International Food & Drink Event (IFE) partners with Mission Ventures to launch Lockdown Pioneers in Food & Drink Awards

International Food & Drink Event (IFE) has teamed up with challenger brand builder Mission Ventures to showcase innovative start-ups in the food & drink sector which have launched during the Covid-19 pandemic.   

The Lockdown Pioneers in Food & Drink Awards will give successful brands the opportunity to provide product samples to key buyers from the worlds of retail and hospitality alongside arranging one-to-one meetings.  

IFE Event Manager Nicola Woods commented: “The past year has seen countless creative and innovative new businesses launch in the food & drink sector, but lockdown combined with the lack of trade shows and in-person demos has meant they haven’t had the chance to get buyers physically experiencing their products.    

“The Lockdown Pioneers in Food & Drink Awards will make use of the strong buyer relationships both IFE and Mission Ventures have in the food & drink industry and will present suppliers with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase their products, organise product sampling and arrange virtual one-to-one meetings with engaged buyers.”   

Entrants will be asked to supply a product description, imagery and a 60-second video introducing the business, after which a shortlist of winning products will be sampled and reviewed by a panel of judges including the Mission Ventures team, industry experts and retailers.   

Buyers will have the opportunity to browse a digital catalogue of award winners, request consolidated samples and arrange one-to-one meetings with business owners, connecting them quickly and easily with interesting new suppliers. 

“The UK is a hotbed of innovation and new brands rely heavily on shows and sampling to grab attention from the trade,” said Mission Ventures CEO Paddy Willis. “We’re excited to champion those entrepreneurs who pushed on in pursuit of their vision, despite the pandemic.”   

Award winners will also have opportunities to be showcased on IFE’s social media and newly launched digital platform IFE Connects, in addition to receiving exclusive stand packages if they wish to exhibit at the event in 2022.    

To enter the awards, entrants should complete the application form on the IFE website before EOP 31 March 2021. The Lockdown Pioneers in Food & Drink Awards are open to businesses that have launched since January 2020. Successful applicants will be notified in early April.  

International Food & Drink Event takes place from 28 February to 2 March at ExCeL London. To find out more about visiting or exhibiting in 2022, please visit  


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