking override the need to drive everywhere if our communities are better connected to local shops, parks and green spaces? It seemed from what we know from studies about human behaviour that small changes like this could, in fact, have a huge impact long-term on the quality of our lives.
Prof. Brian Wansink – ‘Slim by Design: profitable solutions to make consumers healthier’
I was already a fan of Brian after hearing him interviewed on the Scott Baptie Food for Fitness podcast, and boy does he know his stuff! Having studied people for years, he revealed that we are much less taste sensitive than we think, yet are highly influenced by the expectations we carry before eating something, which can influence our judgement much more positively or negatively than we realise. I’ve already got his book Slim by Design on my reading list.
Dr Anna Sward – ‘Reconceptualising protein powder: from a niche product to mainstream ingredient’
Anna has been a long standing hero of mine and ticks all of my awesome female entrepreneur / girl boss / I-want-to-be-her-when-I-grow-up boxes since discovering her a few years ago. She’s extremely intelligent, knowledgeable and is never afraid to challenge mainstream thinking or explode popular myths. This is well represented in her articles that explain why women don’t have to buy ‘pink’ protein powder and whether protein powders ‘work’
She’s taken a niche product into the mainstream by:
* Creating protein powders that only contain quality, natural ingredients (not the usual fillers and additives)
* Concentrating on it tasting fantastic
* Sharing hundreds of protein recipes that actually work – she’s had all of the kitchen disasters on our behalf!
Her Protein Pow workshops are brilliant fun because you create the tastiest protein treats on the planet, and then get to eat them all on the way home! Check out proteinpow.com for hundreds of tasty recipes, brilliant doodles and lots of very sensible advice! (And yes, I was thrilled to get a photo taken with her!)
Liz Tucker – ‘Ensuring consumer credibility in marketing healthier options’
Although this could have been a really dry discussion – Liz’s job is all about adhering to those boring-but-necessary legal rules and regulations – she offered real insight into what health claims brands can actually make to entice increasingly health-conscious consumers to buy their products. Find out more about her services at SelectFood.co.uk to see how she can help you make the most of your brand.
Julianne Ponan – ‘Case study: innovating the world of free-from home baking’
Julianne is another influential woman in the food business and has awards coming out of her ears for her fabulous brand Creative Nature, as well as her own entrepreneurial skills.
She talked about how ‘Free From’ products are changing the world; millions of people are eating these products and they are split into two main segments – those who need them and those who choose them as lifestyle choice. Julianne is an influential mentor for other new start-ups and you can follow her on Twitter.
Food Matters Live 2018 Attractions
There are also extra visitor attractions amongst the exhibitors including:
- Future Futures Live
- Innovative Ingredients Live
- Internation Innovations: Catering for Health and Wellbeing
- Awards Showcase
- Nutraceutical Showcase
Food Matters Live – The Verdict
As you can see, every day is jam-packed with things to see and do, so I’d really recommend booking a free ticket for at least one day this year as a visitor. You can learn so much about current and future trends which is so important in our ever-changing food industry.
Happily, as a small business foodie, you have the edge on the big boys and can spring into action much quicker than them as times change. Just make sure you know what’s coming. 😉