After we launched our social media accounts a few weeks ago, it was clear that there was a huge hype surrounding the approaching Foodex2016 Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. It was impossible to navigate the online world of food technology social media without seeing the recurrent #Foodex. On Twitter, there seemed to be a growing community of Foodex attendees, each sharing stand numbers and product information ahead of the exhibition. The Ace Group (Engineering) Ltd was due to shadow one of our key suppliers ‘Gardner Denver’ at the event, and I was keen to see what all the hype was about.

It’s all happening in Hall 20…

The NEC Birmingham is the UK’s first choice venue for both trade and consumer exhibitions. It plays host to hundreds of events each year covering the whole spectrum, from industry specific trade shows to comic conventions. Attracting no less than 2.1 Million visitors a year, it is the place to be for any individual or company wishing to showcase their products, service or brand.

Arriving at The NEC, I found myself amongst a lanyard laden crowd, eagerly awaiting the opening of the exhibition. Hall 20 was the lucky recipient of some 1200 suppliers across Foodex and its co-located shows and was swiftly filled with enthusiastic visitors from all aspects of the Food and Drink industry. First stop for The Ace Group was K270, The Gardner Denver stand. The American air technology heavy weight had a selection of products on display including Compair compressors, nitrogen generators and flow meters, all open to reveal the technology inside. The stand gained instant interest from visitors and other exhibitors eager to learn more about the products on display.

All done by compressed air…

Wandering round the exhibition, the variety of technology on show was vast. Many stands were running demonstrations of their product’s capabilities and were consequently gathering captivated crowds. I was immediately intrigued by a machine that, via six nozzles, was producing perfectly uniform discs of food at an unbelievable rate. In application the machine is used for filling pies, icing cakes, and numerous other industrial scale food manufacturing processes, all with measured precision. Equipment like this is powered by food grade compressed air in order for the food product or filling to be propelled into its recipient vessel or pie crust. Unsurprisingly, I was fascinated.

Foodex is an ideal opportunity for companies and individuals to network, not only because of the immense number of food technology stands but also because Foodex shares the venue with the Farm Shop Deli Show and the Food and Drink Expo. There seemed to be a good deal of intermingling between the exhibitions. Many of the food and beverage producers were looking for packaging solutions or manufacturing systems, thus the shows complimented each other perfectly.

It was fantastic to soak up the lively atmosphere at Foodex, witness some fascinating machinery at work, make some new contacts and to see growing companies leading the way in their respective fields. Foodex 2016 certainly lived up to the hype. The bar has been set. See you next year!