Innovation at IFEX


As the industry prepares for Northern Ireland’s premier food service trade expo, Neighbourhood Retailer catches up with IFEX’s salon culinaire director Sean Owens to find out all the insider details.

One of the most eagerly anticipated food service events of the year, IFEX will return to the Titanic Exhibition Centre, March 20-22, 2018. Delighted to be a sponsor for this prestigious event, Neighbourhood Retailer is anticipating three days of industry excellence.

As March 2018 draws ever closer, Sean Owens, salon culinaire director, IFEX tells Neighbourhood Retailer that both exhibitor numbers and visitor pre-show registration figures are incredibly strong indicating that demand for IFEX is high.

“You can already feel the buzz in the atmosphere as the anticipation mounts and March draws even closer,” said Sean.

This year 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 annual World Butchers’ Challenge Skills competition.

Alongside this prestigious challenge IFEX has also launched a packed Salon Culinaire schedule which will host hundreds of industry professionals and student chefs.

Sean said: “Salon Culinaire supported by the Department of Economy is hotly anticipated as THE place where the ‘best of’ Northern Ireland culinaries are formally acknowledged.”

Category competitions include the prestigious IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year which is supported by Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and Junior Chef of the Year. Stirring up the show, the Great Northern Ireland Bake Off will return to IFEX, sponsored by Andrew Ingredients, offering a platform for budding bakers in the crowd.

IFEX is Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail, and hospitality event, and as a biennial event, this is the only chance within the next two years for retailers to meet with customers, source innovative products and network with thousands of industry colleagues all under one roof.

Returning for 2018, IFEX has once again partnered with The Guild of Fine Food to introduce the Great Taste Market to the show, showcasing the finest in speciality foods from a variety of local Great Taste winners.

“It’s the ideal platform for local businesses to discover a range of artisan producers that could be of real benefit to the business moving forward,” said Sean. “The 2018 event is set to become a ‘one stop shop’ for discovering and tasting some of the best food and drink products that Northern Ireland has to offer. Can you afford to miss out?”

IFEX 2018 is taking place from 20-22 March at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. Running alongside Mear@IFEX, the show is set to be the industry event of the year. The show opens daily at 10am and runs until 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to 4pm on Thursday. If you would like to attend, simply register for your ticket at

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