Europe’s first dedicated plant-based trade event, Plant Based World Expo, celebrated the best of the industry when it opened its doors at London’s Business Design Centre last week.
The show welcomed 2,063 attendees from across the foodservice, retail, distribution, and investment sectors, including senior decision-makers from the likes of Tesco, Deliveroo, and Ocado.
The industry came together to highlight the advancements being made within the plant-based space, with attendees discussing how plant-based diets can answer questions about public health and sustainability.
Experts from brands including Nestlé, Tesco, Sodexo, and Quorn, also took to the stage to offer the latest thinking on how plant-based foods can be integrated into the mainstream.
Emma Keller, head of sustainability at Nestlé UK, joined the ‘growing the entire category of plant-based’ panel. She said: “Our current food system is broken and it’s degrading the planet. With 70 percent of human diets coming from just five animal species and 12 crop types, it’s clear that we need to focus on diversity and regenerative agriculture. We’re at an amazing tipping point where consumers are seeing the health and sustainability benefits of plant-based foods and want to make a change. Although there is no silver bullet to fix these crises, plant-based products play a key role, and we want to grow the category as a whole to make them mainstream.”
The Culinary Theatre gave visitors the chance to sample the foods on display on the show floor cooked by professional chefs to demonstrate how to incorporate plant-based foods into meals. 11 live sessions took place throughout the show and the line-up included Meatless Farm, OGGs, and OmniFoods, hosted by BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Nigel Barden.
The event also hosted the first World Plant-Based Taste Awards, which focused solely on the taste of a product and gave established brands and start-ups the opportunity to be officially recognised as a taste sensation. Six of the award’s categories were judged live on the show floor by celebrities including Heather Mills.
Jonathan Morley, managing director of Plant Based World Expo, said: “As consumer interest in plant-based diets continues to rise, our show provided the perfect platform for the food industry to come together to discuss how plant-based foods can be integrated into the mainstream to improve both our wellbeing and the environment. It has been fantastic to see the industry come together under one roof for the first time in Europe, and we are excited to continue this momentum into our 2022 show.”