In June 2022, FoodDrinkEurope defied Brussels tradition by turning its annual conference into a festivity of ideas, tripling its attendance and creating content to promote the Association's Advocacy effort. This innovative event won the Event Transformation Award during the ESAE Association Awards 2023.
In June 2022, FoodDrinkEurope ripped up the script for a traditional Brussels annual event. Instead of hiring a grey conference hall and bringing the ‘usual suspects’ to have warm wine and drooping canapes, we put up three large tents in the garden of the Museum of Natural Sciences and hosted our inaugural #FoodFuture Ideas Festival and Summer Party.
The event was a visual manifestation of the FoodDrinkEurope Action Plan for Sustainable Food Systems, launched on the same day. During the afternoon, three stages featured 23 inspiring speakers who delivered Ted-style talks on climate change, healthier living and sustainable packaging – the three pillars of our Action Plan. These talks were followed by a buzzing evening BBQ and drinks. From nudging healthier eating in the retail sector to a Portuguese carbon-free village, the Ideas Fest brought together cutting-edge ideas and bright sparks in our industry.
What’s more, with the help of our member company ABInbev, we supported our friends in the Ukrainian food and drink industry by promoting and serving Ukrainian beer at the bar and were honoured to count Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU among our participants.
We tripled our normal annual event attendance to reach 600 people through the course of the day and filmed 23 punchy talks from food influencers. The recordings were made available for all on FoodDrinkEurope’s YouTube channel. These recorded talks and the short snippets from them helped FoodDrinkEurope highlight the key takeaways and impacts of our event with our stakeholders, serving as useful points of reference and inspiration in future advocacy campaigns.
A canvassing of guests after the event showed that people were very happy to have been welcomed back to Brussels after the restrictions of Covid-19 with something unique and impactful. The Ideas Fest helped our attendees make meaningful connections with food innovators and explore the big ideas in food sustainability.