Buyers and suppliers to get tucked in at virtual food and drinks trade show

Product Guru, the product discovery platform that allows brands to showcase their products to retail buyers, is continuing to champion emerging brands by launching The Pantry Live, a virtual alternative to food and drink trade shows.

The online experience will be held on the 5th and 6th October, offering a unique opportunity for retail buyers to see a showcase of exciting emerging brands and products in a virtual exhibition hall at a time where meeting face-to-face is challenging.

For many retail buyers, trade shows are a crucial way of seeing what is new on the market and with in-person events continuing to be pushed back to next year, Product Guru spotted an opportunity to pioneer a new digital experience that will give buyers a fantastic chance to browse a whole new range of brands and products, while making instant connections with suppliers - all from the comfort of their own home.

The Pantry Live embodies the Product Guru ethos of empowering emerging brands by giving them the platform in which to showcase their unique products to potential retail buyers. The virtual exhibition hall will be an extension of the company’s software platform, which has been designed to make it easy for buyers to identify suitable suppliers and view their products all in one place.

Industry response to the event has been overwhelmingly positive, with major names choosing to throw their support behind the exclusive virtual event, including GS1, Fairtrade Foundation, The Vegan Society, and the British Soft Drinks Association. Buyers already confirmed for The Pantry Live include Tesco, Waitrose and WH Smith. 

Buyers will be given a crucial opportunity to talk to exhibitors, giving them the chance to have important discussions and take advantage of being able to ask questions. They can also apply to participate in exclusive ‘Meet Your Match: Product Pitch’ sessions, where brands will be matched with a panel of buyers and given the opportunity to do a short pitch. This allows retail buyers to stay ahead of the competition and source new products to optimise their product range while working remotely.

They will also be given exclusive access to more than 1,000 products, as well as the chance to hear from 30 prestigious speakers, and attend a range of exclusive virtual sessions, such as masterclasses and discussion panels on industry hot topics including local sourcing, current food trends and brand success stories.  One-of-a-kind online tasting tours and buying events will also be available where leaders from retail, food and drink will provide reviews on product samples.

The foodie extravaganza will be rounded off with a virtual awards ceremony to celebrate the crème de la crème of the food and drink sector.

Simon Coyle, founder of Product Guru says: “We decided to launch this virtual trade show after spotting a gap in the market. In the food and drink sector, trade shows are a vital way for suppliers to get in front of buyers and at the moment, this is very difficult because so many trade shows are being postponed until further notice.

“By launching this virtual event, we want to give brands the opportunity to be seen and our hope is that this event will help create a space for talented and deserving food and drink producers to get themselves out there.

“The Pantry Live shows how we can adapt to an increasingly digital world, giving brands that all-important visibility despite not being able to meet face-to-face. We are giving buyers the stage to meet new brands and be wowed with delicious new products.”

Sara Cunnew, Buying Manager at Oxfam, commented “I’m delighted that The Pantry Live will open up more opportunities for Oxfam buyers to source new products. This year has been particularly challenging; all of our trade shows and press days have been cancelled.

“The Pantry Live is such a great way for our buyers to source the unique products that we need for our retail stores, by logging in to a virtual trade show with access to thousands of products that are immediately available and making instant connections with brands. It’s so important for us to keep growing our retail business to contribute to Oxfam’s work and sourcing products online at The Pantry Live will support that aim. I’m really excited to be involved.”

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