Food & Drink Expo 2016 will return to the NEC Birmingham in April, providing buyers from the grocery, wholesale, speciality retail, manufacturing and foodservice sectors with a unique opportunity to source new products and learn about the trends set to shape the UK food and drink industry over the coming years. The future of food and drink in the UK will be a key theme throughout the 2016 instalment of the event, which will run from 18-20 April, alongside the Farm Shop & Deli Show. Around 600 exhibitors will showcase their latest innovations to thousands of buyers and decision makers, all looking to place orders on the industry's newest products. Visitors will also be able to hear from experts who will offer business support, advice and debate during the three-day event.

The Brainfood Factory was a big hit at the last show and in 2016 the live theatre will once again facilitate debates, interviews, demonstrations and presentations, covering the most cutting-edge business and ethical issues in the food and drink industry today.

The live event theatre will provide visitors with the chance to join lively, topical discussions hosted by a string of high profile speakers who are experts within their fields. These sessions will be thought-provoking as experts analyse the latest news and trends from across the industry, aiming to send participants away with ideas to grow their businesses.

Visitors will be able to watch a range of master classes, panel sessions and live interviews. This year's line-up is yet to be revealed, but the last event saw Melanie Leech, then Director General of the Food and Drink Federation and now heading up the British Property Federation, and Chris Hook, Director of Warburtons' free from business both take centre stage.

Among the exhibitors already confirmed are regional business development agency Invest Northern Island, award-winning company Tudor Tea & Coffee, the Welsh Assembly Government, bread convenience company Vleems Food, sauce manufacturer Lee Kum Kee and the UK's leading refrigerated vehicle rental company Petit Forestier UK.

French premium bread, pastries and patisserie supplier Bridor will also be exhibiting at the show. Erwan Inizan, Sales Director for Bridor UK and Ireland, said: "The Food & Drink Expo is the leading UK exhibition in 2016 with visitors coming from different parts of the country and from a variety of sectors within food and drink. Visitors are hungry to network, see the latest trends and search out innovation, which is what makes it a good opportunity to showcase and launch new products for our business, such as our bread partnership with Michel Roux Jr and Frederic Lalos."

In addition to companies already established in the UK, the growing influence of international businesses and cuisines on the UK market will be recognised in a pavilion featuring produce from inspirational countries including Morocco and China.

Dan Dixon, Food & Drink Expo Event Director, commented: “As the largest food and drink event in the UK, we want to maintain our position as the number one event for buyers to source new products and forge new supplier links. As such, the 2016 event promises to be the best show yet and will provide visitors with a programme that identifies key trends that will drive the future of the UK food and drink market.”

Food & Drink Expo will be co-located with Foodex, the Farm Shop & Deli Show and the National Convenience Show, bringing together suppliers from across the whole food and drink industry, from retailers to manufacturers.