As the doors closed on the National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show and The Forecourt Show 2017, visitors, exhibitors and speakers were energised by another busy year packed full of inspiration, advice and support all under one roof. Both visitor and exhibitor numbers were up on previous years as the industry came together to learn, share and develop all aspects of their businesses across the diverse range of product and services on offer.

Within the National Convenience Show 2017 protein and better-for-you products were in full force to support retailers who want to tap into the growing trend for healthier alternatives alongside their standard range. Fulfil Nutrition ensured that visitors couldn’t miss their offer with a bright yellow truck parked directly in the entrance, offering samples of their great tasting protein bar with added benefits, that will help retailers grab a quick bite whilst sticking to their healthy eating regime.  Whilst leading in-store technical supplier Htec invited visitors into their rocket ship to learn about how their systems can make it faster, easier and more accurate for a whole range of in-store transactions for retailers.

The Retailer Hub attracted record audiences with almost 100 people gathering to hear from speakers from the Petrol Retailers Association and leading shopper insight experts him! on the future of the forecourts market in the UK. And the National Federation of Sub Postmasters were welcomed to the event for the first time and heard from leading retailers Paul Cheema and Chris Wardle about the benefits that adding a Post Office has brought to their business. Well-known TV presenter Saira Khan encouraged retailers and exhibitors to learn to sell themselves better, a lesson she learnt in her early career as rep for KP McVities in the convenience channel and Jimmy Cregan of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee got the crowd rocking with a chorus from his highly-viewed rap video, Keep Your Chin Up (#KYCU).  The co-located Digital Hub helped retailers find ways to cut through the noise and communicate with their customers more effectively with a Mace retailer in Briton Ferry, Neath sending their first tweet right from the show (@MaceBritonFerry).

After a long but inspiring day at the neighbouring ACS Summit hundreds of visitors welcomed the chance to network with their fellow visitors over a curry and beer whilst being entertained by leading TV comic Dominic Holland.  But the climax of the show was the hotly contested Great New Idea with products from the NCS and Forecourt Show encouraging visitors to vote for their idea as the next big thing.  In the forecourt category, it was down to Bever Innovations and Video Poster to fight it out with Bever Innovations taking the crown.  Whilst in the NCS category it was a hot contest between the Covent Garden Soup Co’s new foodservice dispense solution and Gumipod with their innovative chewing gum pack with a self-contained bin for disposal. Both products had been making waves across the week with retailers and visitors talking about the solutions they provided, but in a very tight finish it was Covent Garden Soup Co. who snatched victory. 

As visitors headed home on the last day of the event with new ideas, innovations and inspiration to succeed some retailers only regret was that they hadn’t made more time to spend at the show – a mistake they won’t be repeating in 2018!

‘’It’s the first time I’ve been and I’m really impressed by what I’ve seen. It’s brilliant to get everything in one place and take away so many ideas and new products. I would have come for at least 2 days if I’d known how much I’d get out of it – can’t believe I only came on the last day’’

Rushpal Gill, Select & Save, Birmingham

So, if you’re feeling as though you’ve missed out on the one-stop-shop industry event of the year make sure you put 16-18 April 2018 in your diary and we’ll look forward to seeing you at NCS 2018!


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