This year’s National Convenience Show brought together cutting egde fledging brands, established companies and some of the headline movers and shakers in the sector today, transforming the NEC into a must-visit event for the three busy days it is live. Visitors learnt first hand about the latest technicological innovations to aid retailing, heard about trends that are set to impact the sector and met existing and new suppliers alike.


The shows enjoyed record visitor numbers, with the floor busling with companies big and small to some of the convenience sector’s most high profile buyers and those at the helm of the latest in-store tech developments. 

From 8-10 April 2019, the National Convenience Show will return to the NEC alongside Farm Shop & Deli Show, The Ingredients Show and The Forecourt Show. High profile exhibitors who are already confirmed to return include TLM Technologies, Nestle Professional, Vita Coco, Eat Natural and myHermes. 

Andrew Reed, managing director of events and exhibitions at William Reed, said: “‘The line-up and content from an exhibitor and visitor point of view demonstrates the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the UK food sector, despite the negative headline we’ve seen daily regarding Brexit. With improving attendance levels, we can see a vibrant future for the industry. William Reed is committed to the UK market and we look forward to many more years hosting the shows and providing business critical information.”

Andy Cope, head of sales at exhibitor Pulsin, said: “We chose the National Convenience Show because this channel is a big focus for us and the show is the ideal opportunity to help us to showcase our products and connect with the right people. We’ve done a lot of sampling to get ourselves out there and our conversion rates have been brilliant.”

Meanwhile David Manning, retail specialist at exhibitor Grenade, said: “We’ve chosen to exhibit at National Convenience Show because it’s the best show of its kind in the UK. We’ve done the show three years running and the quality of the people we speak to is always very high. It was extremely busy and we didn’t stop all day!”

Great New Idea

One of the highlights of this year’s shows was the Great New Idea competition, which invites exhibitors to put forward their best innovations. This year, over 25 products were entered and voted for by visitors to the show as well as other members of the industry before being shortlisted. This year, Snowshock Slush took the crown for Great New Idea for it’s new Frappino Iced Coffee dispenser which is ideal for convenience outlets looking to tap into consumer demand for great tasting, refreshingly cool iced coffee for a delicious caffeine hit. 

The Retailer Hub

Once again this year owners of convenience stores, forecourt traders, independent retailers, symbol groups, off licences and wholesalers descended on the NEC to see the hottest trends and product launches in their sector, as well as gaining insight into the latest technology and services. The Retailer Hub stage played host to a number of insightful talks providing meaningful insight on some of the most important industry issues right now. 

One such talk was from Black Gladman, research and insight director at HIM, who shared the findings from using sophisticated ClipCam technology to capture shoppers’ eye movements in-store. He shared fascinating data and insights on how retailers could use this to maximise interactions, creating displays that pay and making the most of merchandising. 

Food & Drink Expo, Farm Shop & Deli Show and National Convenience Show took place at the NEC alongside Foodex and for the first time this year welcomed The Ingredients Show into the selection of world class exhibitions. The combined weight of these five shows this year brought together 1,500 suppliers representing a huge array of companies and technologies within the UK’s food and drink industry. 

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