Record number of new product innovations on show at lunch!

Innovation Challenge Awards contenders & full judging panel announced for 2018

Thousands of food-to-gooperators and retailers from across the UK will be in London next week, over 20-21 September – as lunch! returns to ExCeLto showcase the best new products, solutions, insights, and innovations of the year.

The UK’s biggest food-to-go trade event, featuring an unprecedented 370 exhibiting companies, lunch! has also now confirmed a record number of entries for its prestigious annual Innovation Challenge Awards.

Nearly 100 manufacturers and suppliers will be fielding new products/entries for 2018 – many of which will be launching at the show.  (That’s a 44% increase in new food, drink, foodservice equipment and tech innovations this year, up from 69 entries in 2017.)  They’ll be looking to win over visiting buyers to secure their votes – and places – in the show’s lively Innovation Challenge final.

In addition to speaking at this year’s show, Ms Morrell is also set to make her debut on the Innovation Challenge’s illustrious judging panel.  Other new judges include: Jack Hinchcliffe, innovation director for KFC UK&I; Ed Parkes, founder & director of The Gentlemen Baristas; Martyn Clover, head of food at Tortilla; Frank Boltman, founder & director of Trade; Shane Kavanagh, CEO of Crussh; and Arnaud Kaziewicz, director of food & beverage at EAT.

They join seven returning judges – Sandy Anderson (Elior), Louise Direito (Krispy Krème), Paul Ettinger (Caffè Nero), Martin Hambleton (En Route International), Guy Meakin (Pret A Manger), chef/restaurant consultant Jay Morjaria (who recently appeared on the BBC’s Million Pound Menu, where his innovative East Asian restaurant concept ‘Dynasty’ landed an investment offer of £500,000), and Alan Tomlins (Small Batch Coffee Roasters) – who together will decide which products will come away with a coveted gold, silver or bronze innovation award.

“lunch! is a must for anyone involved in the food-to-go industry.  Every year, there are more exhibitors showing new innovative products in a great atmosphere of passion and fun,” says founding judge Sandy Anderson, senior buyer – fresh & frozen food at Elior.

Voting opens for visitors at the lunch! Innovation Challenge Gallery from 10am on Thursday 20 September and will run until 4pm. The exhibitors who have secured the most votes will then be invited to ‘pitch’ their new innovations to the judges (and an audience full of top buyers) the following day.  Pitches start at 11.15am in Keynote Theatre 2, with the results to be announced just a few hours later at 4.15pm, on Friday 21 September.

For further information about the products up for Innovation Challenge Awards, the 2018 online Show Guide is now available to view online at www.lunchshow.co.uk/show-guide-2018.