Last week I headed to the annual Allergy and Free From show in London and thought I’d write a little blog all about the event, and what I got up to whilst I was there. If you’ve never heard of the Allergy and Free From show before, it’s basically a huge event that takes place 4 times a year in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Madrid with hundreds of different Free From stalls ranging from big brands such as Asda, Schar, Genius and Warbutons gluten free to smaller independent brands that you may have never heard of before! The show is a great opportunity to find out about new brands, get tips & listen to talks about Free From living, watch cookery demonstrations and buy lots of cheap goodies! As well as Free From food, the show also showcases lots of other options such as a having a vegan section, and sections for other allergies such as asthma.
I only found out about the Allergy and Free From show last year after I started my gluten free Instagram page so I decided to go along to the London show in 2017 and ended up loving it so much I went to the Liverpool show later on in the year too! It’s such an enjoyable day which definitely helps you to feel like you aren’t alone in your dietary requirements, and is a great opportunity to buy lots of cheap Free From food with deals such as 3 for £5 on big gluten free brands that would probably cost you double in the supermarkets. This year I decided that as the show is so hard to get round in 1 day, I’d stay up in London and go for 2 days which I was so glad of! I got the chance to meet lots of lovely brands, bloggers and followers and really enjoyed myself.
Here are some of my favourite brands I came across at the show, along with some of the goodies I picked up, as you can see from the haul below, I picked up so many goodies to try.
I was really excited to find the B-Tempted stall this year after watching founder Sarah on Dragons Den earlier in the year, as well as the fact they have recently launched a new range of vegan cupcakes and muffins! I got the chance to try their new gluten free & vegan chocolate muffins and they were incredible, I can’t to try more of the flavours!
Whilst wondering around the vegan part of the show I spotted these gluten free and vegan wagon wheels by Ananda’s foods and couldn’t resist picking up a couple to try! I used to love wagon wheels and haven’t had them for years and they certainly didn’t disappoint!
Another great part of the show includes the fact that brands will be selling some of their new products that aren’t even out in the shops yet. Genius were selling their new frozen ready to bake baguettes which are now available to buy in Asda and also gave us bloggers the chance to try their new brioche buns which will be released later on this year. They are both delicious and I’d definitely recommend picking some up to try when they are released. I also had the opportunity to meet founder Lucinda, who told us all about her inspiration behind creating the brand Genius back in the days where there were next to no gluten free options on the market.
Freaks of Nature
Another amazing gluten and dairy free brand I had the chance of meeting was Freaks of Nature, who are currently in the process of rebranding their products to their new vibrant and catchy packaging. We had the chance to try some of their new products including sticky toffee pudding, and dairy free yoghurts which will be launching in Sainsburys soon, as well as try some of their old classics.
The show also has lots of opportunities to pick up some free goodies, including ‘spin to win’ prizes like the Mrs Crimbles stand where everyone who spins the wheel will win a product! So if you don’t mind waiting in a fairly long queue, you will be guaranteed to come away with a prize!
Orgran Health and Nutrition
Spotting the Orgran Health and Nutrition stand at the show was exciting, as it’s so hard to find products from this Australian brand in the UK. I couldn’t resist picking up some gluten free, dairy free and vegan goodies to try including the quinoa porridge and the apple and cinnamon pancake mix.
Another brand that can be hard to come across in the UK are Eskal Foods, who specialise in gluten free and vegan ice cream cones/wafers which I’ve really been enjoying over the last week in this lovely UK weather! The wafer rolls taste amazing, and I can’t believe they are vegan too!
I was introduced to Norah’s Brownies at Broadway market a couple of weeks ago, they specialise in gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free brownies as well as their ‘Bronuts’ (brownie doughnuts). I’ve now had the chance to try the raspberry and the chocolate/coconut flavours which are both delicious, it’s no surprise they sold out after 2 days at the Allergy show!
Gato and Co
It was really lovely to finally meet the girls at Gato and Co, after working with them a few times over the last year. They specialise in gluten and dairy free healthy alternative puddings, including their new sticky toffee pudding which is to die for!
Green Sisters specialise in gluten free and vegan samosas! Including mild, medium, spicy and low fodmap options, as well as sweet options such as their delicious chocolate flavour! It’s so brilliant that options like this are now available for people with dietary requirements, and I can’t wait for the next time I come across this brand!
As well as meeting and speaking to lots of brands, I also had the opportunity to meet lots of other bloggers and followers which was really lovely! It’s so nice to know that you aren’t alone with your dietary requirements, and going to a show like this really makes you feel part of a community.
Here are 5 of my top tips if you are going to the show next year:
- Arrive early! The show gets extremely busy, so the best thing to do is to arrive before it opens and go straight to some of the bigger brands, otherwise you may struggle to get to the front of the queue later on in the day!
- Remember that not everything will suit your dietary requirements! Always be careful when trying the free samples at the show, just because its a Free From show doesn’t mean that everything will suit your dietary needs. Something may be gluten free but not dairy free, or vegan but not gluten free. Always double check.
- Make the most of the offers! Most of the brands at the show will be offering great discounts on their products, such as 3 for £5, which often gets cheaper by the end of the show!
- Come hungry! There really are so many free samples and Free From food options to try you definitely won’t need to eat a huge breakfast beforehand!
- Speak to the brands! Especially important if you are newly diagnosed as a Coeliac, or are just starting out your Free From journey, it’s such a great opportunity to speak to all the amazing brands, who will be able to help with any questions you may have.
The details for the next Allergy and Free From shows are below.
ACC Liverpool – 3-4 November 2018
SECC Glasgow – 2-3 March 2019
Olympia London – 5-7 July 2019