lunch! celebrates record-breaking attendance

The food-to-go trade showcase hosted nearly 7,000 attendees at last month’s London gathering

6,882 people – including major coffee shop and food-to-go operators and retailers – were out in force at lunch! last month. Attendance figures were up 9% on 2017, and 16% higher since the showcase’s move to London ExCeL.

Tesco, McDonald’s, Subway, Sainsbury’s, Greggs, M&S Food, KFC, Boots, Costa and Waitrose – the top 10 food-to-go brands in the UK, according to MCA – were there doing business, alongside numerous other buyers from schools, universities and other educational facilities looking to refresh their food-to-go offerings.

“It’s great to meet with new and old suppliers at lunch!”said Cathy Port, head of Category – Sweet and Impulse at Costa. “I visit every year and always get to see new and different innovations – it has a brilliant vibe at ExCeLtoo!”

The event also saw a record number of exhibitors rebooking onsite, to add to the record amount of stand space already reserved for next year.

lunch! 2018 was simply our best yet – we really couldn’t be happier,” said Chris Brazier, lunch!’s group event director. “There was a fantastic buzz across the show floor from the moment doors opened, and it was a very busy, valuable and productive two days for everyone involved.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all our exhibitors, visitors, speakers, associations, media partners and supporters. We look forward to seeing you all next year.”

Keynote highlights

Highlights at the two keynote theatres included interviews and panel debates, featuring chief executives and senior managers from itsu, Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger and many more besides.

lunch! is such an important industry event that combines new trends with great suppliers,” said speaker Shereen Ritchie, operations director at LEON.

Innovation Challenge Awards

The live Innovation Challenge final saw 14 exhibitors (chosen by popular visitor vote on opening day, from a record 99 product entries) pitch innovations to an expert panel of judges, including food-to-go buyers from Caffè Nero, KFC UK&I, Pret a Manger, EAT, Krispy Krème, Pod, Tortilla, Pure, The Gentlemen Baristas, Crussh, Small Batch Coffee Roasters and En Route International.

The Gold Award winners were Flower & White’s Raspberry Meringue Bar, the T300 juice dispenser from generationJuice, KALEIDO’s Kaleidoscope Salad Rolls, Pocket Enterprises’s pokito pop up cup, and Sandows’ Citrus Cold Brew Soda.

lunch! will return to London ExCeL next year on 19-20 September. For further information, please visit

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