Tag Archives: events

A fennel-flavoured Speciality Fine Food Fair

I was looking forward to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at Olympia in London this week, but didn’t expect to be so rushed off my feet! I met so many lovely people, small and large producers, and tasted some interesting products.

Among these was a popcorn by Ten Acre, a company usually known for its crisps. This popcorn was fennel and lemon flavoured, which took me right back to an Italian restaurant in New York and the amazing sausage I quite regularly enjoy when I go there. It was a fantastic flavour experience, void of any chemical aftertaste and overbearing personality. I loved it and only regret not taking a bag home.

I’ll post an interview with the charismatic CEO of Ten Acre, Tony Goodman, as soon as I get around to it. In the meantime, here are a couple of interviews I did in other parts of the great hall, such as Roy and Usha Verman from Dhaniya:

I also had a chat with Simon Bell from Donatantonio, who was launching 16 products in the Lupetta range of Italian ingredients.

I didn’t want to miss out on the Chocolate Fair, so wandered around taking photos and meeting lots of confectionery entrepreneurs, and even managed to catch the giant chocolate saxophone. Jean-Marie Dessard and Philippe Wall were responsible for bringing the 10ft tall chocolate saxophone to launch the exhibition, and it really is quite eye-catching.

It was nice to catch up with Jim Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, whose beard was looking rather fine (as usual). He told me that there’s a new product on the way in the not-too-distant future, and I have no doubt that he’ll come up with a fun way to promote it. If you haven’t seen any of Jim’s videos yet, start here:

Finally (for now), here are a few photos from the event, with some from my colleague Claire Phoenix. The show’s organiser tells me that there have been a record number of exhibitor re-bookings for the 2015 Fair, which just goes to show how popular, vibrant and important this show is.

Preparing for the 15th Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London

I’m at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London next Tuesday, so I’m getting my batteries and memory cards together and hope to see and talk to lots of you.

Believe it or not, this is the 15th edition of the show, and incorporates the Speciality Chocolate Fair as well as the two main theatres, Fine Food Forum and Speciality Chocolate Live. At the start of July 2014, I read that exhibitor space had already sold out, so more space was released to accommodate demand. This will see producer numbers exceed 650.

It’s a great opportunity to network with people in artisan food and confectionery, who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. As well as the industry ‘giants’, I’m looking forward to meeting many small producers and those who are just starting out. The last time I was here was 2010, so I think I have a bit of catching up to do with some old favourites and those who have grown their business over the last four or five years.

There will also be ample opportunity to sample some new and interesting food and drink products, and the Trussell Trust is making sure that food wastage from the three-day event is put to good use. The charity will be running a food collection service during the Fair and any leftover goodies will be sent to food banks close to Olympia Grand.

I’ll be catching up with Donatantonio and Olives Et Al, as well as a host of others, discovering new innovations in food and packaging. If you fancy a chat while I’m there, drop me a line and we can arrange to meet up.

On the day, I’ll be using the Speciality & Fine Food Fair hashtag of #SCF14 and will be tweeting from @ShaunFoodBev. Hope to see you there!

An overview of Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2014

I’ve had a busy time lately putting content on FoodBev.com following Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2014, and this blog entry is a convenient place for you to see it all in one go.

Andreas Exarheas and Bill Bruce actually attended the event, and I caught up with them back in the office to talk to them about what they’d seen and what their thoughts were. The podcast for that interview is right here.

Andreas also wrote a blog about his first time at Packaging Innovations, while Bill conducted a few video interviews with some new faces and some more familiar to us, such as Stuart Kellock from Label Apeel.

In the following videos, Lucy Frankel from Vegware talks about procurement, sustainability and ‘eco packaging’, and how ‘clarity is key when it comes to compostable labels’.

Lars Liebscher from BASF talked to Bill about ecovio biodegradable plastic and the world’s first compostable coffee capsule. He also talked about the company’s association with Beanarella.

In this video, Nick Brewin from Silgan talks about the brand’s new microwaveable plastic can food container, and the unique manufacturing process that goes into making it.

Nathan Daniel from CS Labels discusses Color Logic technology, and provides a demonstration of the company’s augmented reality app using an iPad and a Madness Gladness beer poster.

Finally, we produced a modest gallery of photos, which you can find on our Flickr channel.

Review of Packaging Innovations 2014

I interviewed my colleagues Bill Bruce and Andreas Exarheas late last week and asked them about what this year’s Packaging Innovations show was like.

The gist of it is that the show was good, was well attended and had a few cool innovations to show off. Apparently, even the wifi access was decent, which is worth a headline in itself. (For those who don’t know, trade events are generally poor when it comes to providing communications for socially connected journalists.)

So, have a listen, and get in touch if you attended Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2014 and saw something amazing that we completely missed.

See also this big roundup blog, especially put together to provide an overview of the content we gathered from the event.

A roundup of Vending Paris 2014 interviews

My colleague Andreas recently made the short (ish) trip to France to attend Vending Paris 2014, which took place at Paris expo Porte de Versailles.

According to Andreas, it was one of those events that doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to providing good press facilities for us journalists, despite us living in the digital age. Can you think of any event organiser who does this well? Let me know.

During the two days he was there, we managed to get a handful of short interviews with companies showcasing new technologies, including the Easymeal microwave vending machine and the machine with gesture recognition technology. Check out the videos below, or if you’d prefer to see what the event looked like, here’s a link to the Flickr channel.