Speciality and Fine Food Fair sees artisan confectionery and snacks launches

Crowds of top-end retailers, buyers, chefs and business owners flocked to Olympia London, UK, to tap into a world of artisan food and drink innovation, including confectionery launches at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2018.

An industry survey on the speciality food and drink market, commissioned by the team behind the Fair – now in its 19th year – revealed that 64% of independent retailers, buyers and caterers visit trade fairs to seek out new artisan food and drink produce, and that certainly seemed to be the case this year with a noticeable increase in visitor numbers compared to 2017.

Over three days, the event attracted 10,005 industry attendees – including host of The Apprentice, Lord Sugar – and more than 700 producers of speciality delights, from luxury chocolate to condiments with unique ingredients and flavours, to premium, alcoholic tipples.

One key trend that stood out at the fair was the number of producers not only putting their heart and soul into creating quality food and drink, but also being committed to giving back to the community in some form.

This trend is very much in step with consumers opting to align themselves to brands that are transparent and ethical. This isn’t anything new, but for more speciality producers this is clearly an important area that also helps them stand out against the bigger, mainstream brands that don’t have the same passion, agility and flexibility as artisan brands.

Examples include The Two Farmers, which is the only UK crisp company to use compostable packaging, and the eco-friendly team behind nutrient-dense chocolate bar Nu+cao, which has pledged to plant a tree in Madagascar for every chocolate bar it sells.

A total of 200,000 trees have been planted so far this year, with the aim of hitting the 1 million mark by December. What’s more, the brand introduced a new protein powder at the fair, called nu+pro, which is vegan and packaged in sustainable and plastic-free material. This launch joins two new chocolate bar flavours: macadamia chai and cashew vanilla.

Meanwhile, confectionery producer Mydorable launched a range of new lollypops in tins, made to look like old fashioned school pencil cases. This ties in with the brand donating half its sales proceeds to schools in Ethiopia. The company also brought its intriguing pebble chocolates to the Fair – they’re made in France and currently sold at select department stores and farm shops across the UK.

For its part, Moveena Nutrition launched its enticing vegan-friendly and sugar-free turmeric fudge, which is just one of the many flavours in the brand’s unique portfolio of ingredient combinations. The Painted Peacock, launched a classic and vegan range of luxury chocolates, including a tahini and toasted black sesame variant which caught the attention of chefs and caterers walking past the stand.

Another notable exhibitor, was Growers Garden, which showcased its brand-new broccoli crisps. Claiming a world-first, the crisps are made with fresh broccoli and come in ‘naked’, cheese, chilli and sour cream and chive flavours. The brand launches in Ocado later this year.

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