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Independent retailers, speciality wholesalers, international ambassadors and more than 450 producers met up in person for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2021.
The two-day event was jam-packed with inspiring products, innovative businesses and exciting new launches. Attendees like Robert Gosling of Hartington Creamery voiced positivity at returning to ‘normal’ events. “It was only my second visit to Speciality & Fine Food Fair, and how wonderful, with what we have all been through the last 18 months, to be able to get back to some kind of normality,” he said.
“Whilst we have all got used to meetings via Zoom, the Fair reminded us all how important personal contact is in business. We aren’t just suppliers and customers, we are people with a passion, a purpose and a story behind the great food we nurture and it was great to showcase it!” he added.
Day one of the event saw Margot & Montañez, supplier of artisan South American alfajores and other sweet treats, win Pitch Live sponsored by Virgin StartUp. “All the judges were blown away by the level of professionalism of the pitches,” said Lissa Gillot, head of funding and support at Virgin StartUp. “All of them were skilfully put together and well thought out, all the candidates could have been winners.”
The Fair also featured the inaugural winners of the Speciality & Fine Food Fair Awards. Cilgwenyn Bee Farm secured Rising Sustainability Star, Slate Cheese was awarded Independent Retailer of the Year, Hawkhead Whisky Smoked Black Garlic Salt won Product of the Year and Origin Coffee Roasters’ head of coffee Freda Yuan was awarded Outstanding Industry Champion for her work supporting producers and advocating for the coffee industry.
Stefano Cuomo, CEO of Macknade, said it was a treat to be back at the first in-person event since 2019. “The range of producers on show, from start-up SMEs to the bigger institutions, was as enthusing as ever and it was great to rekindle relationships as well as make brand new friends. This year felt fresh and energising, exactly what the sector needed,” he said.
Sam Steggles, owner of Norfolk’s Goat Shed farm shop, added, “As a first timer to Speciality & Fine Food Fair I was overwhelmed by the positivity, creativeness and passion that every producer shared especially given the last 18 months. We were so impressed with products that we discovered that we placed multiple orders for immediate delivery to the Goat Shed farm shop and kitchen.”
Speciality & Fine Food Fair returns to Olympia London on 5th-6th September 2022.
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