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The Speciality & Fine Food Fair celebrated a landmark birthday last week and the show provided a special 20th anniversary edition at Olympia, London. The event held between 1 and 3 September attracted over 10,000 visitors, food producers, exhibitors, speakers and VIPs.
The Fair has always had an excellent reputation as an environment to reach out and make connections with existing or potential new partners and customers. As a result, The Speciality & Fine Food Fair is eagerly anticipated by those involved in artisan and speciality produce. These include independent retailers, chefs, delicatessens, hoteliers, importers, restaurateurs, distributors and wholesalers. Each are given the unique opportunity to source, network and get up to date with the latest trends.
2019 saw nine Welsh artisan food and drink companies exhibiting under the Food & Drink Wales banner. The country has a long established status at the show for innovation and this year was no different. Halen Môn, the Anglesey Sea Salt Company launched DIY Brine kits for Christmas poultry. While Daioni Organic showcased its coffee range with 100% Fairtrade single-origin organic Arabica coffee beans from Mexico.
South Caernarfon Creameries featured its new handcrafted range of cheeses. These include Dragon Cavern Aged Cheddar with Penderyn Whiskey and Dragon Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar. The Parsnipship showcased its full range of vegetarian and vegan produce such as Glamorgan Crumble, stilton and spinach potato cake and tandoori mash-up.
The Welsh Government supported the nine companies to attend Speciality & Fine Food Fair in the dedicated Cymru/Wales Pavilion.
Seminars and Features
Elsewhere at the Fair, the Food for Thought speaker programme featured successful entrepreneurs and industry experts. Their topics covered sustainability, the reduction of food waste, customisation, plant-based food, fermentation and Made in Great Britain.
The Savour the Flavour live demonstration kitchen created dishes inspired by products from the show. The Fair’s portfolio director, Soraya Gadelrab commented: “Kitchens are so vibrant. It’s all about the taste and visual appeal of dishes so we’re delighted to translate this directly at the fair through the live demo kitchen…the Food for Thought programme offers an unrivalled insight into the latest trends set to influence menus, from fine to casual dining”.
In recognition of the expanding success of the booming drinks market, the Drinks Cabinet returned for its second year. This features luxury small and large batch spirits, beers, ales, wines and ciders, as well as the burgeoning low- and no-mixers and soft drinks sectors.
The Discovery Zone enabled visitors to find innovative brands created in the past three years. It included everything from antipasti to oils, seasonings, cheese and charcuterie, dairy and dairy alternatives and fish and seafood.
The Shop of the Year competition had a stand. It offers small independent retailers the opportunity to shine, with five main categories, namely delicatessen and grocer; specialist cheese shop; farmer owned farm shop; food hall; and specialist food or drink shop. There is also a Newcomer Award. Entries close on September 20th. So if you missed the Fair, there’s still time to enter the Awards to celebrate your success and generate more interest.
Yet again, the NEC surpassed all expectations with its five-in-one show, the Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019, incorporating Foodex, Food and Drink Expo, The Ingredients Show and the National Convenience Show. The event took place from 8 to 10 April. It returned for its ninth year as the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, garden centres, farm shops, restaurants, food halls, bakeries and butcheries.
This year saw more than 450 suppliers exhibiting. These encompassed all core food categories and contemporary trend categories; including candles, stationery, furniture and home goods, together with equipment, labelling and packaging.
2019 placed heavy emphasis on healthy and natural produce with exhibitors showcasing their products in the ‘Healthy & Natural’ area. There were plenty of natural, vegan-friendly snacks on display for this year’s hot trend.
Back by popular demand, the Show featured the British Baker’s Britain’s Best Loaf 2019. Over 150 bakers entered in a range of categories, including Best Sourdough, Best Wholegrain and Best Gluten Free Loaf. The overall winner was a wholemeal sourdough created by East Sussex’s Poppyseed Bakery.
The Dragon’s Pantry slot saw competitors presenting their best new product ideas in a 15-minute pitch in. The reward for successful pitchers was winning professional advice on the best route to market.
