Ask The Experts with…

Mina Booth - Head of Marketing, IFE 2015

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in your current role?

I have been working at Fresh Montgomery for just over a year and prior to that have worked for a number of exhibition organisers, marketing exhibition in areas as varied as libraries and aviation security. Back in the last century I worked for several leading British retailers, starting at Sainsbury’s as a trainee manager. The store staff soon put me right about how unusual a degree was! Food and entertaining are my two great loves and working on the Fresh shows is brilliant. I love the industry and get to try loads of new products to boot.

What trends have you seen emerge in your sector in the last six months?

The last show we ran was Speciality & Fine Food Fair in September 2014 and as usual there were hundreds of really exciting new food and drinks. The Brazilian World Cup had definitely influenced product development and there were quite a few margarita inspired launches. Free from, especially gluten free is increasingly popular and very high up in the search rankings on our website. Palio is smaller but definitely on the increase. Sugar is definitely the latest food villain and a move to natural sweeteners risen sharply in 2015. Britain is always known for its amazing cheese and IFE sees some really exciting new introductions.

Juicing is also a key trend with a move towards vegetables and a reduction in the sugar level. Look out for new products with seaweed and added vitamin pearls at IFE. Portion sizes are changing to reflect the rise of smaller households. Snacking remains huge. Popcorn works for many of the trends and a number of exciting new brands are coming through. In terms of the retailers we all know about the move towards the polar extremes of the market with consumers buying selected products from the discounters and treating themselves at the top end. I had a really interesting discussion with a distributer about how this will affect the deli market last week. I personally think it is great news for the specialists and independents, I guess time will tell.

>What’s the most exciting thing about your job?--

>The people. I work for an amazing company and have an amazing team. The exhibitors are lovely, passionate, engaging people - not the case in all industry sectors.  -

What's single golden piece of advice would you offer to brands exhibiting at any trade show, and IFE in particular?

Don’t just turn up to the show – make sure people know you are there. Buyers plan to visit an average of 3 companies before attending an exhibition. The rest they stumble-upon by chance. That is too random for me. Make sure you are one of the three. There are lots of free opportunities as part of the IFE offering; make sure you maximise the opportunities.

On site use your imagination and don’t just rely on visual stimuli. Appeal to all the visitors senses – sound and smell evoke powerful emotions which sight often struggles to achieve. Getting into your buyers psyche is critical. Nostalgia is a powerful motivation, as is a feeling of wellbeing. Food and drink must deliver more than sustenance and you need to deliver this story to your customers.

...and finally, after the frenetic rush of a show, where and how do you love to relax?

Frankly after a show the size of IFE the only place I want to be is in the land of nod for a very long time.

I have two small children (3 if you count my husband) and spending time with them is a key pleasure (most of the time). Cooking or creating art with the children is probably my favourite way to relax. A large glass of white Rioja obviously helps. 

IFE2015 offers a packed line-up of 80 renowned chefs and keynote speakers, ensuring guests and exhibitors alike will be able to immerse themselves in the latest industry knowledge, as well as inspiration at the IFE Skillery with demonstrations showcasing the talents of some of the industry’s finest chefs. >

IFE2015 is at ExCeL from 22- 25 March 2015.<

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