At the weekend we went to the allergy and free-from show in London. Two other shows; Just V and Love Natural Love Organic, were also at Olympia on 3rd – 5th July 2015.
We’ve been to this event a couple of times and it just gets better and better! This year was certainly the best show we’ve ever had.
The free-from market has grown considerably since the beginning of Pudology and this year only shows how incredibly fast it’s expanding. According to Mintel, the gluten-free food market has surged 63% in the last two years and it’s only going to get larger – good news for us free-fromers!
The buzz around this year’s allergy show was incredible. The sun was shining, the queues were flowing, and the stock was disappearing at a rate we could barely keep up with!
If you’re new to us, Pudology was created due to a need to find tasty free-from foods. Lucy Wager, creator and owner, is intolerant to eggs and dairy among many other things.
We were so busy that we ran out of stock on the first day and it was thanks to Lucy’s dad that we had extra supplies on Saturday and Sunday! After giving away hundreds of samples we left empty-handed (and with achy feet!) on Sunday evening.
We had many lovely tweeters come and see us on the stand and it was great to see the following:
Lucy only had time to have a quick mooch around and she thought these stands stood out:
- Pana Chocolate – Sensational raw chocolate in the most beautiful packaging. It’s organic, handmade, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and really smooth.
- Manna Dew – To die for gluten-free patisserie cakes – seriously beautiful, and although not dairy-free they were just so pretty that we loved them. They do French pastries, cakes, and Mediterranean food.
- Wellaby’s – Fantastic quality snacks like hummus chips, lentil chips, crackers, and dips – all made in a gluten-free facility.
- Free’d – Because they were such lovely neighbours and made the show more fun. Plus they sell tasty gluten-free crackers and crispbreads.
- Everything But The Cow – For being really friendly and having an awesome business name! They make dairy-free protein drinks with real fruit and a touch of honey. The drinks are great for when you’re on the go as they come in small bottles.
Jo, from the Pudology social media team, had a look around the show on Sunday, and these were her highlights:
- Live Gluten Free The UK’s largest independent gluten- free directory. Contains info on places to eat, stay, recipes, and products. There’s also a handy mobile app, a newsletter and a blog you can subscribe to.
- Can I eat there? A new online restaurant directory which makes it easier for people with food allergies and intolerances to find out where they can eat, and what they can eat when they get there. You can leave restaurant reviews to help others decide if they can eat there, and if you’re a keen food blogger you can tell your readers about good places you’ve found. To find out more, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Retro Corn -Handmade popcorn coated with crushed sweets. It’s gluten-free, low calorie, and suitable for vegans. Great if you have a sweet tooth, and comes in handy packets for when you’re on the go.
- Inspiral have a huge range and a particular favourite was the fantastic raspberry coconut pecks, which are air dried raw coconut chips with a tangy raspberry coating. They come in small packets like crisps and we’re looking forward to trying the other flavours too.
- Lab Pizza – Really crispy, organic stonebaked pizza which is a total treat for gluten-free people. They couldn’t make them quickly enough and they were flying off the shelves. This was the best ‘free from’ pizza base Jo has tasted in her 10 years of searching!
We can’t finish our roundup without mentioning the supermarkets
Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco were really only there to cut up their food into smaller pieces and let the masses eat shed loads of samples!
They didn’t really need to engage with customers because there’s no real story behind what they do and there’s no personal reason for creating free-from products.
That said, they do have some great products available. Tesco’s crème caramel is worth trying as it’s veggie, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low in fat.
The plain pinky purple packaging on Asda’s free from range is nothing to write home about and looks a bit basic, but it stands out enough for us to know it’s free-from, and some of the products are pretty good, like the golden syrup flavour gluten-free breakfast porridge.
There were hundreds of fantastic stands and we’d have loved to have tasted more and chatted to more people but it was very busy so we didn’t get around everyone. If you’re not in our lists please don’t think we didn’t like your stuff – we appreciate every single person who contributes to making our industry great.
Events like the allergy show just show how important the free-from market is and what a brilliant community we’re a part of
Finding tasty food that’s suitable for your diet when you’re coeliac or intolerant is quite a task when you start out, but it’s a pleasure and very exciting to see how the market has grown in the last three or four years.
Thank you to everyone that came to see us the allergy show and thank you to the allergy show for organising such a fantastic event.
The Allergy Show is back in Liverpool later this year. We hope to be there – maybe not with the stand but we’ll be there to support.
Did you go to the allergy show?
What did you think of it?
What products do you still have issues finding?