Virtual food events: making the most of lockdown

7 May 2020

While the coronavirus has meant most spring/summer food industry events are postponed till 2021, a few have adapted by going online. Virtual food events can be an opportunity for producers to get inspired during lockdown.

Virtual events will consist of videos, webinars, live chats, forums, downloadable content and more. While this is a strange new world for those accustomed to touching, tasting and smelling what’s on offer, it does provide an interesting opportunity for us. We can now attend a range of international events that would have been a financial and logistical challenge. Especially for small food businesses and startups, this now puts some big events within reach.

Virtual food events

Vitafoods Digital Week

This week-long event offers a range of webinars, podcasts, downloadable reports, articles and galleries. It aims to help industry professionals find new ways to work, create conversations and new connections, as well as provide inspiration during this challenging time. Themes include: sports nutrition, sustainability, new ingredients, proteins and health.

11-15th May. More information here.

Innovation Forum

Innovation Forum has announced this year’s first half conferences have moved to an interactive virtual conference. Particular emphasis will be placed on ensuring attendees access networking opportunities via the platform including live chat functions. Over the two day conferences, attendees “will have access to rich and interactive plenary and breakout sessions with high-level speakers and moderators from around the world”.

There will be representatives and speakers from Nestlé, Unilever, Innocent Drinks, Lidl, Oxfam and many more. Themes covered will include climate, farmers, land, finance and investment.

2nd–3rd June. More information here.


The Institute of Food Technologists’ annual event was planned for Chicago in July. The decision was taken to move to a virtual platform for 2020. With the focus on innovation, insights and eductation, they actually see it as an opportunity to be more inclusive and gather together a more globally-focused community.

July 12th from 9.00am (CST). More details here.

Food & Drink Festival Online 2020

Food & Drink Festival Online is a collaboration between Slice & Dice, the Food Hub Group and Bread & Jam. It offers “a whole range of different and inspiring food and drink products, that you can filter just like walking down the aisles of a store”.

Products include alcoholic drinks, oils, ready meals, snacks, special diets, vegan, sweet treats and much more. Each producer has a page – simply click on their link to find out more and, of course, to buy.

Live now and ongoing. Visit Food And Drink Festival.

Bread and Jam

Bread & Jam is an annual two-day conference and bootcamp for emerging and growing food and drink brands. It has very nimbly changed its focus to deliver an array of virtual food events.

Check out the calendar here.

Froghop’s Online Product Development Kitchen

Of course, you can also join Froghop on Zoom on Friday mornings to get the lowdown on a range of topics of interest to food and drink businesses and startups. Plus there’s time for questions, too.

Get the calendar and Zoom details here.

Postponed food shows

There have already been many postponements, some until the second half of the year and some events won’t run until 2021. It likely that there will continue to be cancellations and postponements, and more may go online.

  • The International Food & Drink Event – March 2021
  • Natural Food Show, Natural & Organic Products Europe – April 2021
  • The Ingredients Show – April 2021
  • Taste of London – June 2021
  • Speciality Food Fair – September 2021
  • Lunch – 23-24 September 2021
  • Food & Gift Show – Cancelled until 2021
  • Commercial Kitchen Show – Cancelled until September 2021
  • BBC Good Food Show Summer – Cancelled until 2021

Live food events 2020

At the present time, there are still a number of food and drink industry events planned for the latter part of the year. All are obviously subject to change.

Vitafoods Europe Conference

While Vitafoods has an online component outlined above, they have included new dates for a September conference. The conference is known for providing insights and in-depth research on the most recent industry trends with a range of talks, presentations and panel discussions from renowned industry experts. This year they will focus on: Nootropics, Sports Nutrition, Protein Innovation, Personalised Nutrition, Nutricosmetics, Digestive Health and CBD.

1st-3rd September 2020, Geneva, Switzerland. Visit the website for more information and updates.


A unique trade show bringing together “the entire food-to-go industry under one roof”. This usually entails over 400 exhibitors, keynote speakers, thousands of visitors and new products.

24th and 25th September, ExCel London. More information from

Food Tech Matters

This fast-paced meet-up for “the world’s most disruptive foodtech and agtech entrepreneurs” hopes to be back in October. Expect a newly designed programme combining thought-leadership from some of the biggest names in the food and drink industry. There also promises to be topical debates, workshops, masterclasses and networking opportunities.

Moved to 12-13 October 2020 at The Crystal, London. More information available here.

Food Matters Live

A curated exhibition plus education programme, hosted buyer programme, customer innovation sessions and private dining experiences, Food Matters is also accompanied by structured networking opportunities. 2020 promises to unveil a new conference, plus seminars, technical sessions and NPD live theatres.

13-14 October, 02 InterContinental, London. Visit their website for more information.

The Allergy & Free From Show

Claiming to be the world’s largest free-from celebration, the Allergy and Free From Show offers myriad new choices for food and drink from household names and start-ups, plus ground-breaking home products and health solutions for everyone living with allergies or intolerances, or who simply wish to reduce gluten, wheat, eggs, nuts or dairy (et al). There will be a CPD masterclass, learning experiences, live music and consultations available.

16-18 October 2020, ExCel London. More information.

If you’re running virtual food events, let us know and we’ll add them to the list. If you’d like to know how you can use lockdown to progress your product development, why not watch this webinar recording.

Virtual food events for 2020