IFEX Plays Host to World Butchers’ Challenge 2018
Caroline McCusker, IFEX Sales Manager; Glenn McDowell, Team Ireland Butcher and Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director
Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director; Glenn McDowell, Team Ireland Butcher; Rhonda Montgomery, Founder and CEO of Butchery Excellence Ireland and Caroline McCusker, IFEX Sales Manager
Next year, there’s set to be a meaty, new addition to IFEX as Northern Ireland’s largest food, drink and hospitality expo plays host to the World Butchers’ Challenge (WBC) – a first for Northern Ireland.
Returning to the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast from the 20th to 22nd March next year, the biennial event, that’s amongst the longest running trade events in Europe – and named the ‘UK’s Best Tradeshow Exhibition 2016’*– will almost double in size to over 8,000 sq. metres. Introducing a new sister show – MEAT@IFEX – this innovative new event will be focused on showcasing the meat sector and it will also house over 250 butchers from around the globe, who will be taking part at the World Butchers’ Challenge.
The WBC (World Butchers’ Challenge) was created as a platform where butchers from across the world can compete and showcase the butchery skills and creative uses of meat from their respective countries. Having previously taken place in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain, the winning bid to secure the event for 2018 came from Team Ireland and was submitted by Rhonda Montgomery, CEO of Butchery Excellence Ireland and Chef Sean Owens in conjunction with IFEX’s Organisers, Fresh Montgomery.
A further £150,000 will be invested into IFEX 2018 by Fresh Montgomery, as the show’s footprint grows to over 8,000 sq. metres.
Commenting on the company’s plans for IFEX 2018, Toby Wand, Event Director of IFEX explains: “We have set the bar high for IFEX 2018, as THE trade event that really galvanises all of those in the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors. IFEX 2016 was a phenomenal success, growing visitor numbers by 24%, and we’re determined to deliver another exceptional show in 2018.
“We have partnered with NI company, Butchery Excellence Ireland, to add an international dimension to IFEX with the addition of a sister show – MEAT@IFEX – and the arrival of the World Butchers’ Challenge. To deliver these innovations, Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence Ireland are investing over £150,000 into IFEX 2018, which includes adding a new pavilion dedicated to MEAT@IFEX, growing the show floorplan to over 8,000 sq. metres.”
As part of the World Butchers’ Challenge, 12 international teams will travel to Northern Ireland to compete, with a delegation of approximately 1,000 international visitors expected.
This level of global interest will ensure that IFEX, Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge help to further Northern Ireland’s reputation for the quality of its produce, including the world-class Northern Irish meat industry.
Speaking about the importance of winning the bid for the World Butchers’ Challenge, IFEX’s Salon Culinaire Director, Chef Sean Owens said: “We are thrilled to have the bid accepted and to be making history in delivering the first-ever World Butchers’ Challenge to Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“IFEX is one of the most-respected trade shows within the UK and there’s no better home for the World Butchers’ Challenge than IFEX! The food, drink and hospitality sectors are incredibly important to the Northern Ireland economy and IFEX will play a starring role in promoting the industries, both here and further afield in 2018. We’ve already received tremendous support from some of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s largest foodservice businesses and we’re hoping to galvanise all-industry support in the months ahead.”
Rhonda Montgomery, Founder of Butchery Excellence Ireland adds: “Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge are expected to increase IFEX visitor footfall significantly, and we’ll be working hard in the months ahead to bring both Irish and International businesses from the meat and poultry sectors to Meat@IFEX.
“We’re hoping that Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge will not only be a great success, but will leave a lasting legacy for our meat and butchery industries in Northern Ireland.”
IFEX has a history of providing a vibrant platform for exhibitors to present a wide range of foods and beverages, promote the latest trends in interiors and technical equipment for the catering business and offers excellent opportunities to meet potential business partners; and next year’s event will be no exception. In 2016, over 120 companies exhibited at the show with visitor numbers surpassing 6,500.
IFEX 2018 is set to house all of the ingredients that have made the show a success for many years. Confirmed show attractions includes the Salon Culinaire – which includes the ChefSkills Theatre, La Parade des Chefs and a display of Edible Art – and the Great Taste Market for award-winning producers.
IFEX takes place from the 20th – 22rd March 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast.