Cath Henley of crisps maker Tyrrells reports exclusively for from this year's SIAL trade show.

We place a lot of importance on trade shows – this was our second time at SIAL and we also go to IFE and ANUGA – hence why we decided that we had to have a really creative, eye-catching stand that really embodied what the Tyrrells brand is all about. And SIAL was the first opportunity we had to showcase this ‘work of art’.

We spent Saturday getting ourselves organised – setting up shop and mowing our ‘potato fields.’ Our aim for the event was to make an impact – and with our new stand and great location in the Food from Britain Pavilion – we did just that. So, Saturday was a day of preparation for Sunday.

The first day was fantastic. We made the decision to exhibit at SIAL with a few intentions in mind: we wanted to support our distributors, raise Tyrrells’ brand awareness, meet our customers and simply talk to people about our passion for potatoes. Oh yes, and we also wanted to launch our new winter range, Dorothy Goodbody Ale & Cheese. So, all in all the first day was great; before we realised, it was midday and we found ourselves with a whole list of new contacts – so that sums up how busy we were.

Monday was probably the biggest day for us. We managed to meet with 10 of our export distributors and were in back-to-back meetings with customers and various other contacts all morning – that’s where Food from Britain’s networking lounge really came in handy for us. The buzz around our stand on that day alone really justified the investment we had made in the show and meant we went away happy to the FFB networking reception in the evening – a really great opportunity to catch up with industry peers and share thoughts (as well as a little bit of wisdom) on the show.

The traffic on our stand continued throughout Tuesday and Wednesday as we met more of our customers and secured further new business leads. By Thursday we just about had enough time to ‘walk the floor’ (as they say in the industry) and check out the competition.

All in all, a great show, with excellent support from Food from Britain. It was a really useful – and hopefully profitable – experience for us and we will definitely be doing the trade show rounds again next year.