According to BLE brand director Anna Knight, the theme for this year’s event – taking place in London, UK, in October – the F&B category is continuously reinventing itself in line with new trends and lifestyle choices.
“F&B is one of the fastest-growing and most robust categories within licensing… but it’s also incredibly innovative and dynamic,” said Knight.
“Health and fitness has been a huge influence over the sector since the 80s, but most recently, the whole wellbeing and clean-eating phenomenon has had a huge impact on the category with no signs of fading any time soon.
“Previously, BLE has adopted themes that have unintentionally favoured brand owners, but F&B is more inclusive, embracing licensors and licensees,” she said.
Smart strategy for a healthy boost
BakeryandSnacks attended last year’s show, and found a thriving growth between licensors and several bakery and snacks producers.
According to Steven Ekstract, group publisher of Licence Global, the $262bn brand licensing business could be a smart strategy for snacks.
“The brand can actually help you sell more and get a premium for your product,” he told this site.
Christine Cool, area licensing manager of confectionery manufacturer Perfetti van Melle, concurred; saying brand licensing opens a whole new universe of possibilities, something it has done for the company’s Chupa Chups brand.
Similarly, McVitie’s, Filippo Berio, Chaucer Foods and the Finsbury Food Group have taken the opportunity to work with brand extension agency Beanstalk to extend their brands into other categories and markets.
On the other side of the coin, Charlotte Reed is licencing out her Happy Hippy characters, which could give a healthy boost to a brand wanting to attract children to its better-for-you snacks.
Celebrity appearances and cook-offs
The show is the only pan-European event dedicated to licensing and brand extension. Now in its 20th year, it will feature over 280 exhibitors showcasing over 2,500 brands, characters and images.
A free educational program will run alongside, featuring advice and sector-specific sessions, workshops and panel discussions.
Aligned with its theme, celebrity appearances, cook-offs, demos and on-stand sampling will be taking place.
BLE organizer UBM also owns Food Ingredients Europe (FIE), allowing it to leverage existing relationship with F&B manufacturers for the benefit of BLE exhibitors and visitors.
BLE2018 – sponsored by the international Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) – is taking place at London Olympia, UK, from October 9-11, 2018.