Following the tremendous success of this year’s Speciality & Find Food Fair, plans are now under way for the 17th speciality spectacular, which will take place in September 2016.
A record breaking number of fine food and artisan producers took part in the Fair, representing a vibrant showcase for the speciality sector. Thousands of buyers, wholesalers and chefs also swept through the doors, where they discovered new trends from marshmallows and make-your-own kits, to teas and waters. The Fair also heralded developments in the growing health and nutrition and free from sectors.
As well as the excitement of the event itself, it also took on a life of its own on social channels, especially on Twitter. The Fair trended throughout its three day run, and even scooped the coveted top spot on Twitter two times.
Speciality & Fine Food Fair is a launch pad for many new and innovative young food and drink brands. This year they included six new businesses who won a coveted place on The Grocery Accelerator business mentoring programme. They took part in two days of nail-biting live Dragons' Den-style pitches. The winners were Taking the Pea – a range of savoury pea flavoured snacks; Naturelly - a natural, jelly treat for children; Saltrite - a 100 per cent salt substitute; Jim Jams - a range of healthier spreads; Equinox Kombucha - a fermented tea, using herbal infusions and fruit juices, and Polar Pops - artisan ice lollies made from fresh fruit and vegetables. They have also each secured a £60,000 investment, to boost and grow their business.
Paddy Willis, for The Grocery Accelerator, comments: "It has been an exciting finale at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, in our search for the next generation of food and drink brands. Now our six winners have been confirmed, their food and drink journey really begins."
The newly-named Fine Food Live, hosted by freelance chef Steve Walpole, was packed with live cookery demonstrations from other top chefs, including James Golding and Steven Bennett. There was also a Small Business Forum, which provided a stage for industry experts to provide guidance to the entrepreneurial and business-owner audience. This was alongside a Business Mentoring Centre for free one-to-one business advice to visitors. On the final day, visitors and producers were able to see the Great Taste 2015 Supreme Champion - James Whelan's Beef Dripping.
Speciality Chocolate Fair, located on the upper floor of Olympia National, saw hundreds of chocolate producers showcasing their products including Rococo and Simply Chocolate. Hosted by author and presenter Will Torrent, there were also live cookery demonstrations from chocolatiers, including Mattheiu de Gottal and Barry Johnson. The stunning centrepiece was a life size chocolate baby elephant, which won a herd of admirers. The sweet creation was the artistic handiwork of master chocolatiers Philippe Wall, Jean-Marie Dessard and Thierry Spierkel.
Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, says: "This year we moved to our new home at Olympia National which has given us the opportunity to grow the Fair - and we are absolutely delighted with the feedback that we have had from visitors and suppliers alike, many of whom have already confirmed their attendance for next year. The wealth and quality of food and drink products on display has been inspiring, and it’s great to see so many new trends emerging. It just goes to show that this is a sector that is enjoying well deserved success."
The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2015 is set to be the biggest show yet with exhibitor numbers already up 25% on 2014.
The exhibition, which will see over 250 speciality food suppliers promote their products to potential stockists, is being held at the NEC, Birmingham, from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22md April.
Exhibitors already confirmed range from artisan jam makers, crisp producers and bakers through to soft drinks and tea manufacturers. They include established names as well as new companies looking to gain listings for their innovative and original food and drink products. In addition, the show will be growing its machinery, packaging and equipment offering along with services through to knives, furniture and flooring.
As well as the exhibitors the show will also host the Farm Shop & Deli Live area where an exciting and comprehensive programme of demonstrations, live debates and tastings will be hosted. All of the activities are focused on helping retailers improve their bottom line.
The Farm Shop & Deli Live will also incorporate the Dragon’s Pantry and the announcement of the overall winner of the Farm Shop & Deli Awards. At Dragon’s Pantry daring entrepreneurs pitch their new product ideas to a panel of industry experts. Producers will be advised on how to do the perfect pitch before being brought before the Dragons. They then have fifteen minutes in the Pantry for their presentation, question and answer session, tasting and summing up.
The overall winner of the Farm Shop & Deli Awards will be announced on the Monday afternoon of the show. The awards, now in their second year, recognise the best retailers in this sector by looking at category and regional winners before appointing an overall winner. The awards are held in partnership with Olives Et Al, with category sponsors Pidy Hider and Lakeland Computers. They recognise the very best standards in the UK’s independent, speciality retail market. The awards celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement, offered by our heroes of the high street.
Jack Halliday, event director, says, “This is a great opportunity for food retailers in this sector to see what new food products and companies are out there, all under one roof. Combined with the theatre of Farm Shop & Deli Live and the Farm Shop & Deli Awards it gives ideas and inspiration to retailers and celebrates the success of local, independent specialist retailers.
“The estimated sales of food in this sector in the UK are £5.7 billion, with local food retailing supporting around 103,000 full and part-time jobs. Combine these statistics with the fact that consumers are increasingly trusting locally grown and sourced foods more, post the food issues of the past couple of years, and you see that the independent sector is important to the local and national economy. We’re proud to support this sector in creating this show and developing independent food retail for the future.”
Visitors can register free at farmshopanddelishow.co.uk.