- The 19th edition of Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2018, held at London's Kensington Olympia 2nd-4th September, was as ripe a source of inspiration as ever – with a number of new trends on show.
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This year’s show was host to 10,005 industry professionals and over 700 innovative and varied products. The number of attendees to the three-day affair increased significantly from the previous year, with 64% of independent retailers, buyers, and caterers relying on trade fairs to find innovations in the food and drink world. Among the myriad of fascinating new foods, flavours, and findings, certain trends emerged that help define the shape of the contemporary fine food and drink scene.
With 3.5 million vegans in the UK this year (a leap from 540,000 in 2016) and a market tendency towards reducing added sugar, free-from products pervaded the fair. Moveena Nutrition launched a turmeric fudge that is both vegan and sugar-free, while the Painted Peacock offered both non-vegan and vegan options of luxury chocolate and Red Pepper produced gluten-free Italian craft beer. Skinny Cook brought visitors an apple cider that vegan, coeliac, and diabetic friendly. Norty Puds, overall winner of Start-Up Spotlight, is itself a free-from and vegan pudding pot producer.
Another trend at the fair is the lean towards healthy and fresh foods. Growers Garden premiered broccoli crisps made from fresh broccoli, a first in the world, while Fruit Pig Butchers presented itself as the only black pudding producer in the UK to use fresh blood. The Overall Winner of the Fresh Discovery Awards, chosen by a panel of judges, went to Single Variety Co for its Lemon Drop Chilli Jam which has more fruit and less sugar than traditional jams. The People’s Choice for the award went to Picualia for its Pure Extra Virgin Olive, which has three times the antioxidants of other olive oils.
One major trend that cropped up is an ethical focus by emerging companies. Transparency, ethical-sourcing, giving back to the community all featured into several businesses’ structure. High-nutrient chocolate bar producers Nu+cao aim to plant one million trees in Madagascar by December of this year, pledging to plant one for every chocolate bar sold and already having planted 200,000 so far. Mydorable launched a range of lollipops sold in tins that look like traditional school pencil cases, a link to them donating half their sales proceeds to Ethiopian schools. Berkshire Blend, whose non-alcoholic spirit alternative taps into the growing trend for non-alcoholic beverages, donates 5% of its profits to mental-health charity Mind.
Holly Shackleton, editor of Speciality Food said, “These trends demonstrate that the tide is turning against inferior quality, marketing-led food and drink products. Consumers are more conscious than ever of what they’re buying in terms of transparency, quality and nutritional value, and it’s great to see this changing the priorities of brands. Even more exciting is the move towards business models which benefit the wider world, not just shareholders – we would all like to see a positive change in the world, and if this can be achieved using great-tasting, high quality food and drink all the better.”
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