10% Increase in visitors to event
CATEX 2019 saw thousands of visitors from the foodservice, hospitality, catering and on-trade sectors, descend on the RDS, Simmonscourt, making it the biggest turnout for the exhibition to date. With footfall up by almost 10%, exhibitors reporting that substantial business was done and overwhelming positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike, CATEX 2019 really did serve up a show that will benefit all of those involved in the months and years ahead.
Organised by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance, John Cunningham, Chairman of IFSA comments: “IFSA, alongside our industry partners, has worked hard on this show for the past two years. Our goal was to make CATEX 2019 as good as it could be and the vibrancy and atmosphere over the three days was incredible.
“In the build up to the sold-out event, the signs were very positive, but visitor numbers have exceeded our expectations and we are thrilled to hear exhibitors are reporting that major deals have been done.”
Exhibitor stands were both impressive and engaging, with CATEX sponsors, Calor Gas showcasing a new 100% renewable energy solution and Bunzl offering up innovative business solutions and cost saving ideas. In addition, other major stands included impressive areas from BWG Foodservice, Stephens Catering Equipment, Hugh Jordan, Henderson Foodservice, Pallas Foods, Total Produce, Bewleys Ltd and Lynas Foodservice.
From delivering on-stand masterclasses to showcasing efficient technologies, exhibitors’ efforts to showcase their businesses in the best possible manner really added vibrancy to the event and for visitors, they got to sample the food and drink on offer, including the award-winning products that were on display within the Chef’s Choice Area.
A hotly-anticipated feature of CATEX 2019 was the Chef Network Hub. Many of Ireland’s top culinary talents took to the stage for live demos and to share their tips with a packed audience. There was also a series of masterclasses and round table discussions where chefs exchanged ideas on the future of their industry; everything from sustainability, to how chefs are trained, the skills needed to run a food business, and food trends.
During the three-day show, rising stars in the industry were identified, new champions in their field were awarded and renowned industry experts were recognised for their contribution to this diverse sector. CATEX 2019 was Ireland’s showcase for local excellence and across the three days, top awards were given to those who excelled in their fields:
· The Irish National Cocktail Championship was won by Oisin Kelly - a bartender at the Sidecar, The Westbury, Dublin - with his delectable drink entitled ‘Solstice’, using Grey goose vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Peach Reàl and Bitter Truth Orange bitters. Oisin beat of stiff competition from some of Ireland’s most talented and creative mixologists and will now go on to represent Ireland at the 2019 World Cocktail Championship in Chengdu, China, 4th - 8th November.
· Bewley’s Barista Wojciech Tysler, stirred it up to be named the Avonmore Irish Barista of the Year. As Irish Barista Champion, Wojciech will go on to represent Ireland in the World Barista Championship in Boston this April. Demonstrating great skill and creativity, the Irish Latte Art Championships also took place at CATEX. Renata Khedun was named the winner and will go on to represent Ireland at the World Latte Art Championships which takes place during the World of Coffee event in Berlin, Germany, June 8-10, 2019.
One of the main events - the Chef Ireland Competitions – was oversubscribed with over 250 student and culinary chefs taking part, and many spectators cheering on their favourites.
Taking home one of the biggest awards at CATEX was Oran Colhoun, Head chef of visitor catering at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse who was crowned Aramark’s Chef of the Year Ireland. Having beaten seven other finalists, Colhoun has secured a place in the company’s European finals in London on 4th April 2019.
New at CATEX 2019 were the Restaurant Cook Serve and Hotel Restaurant Cook Serve competitions – head-to-head team challenges involving both chefs and food service professionals. With a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomy getaway to the gourmet capital of France, Lyon up for grabs for both teams, the competition was fierce however ‘West Restaurant’, Twelve Hotel I Barna was named as the winner in the Restaurant Cook Serve competition and a team from Dalata Hotels scooped the Hotel Restaurant Cook Serve competition.
With the heat on, on day three, Team Aramark was declared winners of the Contract Caterers’ Culinary Challenge, and will head off to San Sebastian, dining at some of the best tables in the region as part of their prize.
NEW PRODUCTS: With over 250 companies showcasing innovative products and services, visitors had a wealth of new products to see, taste and explore. With everything from custom branded eco-cups to revolutionary new cleaning equipment, CATEX 2019 really did deliver a vast array of products under one roof.
“CATEX is the one show that connects you to the decision makers in the foodservice and hospitality industries, and for us, gave our team the opportunity to showcase our goods to the Irish market and to pick up important new contacts. We are really delighted with the positive response to our products and the excitement generated with visitors. We’ve made some excellent and concrete leads at CATEX over the three days,” commented Rocky Redmond, Redmond Fine foods.
New names were a welcome addition to the show and new exhibitors included Smedes Food Production, MAK Group and UCC Coffee, amongst many others.
Returning to CATEX after a very successful 2015 was Suki Tea. Emma Sharkey, Trade Marketing at Suki Tea adds: “CATEX is the first event where we’ve showcased our new blend – Iced Raspberry and Vanilla Tea - and we’ve had incredible feedback. Over the three days, we were able to spend time with our distribution partners and current customers as well as potential new customers so CATEX has really delivered for us.”
Anne Abberton from FiXX Coffee says: “This is our third CATEX and it’s been the best show for us by far. We’ve made lots of new solid contacts and have been showcasing our quality products and new offerings to existing customers, securing additional sales.”
CATEX took place on the 26th – 28th February 2019 at the RDS, Simmonscourt. As THE trade event for the food, drink and hospitality industry, CATEX returns in 2021! Register your interest now – www.catexexhibition.com
PLANS FOR 2020: Next year, Food & Bev Live returns! Taking place on the 4th and 5th February 2020 at the Citywest Events Centre, Dublin, the two-day expo is the event to showcase your business, products and innovations. Contact Margaret Andreucetti, Sales Manager, EventHaus on 01 846 0020.