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Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2014

The Speciality & Fine Food Fair has become a must-exhibit and must-attend for anyone involved in the speciality food sector. It’s a place where anyone involved in food can see an innovative array of food and drink products, brands and conceptual packaging ideas – all under one roof. It’s where food bloggers meet new food brands, buyers from the major supermarket groups head for ideas and deli owners and speciality food retailers search out the next big trend. 

As a speciality food marketing consultant, I’ve been attending the show for many years – on both sides of the fence (as an exhibitor and visitor) and the 2014 show did not disappoint. It’s great to see that brands are realising the importance of making an impact at a trade show and there were some fantastic stand designs (the days of peeling graphics, dog eared samples and bored staff, thankfully, appear to be a thing of the past). It was certainly a busy show, and, with my speciality food marketing hat on, I had three clients exhibiting at the show, and despite raising their profiles at the event months beforehand, it was just as important that they were all well represented in the press office with press packs and samples and, where appropriate, their products were featured within the fantastic new Great Taste Deli which promoted all the Great Taste Award winning foods. 

The show provided the opportunity for food brands to showcase their entire range (like Garden of England), new products to be launched (like Stag Bakeries’ new cheese straws range) and to catch up with colleagues and contacts too. 

The show has evolved over the years and this year it was perhaps more notable than ever as there was a real international vibe. Back in the day, the Speciality & Fine Food Fair was a smaller, much more local affair with British producers dominating the show. This year however, there was a notable increase in the number of overseas pavilions – great for foodies to have the opportunity to sample cuisine from all parts of the world. It’s interesting to see how some brands are embracing international influences in their range to accommodate the latest trend and ever-changing consumer palette. 

So what of the next food trends? Well after popcorn a few years before, as predicted, marshmallows have followed suit with more and more brands launching gourmet ranges (including my own client Baru). Coconut appears to be an up and coming product – not just the on-trend coconut water – but coconut as a super-food seems to be the next shining light (look out for more and more coconut oil and coconut chips to start entering the market!). As for international influences, it appears that Middle Eastern cuisine is starting to be embraced with healthy falafel-style snacks and aromatic Lebanese spiced dishes.  

All in all – a fantastic show.

P.S. Thanks to the show team for providing some fantastic photography to accompany this post!