20.5.12

The Allergy & Free From Show 2012

The Allergy & Free From Show 2012

Yesterday I caught a train to London and visited the Allergy & Free From show at Olympia.  I have visited the show before, a couple of years ago, but was tempted back this year by the list of exhibitors.   I was like a kid in a candy store.  It is thrilling to have a day out tasting food that you can eat safely (don’t judge me I can’t understand how you all get excited about IMATS). To be in a room full of people who will not give you a strange look when you question the ingredients, is an amazing feeling.  If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen my excited tweets about dairy free ice cream and vegan cupcakes.

For those of you not in the know my main food allergies are dairy, egg, strawberry, citrus fruits, and mushrooms.  I don’t have a gluten allergy (but my sister does).  For me the highlights of the show did involve my taste buds but I also sampled skincare.  Let me share with you the products which stood out to me. 

The Allergy & Free From Show 2012 (2)

Pudology - dairy, egg and gluten free puddings. I sampled the chocolate and was delighted.  You would never guess it was a free from dessert.  These desserts are also available in Banoffee and Strawberry.


Ms Cupcake  “the naughtiest vegan cakes in town” – I only bought one cupcake (what a fool!), once I saw the flavour pumpkin spice I was sold.  I became addicted to everything pumpkin spice from my travels in USA, I really wish we embraced the flavour in the UK.  Anyway, this was simply the most amazing egg and dairy free cake I have ever tasted, it seriously silenced me for a good five minutes whilst I savoured every last crumb.  I am immediately moving to London and taking up residence in the shop especially now I check out the website and discovered they have over 120 flavours.


Inspiral - from what I can tell this is a vegan cafe in London and they also sell their foods online and in outlets across the UK.  I sampled the raw "cheesecakes" which are dairy and egg free (vegan).  I was so impressed I bought a slice of banoffee crème tart. 

Delamere Dairy - this is a brand I have associated with goat cheese and milk, something which I cannot tolerate.  I was pleasantly surprised to see they have launched soya milk and dairy free chocolate puddings.  I did not get a chance to sample but can tell you that Asda stocks their soya products.

Clive Pies - I was so happy to see Clive’s Pies, many moons ago I used to buy them from Asda and then they disappeared.  The pies are free from gluten, dairy, egg, soya and vegan.  I bought my favourite Vegetable Chilli along with Mint Chickpea which I sampled (sounds weird but very tasty).

Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Frozen Dessert - coconut ice cream deliciousness, I tasted chocolate and lemon, totally scrummy (take note Booja Booja) and an excellent dupe for the real thing. Getting this back home was not possible (gutted) I would have ended up with coconut soup.

I also stocked up on some firm favourites like Alpro, Naked bars, Nature's Path, Doves Farm, Lazy Day Foods and Sakata.  I had a lovely chat with Amy’s Kitchen. I love their products but they are hard to track down.  A few have crept into Tesco and Sainsburys but only the ones containing cheese (no good for me).  The most disappointing product of the day was Vegusto.  The dairy free cheese is a Free From Award Winner but it did little to impress me.  The taste was a good dupe for the real stuff but the texture was just odd.


After all the excitement of Free From Food obviously the beauty blogger in me was keen to sample skincare.  Skinsmatter.com launched the Free From Skincare Awards at this year’s show.  Alex Gazzola from Skinsmatter.com has given me a bag of samples and press releases for the awards. I am going to do a separate blog post on this.  


There were two beauty products I was keen to seek out and meet the ladies behind them.  I have been tweeting with them for a few months.  I bought Niki’s Organic Lavender & Camomile balm and Eden Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Polish Remover (Gold Award winner).  These products impressed me at the show and I think they are worthy of separate blog posts so look out for my full review.


