Brakes, the UK’s leading foodservice wholesaler, has kicked off its latest Virtual Food Event, which is live now and runs until 8th January 2021. It is full of practical help, inspiration and solutions to help caterers plan and adapt throughout the winter season. It also includes specific ideas to help navigate the lockdown successfully, such as pivoting to take-away, and menu simplification.  

Advice on Brexit planning, getting the most from digital channels, and new product launches from some of the leading foodservice brands are also part of the event, which features online webinars, Q&A sessions, and live chat. The event aims to support caterers by bringing them relevant food content in a new, engaging format, and is part of a wider digital transformation at Brakes that has seen it make a significant investment in technology to enhance all areas of communication throughout the customer journey.

“The response to our first Virtual Food Event was phenomenal, with hundreds of customers contacting us to tell us how useful they found it,” says Leon French, Brakes’ Customer Marketing Director. “This latest event, delivered straight to the caterer’s desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, will have new features, even more great content, and be even more interactive, providing them with the very best support whatever their circumstances.”

Following the success of the inaugural event, this Autumn/Winter follow-up will feature even more virtual stands, insights, and exciting products. Food operators can visit over 30 stands full of great ideas, quality products and useful resources. Exhibitors include 25 of the UK’s leading foodservice brands, alongside nine Brakes stands covering key product categories. There will also be new features such as a series of online webinar sessions that operators can sign up to for insight from a panel of experts on topics and opportunities relating to their business right now. Live chat functionality will mean operators can connect instantly with virtual event visitors.

Like the first event, this Virtual Food Event will be open to Brakes customers and non-customers alike, with the former able to buy products directly from the page – with their agreed discount applied – and get details of all the latest promotions available to them.

Amongst the brands “exhibiting” will be: Arla Pro, Pepsico (Walker’s Crisps), Unilever Foodservice (Knorr and The Vegetarian Butcher), Heinz, Upfield (Flora); Nestlé; Nestlé Professional (Garden Gourmet®, Nescafé® and Yes!); KP Snacks; Mademoiselle Desserts; Symingtons (Naked Noodles); Major International; Roberts; Brioche Pasquier; Lantmännen Unibake (Americana and Schulstad Bakery Solutions); Pepsico (Walker’s Crisps); Britvic; Kettle Foods; pladis; Premier Foods; Dr Oetker; Burtons; Quorn; Roberts Bakery; Birds Eye and Müller. In addition, there will be nine Brakes-branded stands covering Christmas; Bibendum by Brakes; fresh meat, dairy and produce; new products; free from, Vegan and plant-based, Care and Education, Country Choice, as well as dedicated stands for Brakes Scotland and Brakes Wales.

Existing customers will receive an email invitation letting them know how to access the event whilst non-customers can simply visit the home page at: www.brake.co.uk/virtual-food-event. Operators are encouraged to visit the event on a frequent basis as new stands will be added regularly and the event hub will be constantly updated to highlight the latest content, offers, competitions and news.

The first Virtual Food Event was visited more than 15,500 times, by nearly 2,500 unique users. Across social media it reached more than 84,000 people across Facebook and Instagram.

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