Of course, the renowned Farm Shop & Deli Awards were eagerly awaited. Back for their sixth year, they recognise the very best independent retailers. There were 12 category winners: baker, butcher, cheesemonger, delicatessen, farm shop large retailer of the year, farm shop small retailer of the year, fishmonger, food hall, greengrocer, local shop or village store, newcomer of the year and online business of the year. Overall winner was Cannon Hall Farm Shop from Barnsley.
The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Live stage witnessed a host of industry leaders sharing their thoughts and experience. These ranged from ethical eating, the rise of gin and tapping into the healthy appetite for the wellness market. Top of the bill was the ‘Plastic to palm oil’ discussion addressing consumers’ current eco-worries. The ‘Healthier beer’ discussion was another popular talk. This gave insight into the importance of burgeoning brews from gluten free to zero alcohol.
At the National Convenience Show, the Retailer Hub hosted a number of sessions including a discussion on ‘Success after Brexit: What’s next for food and grocery’. This highlighted the risks posed to the sector in a post-Brexit reality.
Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Commercial Director Mat Rose said: “The ongoing trend for artisan produce, provenance and entrepreneurial innovation has not slowed down in recent years and we are delighted to bring the Farm Shop & Deli Show back in 2019 to provide a platform for all the exciting companies and retailers who have devoted their careers to this sector.
Next year’s show is already recruiting; so if you want to exhibit or book tickets for the event, register your interest here.
17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.
Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.
Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink
Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.
The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.
Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.
One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.
As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.
Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”
IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.
Why bother attending other shows when the Source Show 2019 offered “everything a food or hospitality business could want” all in one place! The show was held at the Westpoint venue in Exeter from 6 to 7 February. As the South West’s largest show of its kind, it has expanded by 35% over the past two years.
Source Show 2019 offered a range of products and services, from produce to furniture and innovative equipment as well as this year’s kitchen design trends and the most advanced business services. Visitors and exhibitors flocked to the show, not only from the South West, but from other parts of the UK and internationally.
The Source Show 2019 gave visitors the opportunity to discover quality local products with fascinating provenance stories and to meet passionate producers and knowledgeable suppliers face-to-face. This year was no disappointment with a spread of comparative tastings, networking opportunities and inspirational experiences; and a fair few new faces on the exhibition market.
The Newcomers’ area showcased new companies from the South West that have never exhibited at a trade show before. Exmoor Distillery is a small family run distillery located in the Somerset countryside. Here all products are distilled, bottled, labelled and distributed including the premium quality Northmoor Gin first launched in July 2018.
Just Desserts is an independent rural business delivering artisan cakes and slices to cafes, delicatessens, farm shops and outdoor caterers throughout Somerset and Devon. It uses organic flours, free range eggs and locally sourced ingredients.
The Wholesome Baker produces luxury, light and tasty pastries from a Master Baker with 35 years experience. There is the option of ready baked or ready to bake with all products freshly frozen to encapsulate the flavours. New for 2019 are gluten, sugar free and vegan product options.
Recipes for success were served up in the Demo Kitchen with advice, inspiration and culinary innovation on display. Students mingled with experts to create some mouth-watering menus. These included Cornish hake, celeriac and apple with a Somerset cider sauce from Sophie Kennard, South West Student/Apprentice Chef of the Year at Devon & Exeter College and The Swan, Bampton.
Overall South West Chef of the Year and South West Professional Chef of the Year, Tim Kendall countered this with a dish of duck with blackberry, celeriac and endive and John Dory, Jerusalem artichoke, jasmine and sorrel. There were also multiple talks, demonstrations and tastings of the nation’s favourite tipple, gin, as well as a pasty crimping competition and a butchery masterclass.
Next year’s show is already scheduled for 6-7 Feb 2020 and if this year is anything to go by, it will be a roaring success and bigger and better than ever before. For details on exhibiting and visiting, visit the Source Show website.
Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about the Great British pub industry. Not only are there 49,500 pubs in the UK but beer and pubs contribute £22bn to the UK’s GDP. They generate £13bn in tax revenue with the sector supporting around 900,000 jobs. At any given time, 0.7% of the world is drunk which makes 50 million people drunk right now!
Last week, Olympia played host to PUB19, the only dedicated show for the UK pub industry. With 200 exhibitors and a host of seminars, PUB19 offered an important opportunity to keep up-to-date with the latest trends, share ideas, network and gain inspiration. First launched in 2015 to celebrate the UK pub industry’s innovations, products, trends, services and people; PUB brings together key trade associations, decision makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, pub owners and pub companies.
