lunch! unveils stellar line up for 2015

Some of the biggest names in food-to-go are now confirmed to speak at this year's lunch! trade show, which returns to the Business Design Centre in London next month on 24-25 September.

The Working lunch! Theatre line-up now includes Helen Higgins, food ambassador at EAT.; Mark Palmer, group marketing director of Pret A Manger; Paul Ettinger, development director at Caffè Nero; Richard Morris, managing director of Tortilla; award winning designer Afroditi Krassa (who was commissioned by Julian Metcalfe to design the Itsu brand); and Roger Whiteside, CEO of food-to-go giant Greggs (in an exclusive interview with Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach).

Guy Meakin, trading manager – food on the move at Marks & Spencer; will also be adding lunch! speaker duties to his impressive resumé (he started his professional buying career with 6 years at Sainsbury's). For him, and his fellow buyers, lunch! “is the must attend event each year". As a speaker, his 'Buying Masterclass', including top tips for food-to-go buyers, looks set to prove just as essential.

“Each time I visit lunch! I'm reminded and energised about how exciting and market leading our industry is," says Meakin. “Food-to-go is one of the fastest moving categories in the food industry, so pulling innovative and inspirational suppliers together each year for lunch! is a great way for us to keep up-to-date with developments and ensure we are at the forefront of improving our proposition for our customers."

Other confirmed sessions include:

· Sandy Anderson, senior buyer – food at Elior UK: It's not just the spreadsheet that matters

· Jamie Campbell, account director, CGA Peach: Coffee & cocktails: quantifying the opportunity for alcohol in coffee shops

· Mark McCulloch, founder & CEO of WE ARE Spectacular: What's your 'Every little helps'?

· Akbar Sheikh, director of Sheikh Holdings: Bringing Potbelly to the UK

· Beth Taubner, founder of MercuryLab: The bread and butter of branding

This year's programme also includes four information packed panel sessions – discussing trends in travel catering, HR (encouraging staff engagement and retention), sustainability in food-to-go, and independent operators (challenges and opportunities).

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Industry trends & insights

As in previous years, market updates (from foodservice analyst Horizons and The NPD Group) kick off the Working lunch! Theatre programme on both days of the show.

Cyril Lavenant, director of foodservice UK and France at The NPD Group, will discuss food-to-go trends around Europe from a consumer perspective. Comparing the UK with France, Germany, Spain and Italy, he'll highlight the most promising growth areas in 'on-the-go consumption'.

Whilst Emma Read, Horizon's director of marketing and business development, will be reviewing both the supply and the demand factors that are helping to drive the lunchtime market forwards.

"The lunchtime market still has plenty of growth potential," says Read, who will draw on the latest data from Horizons' database of operators' menus, and from new branded operator openings, to explain developments on the supply side; as well as using insight from the latest consumer panel to explain exactly what consumers are looking for.

New Menu Innovation Theatre

Further details for lunch!'s new Menu Innovation Theatre (sponsored by Magrini) have also been announced today. Located in the new area of the Upper Feature Level, the theatre will play host to an exciting new series of master classes. Covering everything from coffee, tea, juicing, sandwich bars, street food and meat free options, these practical lunch! sessions will be led by industry experts like The Gentleman Baristas (Henry C.A.W Ayres and Edward T.G.E Parkes); Sebastian Michaëlis, tea buyer and blender at Tata Global Beverages; Chris Fung, managing director of Crussh Juice Bars; Frank Boltman and Alex Stone from Trade in London's Commercial Street; Mark Jankel, founder of The Street Kitchen; and Jay Morjaria, founder & exec chef at The Sutra Kitchen.

lunch! – the multi-award-winning trade event for the food-to-go industry, returns to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on Thursday and Friday, 24-25 September. Thanks to a 25% increase in exhibition space for 2015, the event will feature over 350 companies showcasing their latest food, drink, packaging, technology, and equipment innovations to over 6,500 attendees.

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