The inaugural Conscious Hospitality Show has been hailed a major success after it attracted thousands of visitors.

The new exhibition exploring how hospitality businesses can improve their corporate, social and environmental responsibility (CSER) ran alongside this year’s Restaurant Show at Olympia from 5 to 7 October 2015.

Representatives from across the foodservice and hospitality sector visited the show to explore fresh ideas and new processes focussed on health and nutrition, responsible sourcing, sustainability and ethical business practices.

Elizabeth Duncan, Conscious Hospitality Show commercial director, said: “We have clearly tapped into a strong industry focus on sustainability and social responsibility, the show has helped chefs, caterers and foodservice operators find out more about the products and services that will allow them to run more sustainably and improve their CSER credentials to help and support their business to grow.”

She added: “We are confident that the event will build as these issues become increasingly important in the years ahead.”

Conscious Hospitality Show brought together over 50 exhibitors from across the sector and showcased a range of products and services – from eco-friendly cleaning products to food waste management services and low-energy catering equipment.

Ben Lassman, marketing manager at Crazy Baker, said: “Conscious Hospitality Show was fun to attend and exhibiting allowed us to meet some wonderful potential new customers ranging from major sports team chains, boutique hotels, airline operations providers and high end boutique caterers.”

The show inspired visitors with sustainable practice insight, hints and tips and live examples of eco-friendly initiatives that can be applied to most businesses to improve their CSER credentials and boost their bottom line.

Tulip Hambleton, founder and director of Sustainable Wines UK, said: “I was very pleased to participate in the Conscious Hospitality Show as it reflects the values of our company. I met some good prospects who are looking for wines with more sustainability credentials and so we definitely went to the right place.”

A live theatre hosted a stellar line up of restaurateurs and food waste champions, including French chef Raymond Blanc OBE, pioneering food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye, English author and campaigner Tristram Stuart and chef-cum-activist and founder of zero-waste bakery restaurant SILO Douglas McMaster. Guest speakers discussed real issues such as the true cost of ‘going green’ and the business case for moving towards sustainable and ethical practices. The panel also addressed ‘local versus global’ sourcing and discussed how to untangle the complexities and contradictions at the heart of the sustainable sourcing debate.

Raymond Blanc OBE, the chef patron of the two Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, founder of Brasserie Blanc restaurants and president of The Sustainable Restaurant Association, spoke to visitors about the importance of utilising seasonal ingredients and signed copies of his ‘Kew on a Plate’ book. Dr Morgaine Gaye investigated the future of foodservice sustainability and discussed best practice in sourcing both locally and globally. Tristram Stuart examined the practicalities of running a greener establishment and Douglas McMaster addressed the issues of organisational change and advised on engaging employees in a new ethical agenda.

Conscious Hospitality Show also launched the ‘Great New Idea’ competition to allow innovative exhibitors to display their new ethically and sustainably conscious initiatives. Show visitors voted for the most deserving product or service on Twitter.

Over 45 products were put forward for judging and entries included 100% natural cleaning products, space saving multifunction furniture, water dispensing appliances, free-from common allergen food ranges, technology that reduces physical paperwork and more. Free From Italy, an Italian free-from food business, was voted the winner of the ‘Great New Idea’ competition. Checkit came in second place with its products and software offering wireless and paperless solutions for monitoring and recording legally required food health safety and hygiene procedures.

Nigel Singh, owner and managing director of Free From Italy, said: “Our highlights were meeting top chef Giancarlo Caldesi and winning the Great New Idea award. Being at the show made us realise that the demand for our products is higher than we had originally anticipated and it also helped us gain many new contacts.”

He added: “We would recommend exhibiting at the show because it attracts key visitors, such as distributors and potential customers. We learned a lot from companies who visited our stand and gained insight on better ways to package and market our brand.”

Next year’s event will take place at Olympia, 3-5th October 2016. Find out more on the website http://www.therestaurantshow.co.uk/conscious

ENDS