Pub19 Talks and Workshops
This year was a huge success, with great attention paid to the talks and workshops. These ranged from improving the pub experience, using social media and offering the latest in pub food trends. One talk that proved popular was entitled Profit is in the Kitchen held in the PUB Trends Bar, in partnership with Fever-Tree. It focused on making sure the kitchen is as profitable and efficient as possible to make food enticing, appetising and current.
Another insightful talk came from Tim Martin, veteran pub landlord and founder and chairman of Britain’s largest pub chain, J D Wetherspoon. Growth in the Face of Adversity shared his views on the recipe for success, deserting social media and the impact of Brexit. With uncertainty ahead, he motioned the changes that must be met whatever the outcome of the move.
The Taste Table was particularly popular. Tastings emerged as the most popular consumer experience for pub-goers according to the 2019 PUB Trends Survey. The hands-on sessions were aimed at those looking for advice, training and inspiration around great food and drink.
The sessions were targeted at keeping visitors up-to-date with the latest trends. They included tastings of alcohol free spirits, or distilled botanicals. This is one of the fastest growing segment of the entire drinks industry; with the value of alcohol free spirits sold in the UK growing from £17.5 million to £25.9 million in the year to June 2018. However, there was probably more attendance at the gin tasting event!
More Useful Facts
To end, here are a few more facts to digest: around 13 million tourists visit pubs every year. 82% of the beer sold in the UK is made in the UK. 20 million pints of beer are enjoyed every day brewed from the 1113 breweries operating in Britain. And my particular favourite: there is a cloud of alcohol in outer space which is enough to make four trillion-trillion drinks. Let it rain.
PUB20 is already in place for next February. So be sure you book the days to visit or exhibit well in advance.
The BBC Good Food Shows have kicked off the season. Last week, it was the turn of the NEC to host one of the most eagerly-awaited food shows of the year.
With Christmas just around the corner, the flagship Winter Show offered a feast for visitors of produce and entertainment. Top chefs joined exhibitors to present a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. These included demonstrations, new products and fabulous retail opportunities.
The Birmingham Winter Show combined the UK’s greatest cookery experts, with plenty of festive inspiration and live entertainment in the Big Kitchen and other stages. Greeting visitors to the NEC was the show’s new contribution, Street Food. Brand new for 2018, delicious street food made a successful appearance at the Show. An army of street food vendors in the outside areas, brought a huge selection of ready to eat food for all visitors.
The Big Kitchen is always the highlight of the show. Here top celebrity chefs cook festive recipes and share tips for seasonal winter foods. Tom Kerridge and Michael Roux Junior were just two of the famous names demonstrating their skills to the public. The highlight was the demonstration by everyone’s favourite Bake Off judge, Mary Berry.
This year, the Big Kitchen was sponsored by Travelsphere, who offered additional free themed sessions to the menu. This included a taste of India with Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, award-winning Pan-Indian restaurant in London and also Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The River Restaurant (in Goa). A taste of Spain was presented by José Pizarro described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking.
BBC Good Food Stage
Barney Desmazery hosted the BBC Good Food stage. There, he offered live interviews into our favourite chefs’ success and seasonal advice from some local foodie experts too. The sessions involved an interview with Nadiya Hussain and a masterclass from Stacie Stewart.
The BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant offered a sit-down meal, of two or three courses, inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from the country’s leading food website, www.bbcgoodfood.com. The succulent menu presented delights such as:
- chicken, leek, smoked bacon and apricot terrine with watercress salad,
- baked goat’s cheese with beetroot, honey and thyme and
- main courses including garlic cheese-stuffed turkey breast wrapped in pancetta, with parmesan roast potatoes, buttered sprouts and glazed carrots.
The Winter Kitchen, sponsored by Magimix inspired by a range of seasonal dishes for the festive season with contributions from Mary Berry, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith amongst many other top chefs. Complementary to this was the Skills School where a number of experts shared their secrets from knife skills with Zwilling to sourdough masterclasses.
