IFEX adds ‘meat' to its menu for 2018
THE north's largest food, hospitality and retail event IFEX plans to double in size for 2018 with the addition of a sister event called MeaT@IFEX.
Jointly run by IFEX organisers Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence Ireland, it will play host to the World Butchers' Challenge – the first time the world-class competition has come to Northern Ireland.
IFEX 2016 enjoyed a 24 per cent increase in visitor numbers and IFEX 2018 is laying down the foundations to make next year's show even bigger.
Returning to the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast from March 20-22, the biennial event, which is among the longest running trade events in Europe and was named the UK's Best Tradeshow Exhibition of 2016, will almost double in size.
Event director Toby Wand said: “We've set the bar high for IFEX 2018 by further investing in the show. As the trade event that really galvanises all of those in the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors, it's important for us to keep evolving and growing the show
“We have partnered with Butchery Excellence Ireland to add an international dimension to IFEX with the addition of a sister show Meat@IFEX – and the arrival of the World Butchers' Challenge.
"To deliver these innovations, Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence Ireland are investing more than £150,000 into IFEX 2018, which includes adding a new pavilion dedicated to Meat@IFEX, growing the show floor plan to over 8,000 sq. metres.”
As part of the World Butchers' Challenge, 12 international teams will travel to Northern Ireland to compete, with a delegation of approximately 1,000 international visitors expected.
From showcasing the latest food and drink trends to industry leading technology, IFEX will house all the ingredients that have made the show a success for many years. Confirmed show attractions include the Salon Culinaire – the home of the NI Chef of the Year - and a host of other live competitions including La Parade des Chefs for Northern Ireland's culinary colleges.
In 2016, over 120 companies exhibited at the show with visitor numbers surpassing 6,500.
Rhonda Montgomery, founder of Butchery Excellence Ireland, said: “Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers' Challenge are expected to increase IFEX visitor footfall significantly, and we'll be working hard in the months ahead to bring both Irish and international businesses from the meat and poultry sectors to Belfast.
“We've already received tremendous support from some of Northern Ireland and Ireland's largest food-service and meat businesses and we're hoping that Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers' Challenge will not only be a great success, but will leave a lasting legacy for our meat and butchery industries in Northern Ireland.”