My final thoughts of the day
The one element of the show that disappoints is getting home and discovering that the products I sampled are not stocked nearby.  Whilst many have websites with online delivery often you have to buy in bulk and delivery can be costly.  What intrigues me is Sainsbury, Tesco and Asda were all present at the show but the main theme when speaking to exhibitors was how they struggle getting their products into the supermarkets.  My allergies are not a new thing so I have seen the free from market develop.  I have seen brands come and go from supermarket shelves.  My biggest gripe is with Tesco and Sainsburys.  In recent months they both expanded their own brand free from range to the detriment of independent brands.  I think own brand products taste cheap and the quality is appalling.  I am slowly finding that these supermarkets no longer cater for me, for example, none of their free from cakes or biscuits are egg free.  Sadly, my one independent local health food shop is not very local so I have started to free from shop at Waitrose.  They offer a better selection and do not fill the shelves with their own brand.  They appear to allow the competition to compete with them.  I know that some brands might not want to work with the big supermarkets (and I don’t blame them) but I am not sure how else I can buy these products.  I think people with allergies who purchase food online are brave.  I want to see a product and read the labels for myself as I do not trust others to do it for me.  Perhaps I have become greedy.  Years ago I just lived without ice cream and chocolate, now I know I can have a free from alternative I want them in my life but I can’t find them with ease.

I would be interested to hear from other allergy sufferers.  Do you understand where I coming from? Do you agree or disagree with me? Did you visit the Allergy Show? What did you discover?  



Disclaimer - I attended this show as a member of the general public not as a blogger.  No one has sponsored this post, all opinions are 100% my own.

14 comments:

  1. this looks great :) some of these brands look interesting too!

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    1. thanks for reading, glad you found the brands mentioned of interest :)

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  2. I need to try these Dairy Free goodies, I have been craving a cream cake all bloody day and refuse to give in as I am proud of myself for not eating dairy as I wasn't sure if I could do it. It is such a shame that it is so difficult to get hold of free from foods, espcially as more and more people are getting allergys. I have found that Waitrose and Holland and Barratt to be the best places for varity. I haven't checked Asda but will do now for those chocolate puddings. Glad you had a good day hun. xx

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    1. Aah bless you resisting the urge of the cream cake :) Agree with you I also do a lot of my shopping at H&B I forgot to mention that. Have you tried Alpro puddings? You find them in the Free From aisles, 4 pot packs and they are longlife/UHT kind, the chocolate, caramel and vanilla are lush. Let me know if you try the others I'd be interested to know how they compare to Alpro.

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  3. Have you ever tried going on a raw food diet? The diet usually eliminates all allergens via food as they do not eat anything processed and are usually vegans. I have a dehydrator and vitamin blender and I try to eat as rawly as I can.

    If you haven't seen it and have the time then please watch this video, its a real eye opener ;)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuWkyNMoxKg

    Going raw also does wonders for your weight. When going raw people usually lose so much weight as rubbish from the diet is eliminated.

    Best wishes

    Danny x

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, it's not something that has appealed to me I have an almost vegan diet at the moment, I haven't eaten meat in years, I can't have eggs and milk but I am not strict because I enjoy honey. Not sure I could give up my oven, I do enjoy baking

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  4. Really wish I lived closer to London but sadly a train wont take me from Belfast to England :( Feels like I miss out on so much.

    Love the idea of food and skin care all under one roof :) that cheesecake looks gorgeous and the nail polish remover sounds interesting.
    xo

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    1. That's a shame that Belfast doesn't have anything equivalent. Even though London is close I rarely go there. The "cheesecake" was delicious and very rich tasted of banana and coconut. The nail polish remover is very good and works very well considering it is natural. I will post a review soon.

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  5. That cupcake looks so delicious! I wish they had something like that in the US.. I wonder if they do?! :)

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    1. It was lovely and I am kicking myself for not buying more. Perhaps worth doing a little google search there must be a requirement for Vegan cupcakes in USA, actually I notice the girls selling them had US accents :)

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  6. I too was disappointed you can't buy a lot of the products on offer at the show in the supermarkets. It seems that Tesco, Sainsburys, ASDA etc are only pushing for their own brand. My fave at the show was Fria. Their breads are totally amazing!!! They seem to be in supermarkets all over Europe, but not in the UK. The supermarket buyers need to listen to what WE want!!!!
    /Sarah J Paterson, Watford

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    1. It is very frustrating, the Tesco dairy free chilled range has been in my store for some time now & the yoghurts and desserts are terrible. My Tesco took away the other brands of dairy free cheese then launched their own. The free from market is growing rapidly so it is about time they listen to their customers. Alternatively the independent shops need to listen up and get in on the action, I am sure they would profit. So pleased you found Fria at the show, I am hearing great things about them.

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  7. An amazing event.... this gluten & lactose boy is a much happier chappy since this weekend's show :)

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    1. That's a wonderful feeling to have & I share it with you :)

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