Every year there are a multitude of food and drink events taking place around the UK. Whether it’s the latest new kitchen equipment that excites you or seeing your favourite celebrity Chef in action, there’s sure to be something for you on this year’s food show calendar.
In general there are two types of food and drink events. As an aspiring Chef you can visit one of the huge industry-led food trade expos at the big arenas like Olympia, ExCel or the NEC. Recent years have also seen an increasing popularity in regional food festivals, often in the summer these are a more relaxing, family-friendly choice.
Whichever kind of food event you choose to go to, trade or festival, you will have plenty of opportunity to learn about new foods and produce, to see the latest equipment and tools or pick up new ideas and techniques from watching countless cooking demos.
Here we have provided a round-up of the various food and drink events happening around the UK in 2020. So read on and get them on your calendar. *Due to COVID-19 most events are likely to be virtual, postponed or cancelled.*
Trade Industry Food Expos
Trade shows in the catering and hospitality industry are a place where you can discover the latest trends and innovations within the food service sector. These trade expos are a great learning experience to help you get ahead in the catering industry.
Exhibitors will come from a wide range of sectors connected to the food industry. You can source new products by meeting with food, drink and ingredient suppliers. Many may be local independents, showcasing new and exciting products that you’ll have the chance to see and sample. Catering equipment manufacturers and Chef tool suppliers will have all their newest gadgets and gismos to impress you and each year there is an increasing number of exhibitors showing the latest technology and how it can be used in the food service industry.
At a trade food show another educational opportunity is to go to the presentations and seminars. These are usually led by high profile speakers who are leaders and influencers in the food industry.
One of the biggest draws for anyone visiting a food and drink show is the live kitchen demonstrations. Some shows may offer masterclasses or workshops so you can learn direct from the experts. If you visit a food expo you will have an amazing opportunity to see some of the UK’s most talented Chefs at work.
A lot of the food and drink trade events on the UK calendar take place at the big event centres in London, Birmingham and Glasgow but there are also some regional shows which we’ve included in the list below.
Plant Powered Expo, 1st & 2nd February, Olympia, London
There is a big upsurge in vegan diets at the moment so this expo is the place to see and sample the latest plant-based products on the market. Learn about vegan diets and see plant-based cooking in action.
Pub20, 4th & 5th February, Olympia, London
A show dedicated to the UK pub industry, everyone and everything pub related will be here. Over 200 suppliers and many insightful talks to attend, this is the place to learn about the latest food, drink and technology trends.
Hotels, Restaurants, Catering (HRC), 3rd – 5th March, ExCeL, London
Previously called ‘Hotelympia’, HRC combines four shows: The Professional Kitchen Show, The Food Service Show, Hospitality Tech Show and Interiors & Tabletop Show. At this event you can meet with a wide range of suppliers and see new products for the hospitality and foodservice industries. You can also see the talents of some amazing Chefs taking part in the International Salon Culinaire competition.
Casual Dining Show, 25th & 26th March, ExCeL, London
Aimed at restaurants, pubs, hotels and contract caterers, there will be exhibitors from the food, drink, equipment and technology sectors and you’ll have the opportunity to attend talks from some world-class keynote speakers.
Natural & Organic Products Europe, 19th & 20th April, ExCeL, London
Another growing trend is for natural, sustainable and organic products. This show covers it all from food to beauty products. Keep ahead of the game, learn from the expert seminars, watch live cooking demos and see the newest food and drink products in this sector.
Imbibe Live - Drinks Festival, 29th & 30th June, Olympia, London
This one is for anyone in the drink industry. Learn and be inspired about the latest trends and new products. See the exhibitors latest products, go to a talk or sign up for a masterclass.
The Allergy & Free From Show London, 3rd – 5th July, Olympia, London
This show is not only for those in the cooking trade but will also provide valuable information for any Chef wanting to learn more about what it means to have allergies and how to source and cook with free-from products. Meet suppliers and get inspiration for meals at the cooking demos.
Speciality & Fine Food Fair, 6th – 8th September, Olympia, London
This food show focuses on bespoke, artisan food and drink. There will be lots of interesting talks on a range of topics as well as workshops, demos and masterclasses with leading Chefs. There will also be a wide range of exhibitors showcasing new and innovative foods and drinks.
Food Entrepreneur Show, 8th & 9th September, ExCeL, London
Six shows in one event: Street Food Live, IDE The International Drink Expo, Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo, Restaurant & Bar Tech Live, Restaurant & Bar Design Show, Coffee Shop Innovation Expo. Each show has something different to offer but all will give you the opportunity to see new products, meet suppliers, go to a seminar and watch lots of demos.
