Celebrating the cream of hospitality, innovation, tourism and supply

9am to 5pm, 3rd & 4th May 2023
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newcastle

The HITS Expo is a free two-day experience that will highlight excellence within hospitality, innovation, tourism, and supply from across the North of Tyne and beyond.

Held on 3rd and 4th of May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newcastle, the event will bring together the best practitioners in food, drink, hospitality, and tourism, highlighting the role these vital sectors play in forging the region’s identity and offer, while encouraging community, collaboration, and collective purpose throughout the industry.

The HITS Expo will provide a recipe of industry insights, career spotlights, trade stands, live demonstrations, networking opportunities and will reveal the winners of the annual inter-college competition (on day one) as well as North East Chef of the Year (on day two).

Day one, Wednesday 3rd May, will include insights sessions on the future of tourism, why markets matter, addressing the skills shortage and what sustainability means in tourism and hospitality. Kate Howell, Communications Director at Borough Market, Michelle Percy, Director of Place at Newcastle City Council and Louise Cairns from the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink are some of the guest speakers we have lined up.

Day two, Thursday 4th May, will look further into sustainability, with insights from successful regional businesses such as Ringtons, Greggs, and Fenwick explaining how they are achieving their sustainability goals; and Children North East, North East Autism Society and Northern Pride telling us about initiatives venues can access to improve the inclusivity of their welcome.

The HITS Expo will also include live ‘Beyond The Kitchen Table’ final pitches, where small and micro businesses will sell-in their products to buyers, retailers and suppliers and showcase their products in the Producers Market.

Everyone is welcome so book your FREE tickets now!

HITS Expo Schedule

DAY ONE: Wednesday 3rd May 2023

Industry Insights (Locomotion Suite)

10.30am - 11.15am
Future Focussed: What will Tourism, Hospitality, Food & Drink Look Like In The Future?
Sarah Green (NGI)
Neil Carney (Visit Northumberland)
Dr Kate Harland (Northumbria University)
Keith Merrin (NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues)
11.30am - 12noon
Aspiring Assets - Why Markets Matter
Michelle Percy (Newcastle City Council)
Kate Howell (Borough Market)
12.15pm - 1pm
Addressing the Skills Shortage: What does industry need and how are we meeting the challenge?
Kevin Gratton (21 Hospitality)
Martha Jackson (Pink Lane Bakery)
Louise Cairns (NSAF&D)
Kellie Campbell (Sunderland College)
Anna Wadcock (NEHA)
1.45pm - 2.15pm
Driving Net Zero Logistics in Food, Drink, Hospitality & Tourism
Melanie Thompson Glen (NICRE)
Tom Shanks (Blueline)
James Tyer (Bud Couriers)
Charlotte Skeates (Ringtons)
3.15pm - 3.45pm
Streamlining Sustainability: What do we mean and why does it matter to our industry?
Duncan Wise (Northumberland National Parks Authority)
Shelley Johnson (NGI)
Sarah Thackray (Beaconhouse Events)
4pm - 4.30pm
Future Focussed: How global solutions are meeting consumer trends
Aiden Brierley (FYTO)
Charlie Macdowall (Monstarlab)
Hannah Reid (Trakol)
Eric Guo (Spark Butlet Bot)

Inter-College Skills Competition (Stevenson Suite)

The annual NECTA Inter-College Hospitality Salon is an exciting event where college teams from across the North East can showcase their culinary and front-of-house skills.

Spotlights and Masterclasses (Planet Room)

Demonstrations running throughout the day. Subjects include: Floristry, Chocolatier, Urban Growing Systems and Social Media best practice.

DAY TWO: Thursday 4th May 2023

Industry Insights (Locomotion Suite)

10.00am - 10.30am
Feeding The Nation: How can national and local food strategies blend to create a more sustainable and affordable food chain
Ian Wright (ex-Diagio, FDF)
Marcus Carter (Artisan Food Club)
10.45am - 11.15am
Sustainability in Action: Initiatives in our region
Paul Irwin Rhodes (Greggs)
Martijn Gilbert (Lumo)
Hellen Hornby (Groundwork)
Jim Gillon (Gateshead Council)
Reed Ingram Weir (Ingram)
11.30am - 12.15pm
Beyond The Kitchen Table Live
Steve Wheaton (Enspire)
Helen Short (AQCT)
James Miller (Grape Software)
Andrew Stevenson (Erudus)
Phil Murray (Harlands)
Laura Middleton (Canny Social)
Kieran McBride (Fenwick)
12.30pm - 1pm
Providing an inclusive welcome: where should we start?
Rebecca Welch (North East Autism Society)
David Jones (Life Science Centre)
Ste Dunn (Northern Pride)
Saffia Solomon (Children North East)
1.30pm - 3.30pm
Beyond The Kitchen Table: The Pitches
BTKT participating producers

North East Chef of the Year (Stevenson Suite)

The annual NECTA competition open to professional chefs that showcases the region’s most outstanding talent and raises aspirations for those in the industry.

Spotlights and Masterclasses (Planet Room)

Demonstrations running throughout the day. Subjects include: The BuySupply platform, Everybody Welcome 360 degree filming, Spark Butler Bot, Ten-Minute Takeaways and Meet the Experts.

Everyone is welcome so book your FREE tickets now!

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