To be fair, large buggies swollen to twice their width by hundreds of bulging carrier bags were responsible for at least some of the traffic jams but, despite the larger and deliciously lighter venue and the wider aisles, it was the crowds of keen and eager freefrom-ers who were responsible for most of the squeeze.
As exhibitors, presenters of the FreeFrom Skincare Awards’ winners and, on Sunday, front-woman for an excellent presentation for Action Against Allergy by Dr Marie Wheeler on paediatric allergy (apart from being very knowledgable, she was a genius at getting people to ask questions!) – we were very much part of the Allergy Show organisation – so had a slightly different take on the event to the many visitors. While I will therefore offer you a few brief thoughts from our perspective, for very thorough visitor reviews of both the show and many of the exhibiting products I refer you to the excellent blogs at What Allergy?, YesNoBananas, and GlutenFreeB .
From our point of view – from behind our rows of FreeFrom Skincare Awards testing products – the show was excellent. Lots of interested and involved consumers wanting test out balms and creams, and lots more anxious to fill in Cressida’s ‘freefrom food in vending machines’ questionnaire and fulminate about how there was never anything they could eat in the vending machines they met. (For more on this see yesterdays’ blog on vending.) The show also gives us an excellent opportunity to catch up with freefrom manufacturers and retailers that we already work with and to check out both new food and new skincare products.
The three blogs above give a pretty good run down of the more exciting new food products at the show. All three mention Venice Bakery, very newly arrived from Los Angeles with their thin and crispy gluten, dairy, egg and soya free pizzas – both bases and topped pizzas! Really delicious… We also really liked the new gluten-free (and dairy/soya but not egg)-free bread from Ireland BFree. (Interestingly yet another Irish gluten-free bread was on show at the Free From Food show in Freiburg earlier in the week – more anon.)
The newly launched Food Heaven soya ice cream stand (think latter day Swedish Glace) was next door to us and was mobbed from the moment the show opened! Excellent vanilla and raspberry flavours, plus chocolate mousses and cheesecakes – fuller reviews in the pipeline on FreeFromFoodsmatter. (Their Sicilian Lemon Cheesecake was a winner at last year’s FreeFrom Food Awards.)
In terms of new small manufacturers, Cressida got very excited over Heck’s sausages (so small they they have not even got a website up and running yet) while I got very excited over the thought that either the Port Royal veggy patties or the wonderful Rita’s Fugason vegetarian pasta pies (thin layer of soft pastry enclosing delicious veggie fillings), both of whom were exhibiting in the V-Delcious part of the show, might soon become available in a gluten-free version. Cressida was also enthusing about the new Ilumi range of gluten, dairy and nut-free ready meals from Tanfield Foods, and about….. and about…… But I shall not go on as if I do, I might never finish. However, we will be reviewing all of the new products both from existing and new manufacturers over the next few months so just stay tuned in and you will get all the low down!
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about the skincare aspect of the event, check in to the FreeFrom Skincare awards site for the winners of this year’s awards (pictured below) and to the Skins Matter blog where Alex has already reported on the show and the awards.
Meanwhile – well done to the Allergy & Freefrom Show team – a really well organised and successful event! And now we are all looking forward to Liverpool in October….