The Restaurant Show, 28th – 30th September, Olympia.
If you work in hospitality, this show is a good one for connecting with others in the industry and to discover new products and suppliers. You will have the opportunity to taste new products and you can learn from top industry names as you watch professional Chefs compete in the Competition Theatre.
Caffe Culture, 2nd & 3rd November, Business Design Centre, London.
For everything related to cafes and coffee bars, this event brings together suppliers and experts to exhibit products and give talks and workshops.
Food & Drink Expo, 30th March & 1st April, NEC Birmingham
The Food & Drink Expo combines with four other shows, The Ingredients Show, Foodex, National Convenience Show and the Farm Shop & Deli Show. Expected to have 1500 exhibitors, 250 speakers and 100 live events, this has to be one of the biggest food industry events on the calendar and one not to miss.
BBC Good Food Show Summer, 18th – 21st June, NEC Birmingham.
An entertaining, fun, food show that the whole family can go to. See celebrity Chefs and experts on the BBC Good Food Stage and try out samples of foods and ingredients from the many artisan and big brand exhibitors.
Leisure F&B Expo, 11th & 12th November, NEC Birmingham
This expo is aimed at anyone in the sport, leisure food and beverage industry. Meet local, regional and national suppliers, visit trade stands, go to a seminar or watch a live demo.
BBC Good Food Show Winter, 26th – 29th November, NEC Birmingham
More family friendly BBC Good Food, this time with a festive flare.
As with the London show in July, this is not only for those in the food trade but will be a good source of knowledge for Chefs as more and more people are turning to free-from meals.
Northern Ireland’s food and hospitality industry showcase for the latest food and drink products, catering equipment and technology.
Exeter and Expowest Cornwall, 3rd – 5th March, Wadebridge
If you’re in the South West these are two opportunities to visit a local trade show to see innovative new ideas and exhibits from local and national food producers.
Fine Food Show North, 8th & 9th March, Harrogate
A showcase for fine food and drink producers from across the UK. See and taste the products and watch demos from experienced local Chefs.
Northern Restaurant and Bar, 17th & 18th March, Manchester
Now in it’s 20th year, this show has lots of exhibitors from the food, drink, equipment and technology sectors. An opportunity to see what’s new as well as lots of cooking demonstrations, masterclasses to attend and wine, beer and cider tasting.
The Source Trade Roadshow, 18th June, Bristol
If you can’t make it to the Exeter show in March, the Source Tradeshow also has a roadshow in Bristol in June.
The Free From Show Liverpool, 7th & 8th November
Another opportunity to visit the Free From Show if you couldn’t make it to London or Glasgow.
Beyond the trade industry food and drink shows there is now a growing trend for food festivals, which are popping up around the country, especially through the summer months. Food festivals are public events that are often combined with live music and entertainment suitable for all ages so you can take the whole family. You can sample new foods from street food vendors and find fresh produce and new ingredients from local independent suppliers. Most food festivals will also have cooking demos from celebrity Chefs or top local Chefs so you can pick up some great cooking tips and advice, there may even be the chance to sign up for a workshop or masterclass.
Check out this list for some of the food festivals already on the calendar for 2020:
Eat & Drink Festival, 27th March – 13th April, Olympia, London
Foodies Festival,from 8th May to 31st August. 8 locations from Brighton to Edinburgh.
Chef in the Park, from 15th May to 13th September in various locations including Marlow, Warwick and Tunbridge Wells.
Winsor Summer Food Home and Craft Fair, 6th & 7th June, Winsor
Eat & Drink Festival Glasgow, 11th – 14th June, Glasgow
London Taste Festivals, 17th – 21st June, Regents Park, London
The Big Feastival, 28th – 30th August, The Cotswolds
Food Rocks, 5th & 6th September, Lyme Regis
Abergavenny Food Festival, 19th & 20th September, Abergavenny
Festival of Food & Drink, 19th & 20th September, Nottinghamshire
Cambridge Food Craft & Produce Fair, 19th & 20th September, Cambridge
Eat & Drink Festival Christmas, 25th – 29th November, Olympia, London
If you are a Chef looking for somewhere to research a shiny new set of knives or source exciting new ingredients then visiting a food and drink show is a great way to educate yourself. You can learn tips from the pros and see experienced Chefs in action and if you want to find out more about the latest advances in technology at work in the kitchen then a trade show is the place to go.