The four day run of Food & Drink Expo 2002 and the Convenience Retailing Show at Birmingham's NEC was hailed by all attending as a resounding success. Expo 2002, organised for the first time by the exhibitions arm of William Reed Publishing ­ publisher of The Grocer ­ lived up to its organisers' aspirations and attracted visitors from around the globe. And traders who toured the Convenience Retailing Show praised the number of specialist suppliers and services on display. Expo 2002 director Andrew Reed said: "The quality and quantity of visitors has exceeded our expectations. Our success augurs well and we will be including even more international pavilions and specialist features in two years' time. "It is our aim to make Expo the biggest and best food and drink show in the UK and we have already signed up new exhibitors for the next one." And at the Convenience Retailing Show, publishing director of Convenience Store magazine John Lewis said: "Exhibitors are delighted with the number of buyers." In the absence of DEFRA minister Lord Whitty, whose attendance was hit by rail problems, the opening ceremony was performed by NFU president Ben Gill who urged all in the chain to put aside prejudices and work together. {{NEWS }}