lunch! goes ExCeL for 2017

After a 23% increase in stand space, the 10th anniversary edition of the UK’s favourite food-to-go show will be its biggest yet

Frequently cited as a ‘must-attend’ for discovering innovative new ideas and concepts, lunch! may need little introduction to the sector it serves (over 6,200 buyers attended in 2016).

The show’s pivotal focus on promoting new innovations is key to its continuing success. Everything that food-to-go caterers need to run their businesses successfully is here – from their kitchen equipment to counter displays, from the food and drink they serve to how it’s packaged and paid for. Since its launch in 2008, lunch! and its eclectic mix of exhibitors have been influencing ‘on-the-go’ menus across the UK (and beyond). 

Now, for 2017, lunch! has already confirmed a record 335 exhibiting companies (it sold out over two months in advance) and exclusive keynote interviews with Roger Whiteside, CEO of bakery and food-to-go giant Greggs, Andrew Walker, chief executive of EAT, celebrity chef Theo Randall (hosted by The British Sandwich Association), and Paul Ettinger, business development director at Caffé Nero. 

The line-up will also include senior representatives from Tesco Hospitality, Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons, and Harris & Hoole giving insights into their operational strategies. Plus, as in previous years, there will be essential food-to-go market updates from MCA, The NPD Group, CGA Peach and IGD.

10th anniversary edition

2017 is not just a milestone year for lunch! but also the industry it serves. Food-to-go has never been more popular – and its market never bigger. It was recently valued (by MCA) at a hugely competitive £20.2bn (across all day parts). To put that in some context, in 2009 (just after the launch of lunch!) it was worth £14.9bn.

lunch! has certainly reflected that growth, while remaining faithful to its boutique marketplace beginnings. Its eclectic exhibitor list (and 2017 is no exception) is renowned for its inspiring balance of promoting emerging start-ups and niche, speciality producers alongside some of the industry’s best-known suppliers.

lunch!’s new venue will accommodate more innovative exhibitors than ever, an extended Start-up Zone featuring some of the industry’s newest suppliers, two Keynote theatres, and boast wider aisles to enable easier navigation around the busy show floor. Sandy Anderson, senior buyer – food at Elior, has attended the show since its launch at Old Billingsgate and is a big fan of its diverse range of cutting-edge exhibitors: “lunch! goes from strength to strength, with more and more innovative start-up and established companies displaying their fantastic products. It’s the ideal exhibition for buyers and developers to find new and exciting products to enhance their offers. I wouldn’t miss it!”

“lunch! brings together key contacts in the industry, provides a springboard for innovation, and shares learnings from inspirational speakers. It is a must-attend event in our calendar year,” agrees Jennie Brownlow, product & brand manager at Durham University Catering.

Catering and procurement managers from the universities of Birmingham, Essex, Cambridge, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Winchester, Hertfordshire, and Surrey, Oxford Brookes (Compass Group), Heriot-Watt University, University for the Creative Arts, Royal Holloway University of London, Imperial College London, and Goodenough College, among others, are just some of the names already pre-registered to visit. 

A taste of what’s to come

“Food-to-go is a critical driver of growth in the total Eating Out of Home market, as the UK demands more convenient food solutions. However, consumers are increasingly demanding better quality, more interesting and wider choices, and will not accept cheap and boring,” says regular lunch speaker Simon Stenning, executive director at MCA.

lunch!’s Innovation Challenge Gallery is always a good starting point to see a raft of new, “interesting and wider choices”. Designed to promote the best food-to-go innovations over the last 12 months – it will showcase a record 70 entries for 2017.  

To register for a free ticket to lunch! 2017, please visit and quote priority code LUN49. 

lunch! 2017
10am to 5pm
(last entry 4pm)

21–22 September

ExCeL London

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