A welcome return of confidence was the order of the day at Foodex 2010, held alongside seven other major food and drink industry events at the NEC, Birmingham (21-24 March 2010).
Both exhibitors and visitors reported an upturn in investment plans, which was reflected in the quality and quantity of enquiries, according to organisers William Reed Business Media.
"A record number of visitors attended Foodex and its co-located shows," said show manager Daren Rose-Neale. "The feedback from many exhibitors was that visitors came with much more positive intent than two years ago, when the recession was only just beginning."
A number of first time participants were particularly pleased with the results. Alan Ross, managing director, Saimo Technology, commented, "The exhibition worked well for us. There were a lot of people with serious projects, many of them new to us. And the enquiries came from all parts of the UK and Ireland."
This view was echoed by David Brennand, director of Globe Food Ingredients/Witwood Meat Ingredients, "This was an introduction for us to the UK food market. We have taken over 200 enquiries and the show has been a great success."
Older Foodex hands were also upbeat about the show. Tim Cooper, director, Specialist Interior Contracts, commented, "Sunday was a success with numbers of visitors back to those we used to enjoy. It was non-stop for us."
Another bonus was the number of crossover visitors from the co-located events. "Several of the exhibitors from Food & Drink Expo were looking to improve their production facilities and came looking for new ideas at Foodex," reported one exhibitor.
"The Best Meat Display competition, organised by Q Guild, attracted enormous interest and was very fiercely contested throughout the show," said Rose-Neale. "The Supreme Product Championship, hosted by the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, was as popular as ever and drew big crowds on the first day."
"Foodex put in a solid performance at what is only the beginning of an economic recovery. Some of the big industrial processors and packers for the major retailers are back in the market place for new technologies, goods and services. The signs of better times ahead were very much in evidence at the exhibition," concluded Rose-Neale.