IT’S just been announced that IFEX – Northern Ireland’s largest foodservice trade expo – is expected to host an additional 500 international delegates from across 12 countries as the event welcomes the World Butchers’ Challenge to the show in March 2018.
The addition of co-located event Meat@IFEX has doubled the show size, and it’s the Meat@IFEX pavilion that will be home to the World Butchers’ Challenge skills event from March 20 until 22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast.
Butchers from across Ireland will compete as ‘Team Ireland’, and they will be pitted against teams from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Spain, South Africa, Germany, Greece, Italy, USA and reigning champions, France. Each team will travel with a delegation, many of whom are embarking upon a five-day international study tour of Ireland, in which they will visit multi-generational and award-winning butchers in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
It’s expected that the addition of Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge will deliver a significant rise in visitors to the show – which saw a 22 per cent rise in numbers at the last IFEX in 2016 – and around 500 of those will be international. Collectively the shows are set to be home to over 7,000 foodservice, retail, hospitality and butchery professionals over the three days.
Joining with World Butchers’ Challenge at IFEX will be Salon Culinaire – home to the Northern Ireland Chef of the Year. Salon Culinaire at IFEX has a long and rich history of rewarding some of NI’s most-respected chefs early in their careers, and it will see almost 250 young chefs and culinary students compete in a range of categories.
Predicting a strong event in 2018, IFEX event manager, Caroline McCusker from Fresh Montgomery said that the foundations were already in place for an even bigger show this year:
“As ‘the’ trade event that really galvanises all of those in the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors, it is important for us to keep evolving and growing the show,” she added. “We have partnered with NI company, Butchery Excellence International, to add a global dimension to IFEX with the addition of a co-located show – Meat@IFEX – and the arrival of the World Butchers’ Challenge. To deliver these innovations, Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence International have invested over £150,000 into IFEX 2018, which includes the addition of the dedicated space for Meat@IFEX.”
IFEX 2018 will also partner with The Guild of Fine Food – organisers of the prestigious Great Taste Awards – to bring together the best of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s speciality food and drink products under one roof.
Around 200 exhibitors are expected to showcase their goods and services at IFEX over the three days, including some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in foodservice such as Stephen’s Catering Equipment, Flogas, Henderson Foodservice, Lynas Foodservice and Hugh Jordan.
IFEX and Meat@IFEX are taking place between March 20 and 22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, which is situated opposite Titanic Studios. To attend, register for your free trade pass at ifexexhibition.co.uk
Our picture above shows Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager; Sean Owens, IFEX chef director and the deputy lord mayor, councillor Sonia Copeland