My first visit to the Allergy Show was great. I had a horrible journey which reminded me why I don’t live in London anymore, but apart from that I am glad I went.
The first thing I noticed was that it was very busy. It took place in the West Hall at Olympia, which is not massive and there were so many stands, so closely packed together. The crowds made it very difficult to even see what was happening at a lot of them, but the free food tastings and wonderful smells kept me going!
It was great to see so many independent entrepreneurs with their products. From what I could see and taste, many of them were on a par with and mostly better than the food the big supermarkets were showcasing.
The exhibitors I was particularly glad to see were Pudology, Barkat and Choices, but that is purely for selfish reasons. They are catering so well for the dairy free market and I just hope they get the boost from the show that they need to get their products listed in all of the supermarkets.
Pudology www.pudology.com were giving tastes of the line of desserts they are hoping to launch in supermarkets soon. They were just delicious and I really, really hope they are successful. They could and should definitely position them alongside ‘Gu’ as a premium, very indulgent grown-ups ‘posh dessert’. Please check out their website and keep an eye out for them. Unlike a lot of the dairy free foods, these taste fabulous. You could serve them to non-intolerant people and I am sure no-one would know that they were dairy free.
The Choices brand is from a company called Celtic Chocolates and they are making a range of dairy free confectionery. I cannot find a website but have found a link to an online shop where they are available http://www.alternativestores.com/ethical-shop/Chocolate-amp-Sweets/Chocolate-Treats/Caramel-Chocolates/prod_3335.html
I have mostly only seen their chocolate products in Holland and Barrett, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. They were the only ones, I think, who brought out a dairy free Easter Egg this year. A very big deal in my world! Imagine what it is like when all the rest of the kids in the family are given lovely looking Easter rabbits and eggs, and you have only one chocolate egg to give your little boy. They advised me to buy early next year as I only managed to get hold of one before they all sold out! I ended up making my own – and will post the recipe/method for that soon! Promise.
This year Choices had a couple of ‘grown up’ large Easter eggs and one aimed at children, smaller and made of ‘white’ chocolate. I complimented them on their products and suggested they try creating more ‘white chocolate’ kids products. Apparently, it is very hard to make which I can understand. I was pleased to see that they are still innovating. They have developed some chocolate buttons. They are also working on a ‘Santa’s stocking selection pack’ for Christmas, obviously. Even better, they are working on an advent calendar too. Good luck Choices. Everyone, please, please look out for their products and support them. They are lovely people and making great ‘chocolate’.
My happiest moment of the day came when I discovered the Barkat stand. They make the gluten free, wheat free, dairy free ice cream cones. They make other products, but I have never come across another ice cream cone that is suitable for Zac. And unlike a lot of the other exhibitors, they were selling their products. So I bought some. They only sell them in Sainsbury’s and online www.glutenfree-foods.co.uk at the moment. I have not seen them since last summer in Sainsbury’s and we have missed them very much. Especially, as we are now technically in ‘summer’ and the local ice cream man regularly chimes his way by our house, reminding the children of ice cream in cones! I was so happy.
If I’d had more cash or more hands I would have bought more. Again, the people on the stand were just lovely and sadly, like many others, had no way of taking card payments. I had spent most of my cash on a food intolerance test, so was down to my last few coins by the time I found them. So I gave them all I had and headed home after that.
No point staying, as I had spent all my cash and got what I came for – the full picture of the ‘intolerant’ market. It appears to be massive which makes me happy and sad in equal measure. Happy that there are more and products coming to market, which will make our life easier and my purse lighter! But so sad, that this is necessary. I saw so many people, so many with little children and I was only there for two hours. I have no idea what the attendance figures were, but it is still very alarming to me that such a show actually exists and will no doubt be bigger and better next year!