On Friday 3rd July I travelled to Olympia for the London Allergy and Free From Show. Last year was my first time visiting the event and I was interested to see what new products would be on show.
I was pleased to see some new gluten and wheat free ice creams available. On our recent two-week holiday around the south west coast of England I had only managed to find suitable ice cream tubs in two places! Fingers crossed the ice creams from Sweet Rebellion and Jollyum get stocked in more places as they were very tasty.
|The Jollyum Ice Creams were very nice|
Earlier this year Emily visited Spain and brought me back some Sin Gluten goodies and so it was nice to see the team from Esgir at the show with their range of five gluten and wheat free products that are suitable for Coeliacs. I was so impressed that I bought some of the products.
|A good haul from Esgir. I bought one of each of the products that include gluten free croutons, crunchy crumbs and choco snack sticks|
I spotted some new gluten free beers from exhibitors including Estrella Damm Daura (with their new Märzen variety), the Wellington Bomber Porter beer from Glebe Farm, Outlook by Stringer's, and Hepworth & Co. While Green's have updated and refreshed its branding. I also got to try CELIA Lager's new Dark variety. Very nice it was too.
|The brand new Märzen gluten free beer from Estrella Damm Daura. It tasted great|
|CELIA Dark was very nice. Martin from CELIA tells me it's a great beer to accompany autumn and winter meals too|
|The updated branding on the Green's Gluten Free Beers range|
|I enjoyed the new Wellington Bomber Porter from Glebe Farm|
Check out my compilation blog post on all the gluten free beers, ales and lagers I've found since I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease (the list currently stands at 89!).
|Stringer's Outlook gluten free ale, one of the GF beers I'm yet to try|
It was also good speaking with the team from Can I Eat There? and finding out more about their allergy and intolerance aware restaurant listings and review website.
I did feel that too many of the exhibitors at the event were trying to sell sell sell, rather than doing something a bit different to engage with the audience. The show offers from Esgir were very good, while many other stalls were selling at not much less than a supermarket price. Couple this with the fact that it was baking hot, and while in London people may not want to carry around lots of shopping (including raw meat, or frozen products) so it would be really nice to see the brands trying something new.
Another thought is that because the show is catering to so many different audiences (all with their own varied needs - some lifestyle, some medical) there will be some clashes. This was evident in some of the exhibitors who I know have products that are not suitable for Coeliacs due to manufacturing processes and/or potential cross-contamination - but are labelled as gluten and wheat free. I think that if you're going to offer gluten and wheat free you should go 100%. No half-measures. Granted, there are people with wheat intolerance and non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity etc. who may be fine after consuming these products, but there is a larger proportion who won't be. It leaves a Coeliac like myself with a bitter taste, to be tempted with GF & WF packaging, only to be let down when reading the small print.
As a 'veteran' Coeliac I check, double check and then check again before I take a bite or a sip of anything. Having been glutened on a number of occasions I know it's not worth the risk, so I hope some of the rookie Coeliacs at the show didn't make any errors, or get carried away, in their sampling.
The next food fair I'll be visiting is the Home Counties Gluten Free Food Fair organised by the Herts & Mid Beds Coeliac UK Volunteer Group. Hopefully there'll be lots of new and interesting gluten and wheat free products on show and to sample there.
To round off a very pleasant day in London Emily and I had another brilliant gluten free meal at Honest Burgers.
Check out the Allergy Show London website for more information on the event.
Related blog posts:
- Gluten Free
- Funny things about being a Coeliac
- Home Counties Gluten Free Food Fair 2015
- The Allergy and Free From Show 2014 at Olympia
- Sin Gluten
- Gluten free beer
- Allergy Show London
- Coeliac UK