The UK’s premier trade event for food and drink manufacturing, processing and packaging and logistics, Foodex, returns this March (30th-1st April, NEC Birmingham) with a remit of providing 2020’s most comprehensive deep dive into the trends, products, challenges and opportunities that will set the agenda for the coming year.

It’s no exaggeration to say that manufacturing is on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution, centred on technology, automation and sustainability. As the UK’s premier trade event for food and drink manufacturing, processing, packaging and logistics, Foodex will be the place to learn more about ‘industry 4.0’ and meet the innovators – speakers and exhibitors – helping make sense of it all.

Foodex Centre Stage will welcome lively debate and interactive masterclasses featuring leading speakers from across the industry.

Highlights confirmed so far include: a keynote panel debate on centring on green thinking, efficiency and the environment, asking if the industry’s eco-friendly drive is really enough; a debate on the future of meat in light of the rise in plant-based food innovation; a focus on packaging as both a solution and problem; a fascinating look at upgrading the workforce through technology, debating if people power will be surplus to requirements within the next decade as well as key focuses on auditing and health and safety.

The Foodex Competition Theatre is set to host one of the biggest dates in the butchery calendar – Premier Young Butcher 2020, as well as introducing a brand-new awards scheme.

Premier Young Butcher 2020 takes place on Tuesday the 31st March and is recognised as one of the most demanding UK butchery craft skills competitions on the circuit. Open to 18-28-year-old young butchers from across the UK, the five-hour competition with six categories including Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue, Kitchen Ready and Display, has in the past proven to be a useful step toward talented butchers going on to compete at WorldSkills UK Butchery and the World Butcher Challenge. The closing date for applications is Friday 1st February 2020, application forms can be requested by emailing: roger@nationalcraftbutchers.co.uk.

Held for the very first time, the Craft Butcher Awards in association with National Craft Butchers (NCB) are set to showcase the skills of the 21st century craft butcher in product development and innovation. Covering Barbecue, Charcuterie, Kitchen Ready, Meat in Pastry, Ready to Heat and Sausage categories, competitors will have the opportunity to demonstrate traditional skills in manufacturing as well as originality and innovation competing for Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Also taking place on the Foodex competition theatre, the search for Britain’s Best Loaf culminates in a live judging session, followed by a glittering awards presentation. Already a key date in the baking industry calendar, the impartial stamp of excellence takes in categories including Gluten Free, Innovation, White and Wholegrain with two categories for Sourdough – Traditional and Commercial (sourdough produced by the addition of cultivated yeast and/or the addition of a commercial sourdough product) reflecting its now stratospheric popularity with British consumers.

For more information on Foodex or to pre-register for a free badge, go to www.foodex.co.uk