At AC Services Southern, we think it’s always a good idea to attend the Good Food Shows. These help us to learn new trends and to judge consumer reactions. That way our business never gets stale.
Boutique hotels are categorised as small and intimate establishments, far away from the mighty conglomerates that appear in every town and city of the UK. These hotels are usually located in the most hip and fashionable urban areas. Their charm generally lies in their stylish design decor and personal touches that distinguish them from other hotel brands.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1981 that the first official boutique hotel opened in London.
Over the past two years, the sector has seen stellar growth. Independent hotel rooms still comprise more than half of the serviced accommodation rooms in the UK. The Independent Hotel Show managed to encapsulate the enthusiasm for the future development of the sector.
Over the two days seminars addressed relevant topics and offered advice to independent and boutique hotel owners and managers. These seminars covered everything, from managing websites to design using limited space, offering the best service possible and tips and tactics to ramp up food and beverage options to keep menus fresh.
Among the more interesting discussions was one on trends for the future. A hotel stay is more than just a room for the night and customers expect more than just the basic levels. Guests want to know what else is on offer. This has led to the rise of combination hotels. A basic example is the hotel and spa. This has expanded to giddy heights such as a hotel and art gallery in Beijing and a hotel and perfumery in Paris. These hotels are now known as slashy hotels. This term first came to prominence in the film, Zoolander, where it referred to model/actors.
On a more local level, visitors want to book a whole experience in one place. The 2018 Independent Hotel Show offered invaluable advice on how hotels can best offer local expertise and knowledge via local experience packages. The Show also focused on the importance of technology offering convenience. These include being able to control the temperature and lighting in the room via apps, and virtual concierge to allow guests to make requests quickly without needing to leave the room.
Other trends involve pop-up hotels, especially those associated with festivals or other events. This trend is complemented by glamping, described as a hybrid of camping and hotel-stays. For the catering industry, this is a major opportunity, especially for mobile caterers in the locality.
Finally, the centrepiece of the 2018 Independent Hotel Show was the Hotel Bedroom of the Future immersive installation. Luxury bedroom specialists Two’s Company built this “inspired by the results of several intense research sessions with industry experts”.
It barely seems any time at all since the last Restaurant Show but apparently, it has been a whole year. And last week, it returned to Olympia in London. The Restaurant Show 2018 incorporated The Bar and Pub Show and the Catering Equipment Expo.
These three brought the hospitality industry together. Catering for those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, pub, bars and hospitality establishments across the UK.
As always, the event attracted hordes of visitors for companies showcasing their products. Seminar subjects were wide ranging. From digital storytelling: the secret ingredient for social media success to what’s next for casual dining and some strong advice on creating the ultimate cheeseboard!
Other topics included combining the art of hospitality with smarter technology and the influence of the fast-moving world of coffee as well as the importance of the correct background music to create exactly the right ambience.
National Chef of the Year
One of the highlights of the three-day event was the National Chef of the Year competition. This has been running since 1972 and has become one of the UK’s most respected and sought-after culinary titles.
The ceremony saw Kuba Winkowski, head chef from The Feathered Nest Inn crowned as the new National Chef of the Year. His menu included native lobster, oyster emulsion, Yorkshire grouse, quince, and sticky toffee dessert. The runner-up spot went to George Blogg, head chef at Gravetye Manor. With Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle taking third place in the dramatic cook-off.
The Catering Equipment Expo proved to be the place to get a great deal on the latest products. A range of catering equipment was on display, from cookers to fridges and those strange-looking but essential items that only a cook can recognise. Among the exhibitors was Rational displaying its SelfCooking Center and VarioCooking Centers.
Food Glorious Food
Food and drink, obviously were plentiful with over 400 suppliers exhibiting at this year’s event. New products included Drunken Dairy Ltd’s selection of booze-infused dairy and free-from ice creams and vegan sorbets. The Handmade Cake Company launched its Vegan Belgian Chocolate Cake, specially designed to be 100% vegan.
The Restaurant Show 2018 celebrated its 30th birthday with an abundance of products, seminars and events aimed at anyone involved in the catering industry. Visitors were delighted with the range of advice and new initiatives aimed at maintaining the restaurant industry’s standards in the modern world, with everything needed to sustain a successful business under one roof at Olympia.
