Last weekend saw one of the biggest health shows in the UK return to London Olympia! Taking place over 3 days, The Allergy & Free From Show is THE show to attend if you have allergies or intolerances.
Producers within the free from arena use the Allergy Show to showcase their most popular products, and also to bring their new products to market and get a feel of what consumers think.
Attendees can also speak to specialists from charities such as Allergy UK, and get much needed advice and support. Not only that, it is also a fantastic day out for all the family.
Sounds wonderful doesn’t it!
The Allergy Show London, took place 7th – 9th July, and London Olympia became a hive of activity. It is the biggest of the Allergy Shows on the calendar, with sister shows taking place in Liverpool, Glasgow and Berlin. Having run for over 10 years, the show is the highlight of the summer, and eagerly anticipated by all who attend.
With 3 packed days of fun, advice, shopping, learning and more it was always going to be a winner.
Ever since our allergies journey began, I have always attended the show. At first it was with Callum, as I learned of his needs, and tried to find a good balance for him. Now Callum stays at home, as I am more often than not seen running from one side of Olympia to the other, supporting various clients. The core reason for me being there still hasn’t changed though, and that is to champion the successes of the free from world.
The Allergy Show team work tirelessly all year to bring even better events for those of us in the allergy and intolerance world, and it shows! The calibre of the allergy shows are impressive to say the least. They’re run like clockwork, increase in footfall year on year, and attract ever more brands. It’s also THE place for brands to launch new products and bring to market the ideas they’ve been working on.
What we got up to
This year I attended all 3 days, with the majority of my time taken up with supporting some of my lovely clients, but I also got to catch up with some lovely friends within the allergy world, including Vicki (Free From Fairy), Nina (Eat Allergy Safe), Elvin (Freedom Mallows), the team at Foods Matter, and some of the wonderful free from bloggers!
I was honoured this year, as for the 1st time, I was invited to present in the Learning Centre. I chose to talk about 'Living with multiple allergies successfully’ alongside my good friend Steve Walpole, as for me it is so important to show the positive side of learning how to live with allergies. We were very grateful to have a full house, and a receptive audience that was keen to get advice and support. If you were there, thank you so much for your support!
On Saturday we had the annual bloggers meet up, and the chance to catch up with what we've all been getting up to. It also gives the producers the opportunity to meet the very audience able to provide them with a huge reach and efffectively use us as part of their marketing strategy. If we're all shouting about a particular product, then chances are you will reach millions across our social media profiles, thus boosting the profile of products! There were certainly a number of products that we were all impressed with!
A group of us also had the opportunity to join Tesco at their Taste Lounge, where we were invited to try out their new ready meals. It didn't disappoint! Delicous katsu curry, pulled pork bolognese, ice cream and chocolate fondant, all from their free from range. What's not to love?!
Prior to the show I always write a list of who I want to meet and check out the new products coming to market. It helps me to stay focused and not miss out on any new products or companies to be aware of.
Once the show is over, I like to share any details of new products that I’ve discovered, or give details about products that I know will be launching soon.
There are two companies in particular at this year’s show that have seriously impressed me and deserve to be shouted about from the roof tops!
The first is The Saucy Affair Raw Sauce Company which was set up by the inspirational Tanya Lambert, who wanted to make sure that her mother-in-law didn’t miss out on tasty food just because she needed to be gluten free. Tanya took it one step further though, and ensured that her product was super healthy and made the most of fresh ingredients for her children too. The result is an impressive selection of sauces that taste truly amazing. It is a brand new product range to market and they are literally taking the culinary world by a storm.
Now, as regular readers will know, I champion products that are safe for Callum, and incredibly, 2 of these sauces are ‘Callum safe’ so they definitely deserve to have a very loud shout out. This doesn’t happen often, so I urge you to go and see for yourself!
I’ve been fortunate enough to try the full range, and not only do they all taste fantastic, they’re also incredibly versatile so the foodies among us will have great fun experimenting with them. The sauces can also be frozen, so you know that you’ll always have them to hand.
The second company in my recommended list is Freaks of Nature who only brought their products to market 3 months ago! Determined to improve the dessert options for people who are careful about what they eat as well as allergies and intolerances, founder Peter spent a year crowd funding before building a purpose-built factory and bringing 3 iconic flavours to market – Zingy Thingy, Cocoa Loco, and Mango Fandango. The names alone are a winner, they sound so much fun don’t they! In just 18 months Freaks of Nature were in business and selling in Tesco, Planet Organic, Waitrose and online.
The puds are also approved by the Vegan Society and Coeliac UK to name a few. With impressive credentials this early on, I think these guys could be strong contenders for FFFA18! What do you think?
A few years ago, the Allergy & Free From Show was considered to be very geared towards a gluten free lifestyle only. Other allergies and intolerances seemingly didn’t get much of a look in. I think we can all say that this has now changed for the better.
This year in particular had a vast array of stands that could cater for most allergies, with the smaller artisan product creators in particular, proud to prove this point!
I think it is fantastic to see how much the free from world has evolved. We all know that it is a £billion+ market, and to know that companies are taking on board all of the feedback that we’re providing is very encouraging!
At the start of Callum’s journey, it was very hard to find safe food for him, and more often than not I would need to make all of his food from scratch.
To know that safe food is now out there and more products are regularly being created and coming to market is wonderful!
Would you agree with me? Do you think things have improved for the better?