Blog: Dean BestIFE 2011 opens in London

Dean Best | 13 March 2011

The biennial food-industry exhibition IFE opened in London today (13 March) and on a key day in the sporting calendar - including England vs Scotland in the rugby - a scrum of visitors were at the Excel centre in the Docklands to see the latest new products developed by manufacturers from the UK and beyond.

Opening a trade show on a Sunday often divides opinion - supermarket buyers are unlikely to want to visit an exhibition on Sunday, one supplier told just-food - but there was an increasing flow of visitors to IFE as the day progressed.

There was particular interest in the section of the show devoted to UK suppliers, with the likes of pie maker Higgidy and crisp manufacturer Tyrrells showcasing new products. Tyrrells, for instance, is set to launch a popcorn range in October.

Among the UK exhibitors were Aurora Food Marketing, which is set to launch a range of sausages using the name of Fred Elliott, a character from UK soap Coronation Street.

Aurora Food Marketing owner Steve Allen said Elliott's Prime Porkers would be sold through Nisa stores later this month but explained the company was targeting listings with the likes of Asda and Morrisons.

The UK sausage sector is seeing an increasing number of brands hit supermarket shelves.

However, Allen said he believed using the name of Fred Elliott would resonate with shoppers, particularly older consumers - "Fred is a typical pitching butcher, which you don't get on the High Street anymore" - and revealed that the company planned to take the brand into more categories.

"The ambition of the brand is to get into four categories - pork, bacon, sausages and chicken," Allen said.

Like many suppliers here at IFE, the rest of the week will be crucial, with the UK's key buyers set to head to Excel from tomorrow.



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