Which will be the most important food industry trade shows, Post Corona?

While the Corona Virus has clearly shown that no-one in the marketing industry has a crystal ball, the limited physical contact it caused, the changing shopping habits and the need to share war stories from decimated industry sectors is safely predicted to make attending the next round of food industry trade shows more important than ever.

This concise insight article aims to provide guidance to cautious food and drink brands nervous of a losing their valuable listings – or more optimistically, to inspire ambitious brands who are focussed to achieve new growth, within this new emerging retail landscape.






After being re-scheduled from early April to July and now Sept, this popular event will be the first big test of a large scale food industry trade show, post corona (PC). As such, it will set an important benchmark for both the ability and appetite for attending busy indoor trade events after social distancing has been repeatedly drummed into us all.

Given the near catastrophic dire-straits that the entire food service and coffee shop industry is in following its ongoing enforced closure, the shear commercial necessity will be an incredibly stronger driver to get their industry back on track ASAP, making this event number five of the top five trade shows to consider, PC.



4. FOOD MATTERS LIVE (29-30 June 2021)

Could healthy living be any more important than in the PC landscape? This pioneer hybrid event split between conference and exhibition is ideally positioned to further grow its already established authority within the health and nutrition sectors.

The expanded need for retailers of all types to stock a much wider range of clean-living health food brands reflective of the ever increasing audience of ‘woke’ shoppers who are keen to maintain a healthy diet. This event is a huge opportunity for these brands to win new listings while older outdated brands get de-listed and make way for the new wave of consumer demand.


3. THE LUNCH SHOW (22-24 Sept 2021)

While the Corona Virus showed that working from home can work in many situations, all parents of young children who are currently still ‘home-schooling’, will know just how vital external offices are to creating a productive, commercial working environment!

With so many city centres being decimated with food service operators boarded up and high street convenience retailers at stand still, their rapid renewal will be a pivotal driver for supporting and feeding the countless thousands of city centre business that fuel the UK’s core economy. Every square inch of their shelf space needs to work harder for them than before, making them open to new innovations that help them achieve this shared economic growth.




The UK’s biggest scale food and drink trade show happens every two years at what is currently the UK’s largest emergency field hospital: AKA London’s Excel. This behemoth sized event is safely scheduled far enough beyond the reach of Corona Virus to be one of the safest options for its mass scale audience reach that it reliably pulls in.

Following the global pandemic, it’s not just the UK that has been affected. IFE’s international audience attracts buyers, brand owners and distributors from all continents, so is ideally positioned for being the catalyst event for achieving your brand’s global growth goals as all countries work to repair and re-build their retail industries.



1. NATIONAL CONVENIENCE SHOW, NCS 2021 (12-14 April 2021)

With most of the major supermarket chains struggling to cope with empty shelves, panic buying and over-crowding, the smaller scale convenience retailers have seen a huge uptick in sales that has been sustained for the following months as shoppers turned to localised trips during lock down.

This year, all three retail focussed events come together under one roof: NCS for independent and convenience retailers, Food & Drink Expo for a broader mix of wholesale, food service and retail, and The Farm Shop & Deli Show for food service, speciality and fine foods.

Following its reschedule from March 2020, it has now moved to April 2021 in what will make for a very busy and productive period immediately following IFE.



While life and retail is still undeniably different to what we have ever seen before, it will be the brands who have the courage to plan and prepare that will make the fastest growth when the restrictions are lifted.

With virtually no physical contact since March, these food industry trade shows will be vital at rebuilding personal relationships, telling war stories, presenting innovations, attaining new listings – and winning the battle for whatever the new ‘normal’ landscape of retailing looks like.





To make sure you have an effective exhibition strategy that can deliver new listings and engage new contacts, check out the ‘Top Tips’ for how to make your event area work:




For the past 23 years, Joel Kaufman has been the managing director and founder of multi-award winning experiential marketing agency Link Communication, which specialises in creating effective brand experiences that deliver measurable sales results.


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