Vending at Old Trafford

Wherever your football allegiance may lie (I tend to have two – White Hart Lane and Anfield – neither with warm feelings for Man U!) there’s no arguing that Old Trafford is a good venue for a small-to-medium size exhibition. Rather like G-Mex was probably the best-ever venue for AVEX.

So, having attended most previous Nivex shows, I was keen to see how it would perform given a) the fact that there was another Nivex only a relatively few months ago and b) the ravages of the current economic situation.

No need to be concerned. The organisers claimed best-ever figures of more than 60 exhibitors and 558 visitors for the one-day event and, from what I saw, I wouldn’t argue with them. For those with a calculator that amounts to some 9.3 visitors per stand. Do the same calculation for AVEX – on the basis of 7,000 visitors and 140 stands – and the figure is exactly 50 visitors per stand. Then again, that has to be equated with the time/cost of a one day show versus three days (at least pre-2009).

So what? The shows are totally different. AVEX is an international industry showcase and Nivex, by comparison, is a marketplace. However, rightly or wrongly, AVEX has a reputation of being expensive for exhibitors, whereas Nivex has the opposite – certainly with those exhibitors I spoke with.

So what of the show itself? I have to say that there was precious little that was new – but I didn’t really expect to see very much. Nivex is well known now for its ‘special deals for a day’, especially if you are an operator member of NIVO – and bear in mind that the origins of this show lie right there.

On the other hand, there are now umpteen ‘international’ exhibitions around Europe, and those in the vending industry cannot be expected to come up with something new at every one of (even) them. Time was that AVEX was regarded as the most significant launch pad for the vending industry – not so now, I fear.

Anyway, back to Manchester and, while I let the camera do most of the talking, here are a few observations:

From about 11.00 until around 15.00 it was packed – OK we’re not talking the NEC or Earls Court – but was seriously busy. It was good to see so many well-known faces in the aisles, which was a measure of how the show is becoming viewed. The likes of Unilever, Cadbury, Aimia Foods, Nestlé, and Bunzl all had stand space, along with machine manufacturers including Westomatic, Crane Merchandising Systems, N&W and Sielaff.

Crane was featuring its new Evolution with 12oz capability; Bunzl was promoting its new ‘begreen’ philosophy (see VI November issue); while Benders was promoting its new 12oz cup; and Eurogran was excited about its new ‘totally organic’ chocolate product.

There were other notables, too, not least the Sielaff floor-standing, vandal-resistant machine which proved to be too large for the lift and finally (with a good deal of goodwill and hard work all round) found a resting place in the ground floor foyer of the suite – where it created a good deal of interest.

If an exhibition is judged on the number of exhibitors and visitors, along with the ‘quality’ of the people who attend, Nivex North hit the spot. But it’s not AVEX and should not think that it is. On the other hand, the AVEX Committee perhaps needs to look and take on board what it sees.