Innovation has always been the catchword for this Show. Exhibitors, seminars, live demos and new features all showcase the latest in the food industry. Billed as the number one event for business growth and expansion in the food profession, the Show was well attended by a range of food and drink entrepreneurs striving for success.
The Show ranges from the food demo arena to the franchise area, where there were businesses opportunities for sale aplenty. From sustainability through to plant-based sustenance to plastic straws, it seemed there was no subject matter left unturned.
The Delivery Zone focused on the increasing demand for delivery with more restaurants providing this option to their customers. The zone highlighted the many suppliers of the transport to get food to the customer. It also included new packaging methods to keep the food safe along the way.
The Show had discussions touching on a variety of contemporary issues. Many of these featured advances in technology as a baseline. For instance, the discussion on how to leave better feedback at a restaurant brought up digital comment boxes, such as Blurtbox. This is an intuitive app that allows guests to log in and leave private, anonymous feedback. The restaurant can then respond to these in real time. The app is centred upon the massive impact of smartphone usage, which is perfect for the modern consumer.
One of the most interesting and modern issues featured street food. A street food trader was frustrated with the outdated process of finding a pitch so he founded StreetDots. This has resulted in a network of premium trading pitches or ‘dots’ to be booked via an app. The technology gives traders the freedom to trade with no long-term commitment.
Another seminar covered the way technology helps retain staff and customers, as what happens at the table is key to their satisfaction. Customers want their order to be taken quickly and accurately. Staff want to be equipped with technology that works quickly and efficiently making their jobs easier. The forum suggested many ways to improve the service, for example by centralising customer information, analytics and marketing database in one system. Or investing in intuitive touchscreen interfaces, making them easier for staff to use and which are less likely to cause problems for customers.
Technology and innovation were at the forefront of the Food Entrepreneur Show 2018, with ideas and advice on how to ensure that the catering industry is up to date with new ideas and techniques to keep up with modern demands from discerning customers.
The sun was out and the town of Malvern was buzzing for the Food & Drink Trade Show 2018. The spectacular Three Counties Showground hosted the event, one of the most picturesque venues in the country, nestled at the bottom of the Malvern Hills.
The show was billed as a “unique blend of inspirational speciality food and drink products” with exhibitors coming from both the UK and internationally. There was plenty on show in all categories: fresh fish, patisserie, confectionery, the list was endless.
New for 2018 was the opportunity for buyers to see a selection of products exclusively from the three counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. The producers from these regions showcased their regional products to the hordes of visitors who attended the show. Existing suppliers mingled with new exhibitors, with nine newcomers this year, who had never before exhibited at a trade show.
One of the newcomers was Colcombe House Cider, an emerging craft producer founded by Kier Rogers using apples hand selected from single estate orchards. The company feeds the trees with organic seaweed to help encourage growth and minimise stress.
Healthy Recipes exhibited MezzeSoul, a fresh pomegranate juice sauce brand. MezzeSoul pomegranate products are based on the legacy of Lebanese cuisine and are made entirely from natural ingredients with no artificial colourants and no preservatives.
Moveena Nutrition showcased healthy nutritious snacks handmade with 100% natural ingredients only, without any sugar, in a range of flavours such as Cranberrynutty, Walnutberry and Linseed fruity. Gluten and nut free and vegan options are available.
Finally, we must mention Welsh comapny Tast Natur . They create artisan botanical syrups from foraged and homegrown plants to add to food and drinks. The syrups use seasonal plants and are created in small batches, so new and exclusive products are continuously created throughout the year. Flavours include Lavender Latte, a Nettle G&T or a Rhubarb Prosecco.
In addition to the exhibitors, there was a range of chefs preparing dishes to delight the senses on the Love Food Roadshow‘s demonstration kitchen. Hosted by Celebrity Chef Felice Tocchini, the kitchen featured informative cookery demonstrations. These included “A Taste of the Three Counties – Belly of Gloucestershire old spot pig, Worcestershire honey, Hereford cider and The Taming of the Forest of Dean – Wild garlic gnocchi with roasted belly of pork, and wild garlic greens.”
For catering businesses in the north of the region served by AC Services, we recommend considering seeing whether next year’s show will build on the Food & Drink Trade Show 2018.