Speciality and Fine Food Fair Review – 2019
Following the usual summer lull, what better way to get back into business than with a visit to the Speciality & Fine Foods Fair? Always a welcome signal of autumn, the Speciality and Fine Food Fair each year hosts over 700 producers and suppliers of artisan food and drinks, across all categories.
Of all the trade fairs, at HRA Global we particularly like the range on offer at Speciality – the smaller, artisan product range is usually effective at forecasting new and upcoming trends, more so than the larger trade fairs with mainly established brands showcasing.
With such a huge range of products it was difficult to choose our favourites. However, we’ve picked a few that really caught our eye.
Year of the Gin
The gin market is booming with new gins everywhere you turn. Admittedly, I’m not much of a gin drinker myself, and thus before attending the exhibition, I’d never really appreciated the different tastes and flavours gin could have. With the detailed explanations of gin production and flavours many a friendly gin producer gave me, I could start to taste the differences. Although I’m still not a gin connoisseur, the Scottish Gin from Granite North was my personal gin highlight, combining Scottish Provenance with a ‘mountain’ feel.
Plant-based, Free from Foods
With the plant-based category ever growing, it was fitting that the Speciality show saw plenty on offer in the way of plant-based, free from alternatives. After trying a whole range of samples throughout the day, it’s clear to see that the gap is closing on taste differences between vegan and non-vegan foods.
Hannah’s Pantry, found in the discovery zone is a small independent start up created by Hannah. Her range of cake mixes include banana and coconut and chocolate fudge cakes. After trying them, it was hard to believe that they were vegan and gluten free! Being cake mixes they allow home bakers to create some home-made products that everyone can try without the hassle.
Obviously, Brexit was a hot topic amongst exhibitors. Many exhibitors didn’t seem to be put off by the dark cloud looming over the UK’s relationship with the EU. Many are optimistic of securing UK deals; Belgium, Spanish, French, Italian and many more nations turned up in force to offer some exciting new products.
One of the European imports that we really enjoyed was a Belgium ginger beer produced by Sulzbachers called Ginger Tipple. A strong gluten free beer that we feel has plenty to offer the UK’s pub scene.
The Discovery Zone
The discovery zone is packed full of exciting new start-ups and products. It’s described by event organisers as ‘a hub of inspiration and the future of the food industry’. I’d agree with that, as there were so many innovative products. One product that caught my eye was the gourmet marshmallows produced by Whip. A range of flavours that you wouldn’t pair with marshmallow normally but work so well. From Tequila, Pineapple, Mint & Lime to Minced pie flavour, there’s definitely a place for these in the market.
Other Top Picks
Rubis Chocolate Wine – Now I’m not a wine drinker, especially not red wine, but this wine changed my mind. It’s rich but not too rich and had a very palatable sweet after taste that left me wanting more. Definitely a product to watch out for!
The Gourmet Chocolate Pizza Company – Mixing novelty with quality is hard to crack but these guys have mastered it. Great tasting Belgium chocolate is used to make a wide range of gifts. From chocolate pizzas to hot chocolate marshmallow bombs, their range has gifts for every occasion!