Specialist retailers savour another successful Farm Shop & Deli Show

This April the NEC once again played host to Farm Shop & Deli Show, which ran alongside The Ingredients Show, National Convenience Show and The Forecourt Show. Across the 3 days 8th – 10th April, visitors met passionate producers, discovered the latest industry trends and celebrated award-winners at this unmissable event for specialist retailers.
The exhibition hall saw the sector’s leading delicatessens, farm shops, restaurants, garden centres, food halls, butcheries and bakeries in attendance and, for the second year running, announced record attendance as those from across the industry came together to see the hundreds of companies showcasing their best wares. 
Many exhibitors have already confirmed their spot on the 2020 show floor including Cook, Dalston’s Soda, Mrs Bridges, Total Produce and Unilever to name just a few. One of the key trends this year is the desire for healthier products and the new Healthy & Natural zone proved extremely popular with visitors and exhibitors alike. The show looks forward to continuing to grow this area and exhibitors such as Seedlip and Projuice are already signed up for 2020.
Here are some of the highlights from this year’s show… 
Sustainability cannot be ignored
There is so much consumer awareness around plastics, sustainability and climate change and it’s often smaller, start-up brands, like many of those at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, that are in a strong position to act on this. There were some insightful sessions across both Farm Shop & Deli Live and The Ingredients Show Education Theatre covering this topic and, on the show floor, the team from Two Farmers impressed visitors with their first hand-cooked crisp brand to launch in 100% compostable bags which take 26 weeks to compost in a home composter and 12 weeks in an industrial facility.
Gluten free brands are stepping up their game
Gluten free consumers have been demanding better looking and tasting options and at last, the levels of awareness surrounding this have translated into attractively packed, genuinely delicious foods. The show highlighted many gluten free snacks that looked every bit as good as others on the shelves such as Mummy Meagz vegan rocky road, KIND snack bars and Middleton Foods gluten free mixes.
Clean eating’s not a fad, it’s expected
No-one really talks about “clean eating” any more – but this doesn’t mean it’s gone out of fashion, far from it in fact. At the show visitors encountered many brands with simple ingredients lists and lower sugar content. From sauces to snack bars and drinks, it was a great demonstration of how far the industry has come. 
Low and no alcohol is a trend that’s here to stay
If you’re in the industry, you’ll no doubt have heard that young people today are drinking less alcohol. Overall, there has been a real trend for lower alcohol products and even no alcohol with brands like Seedlip continuing to be popular. Farm Shop & Deli Show exhibitor Small Beer Brew Co., is the world’s first brewery to specialise in beers brewed between 0.5% and 2.8% ABV. 
Celebrating the best in the business
Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 once again celebrated the specialist retailers at the top of their game with the live finals of Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2019, sponsored by Garofalo Pasta, taking place at the heart of the show. In addition to the twelve category and nine regional winners announced, Cannon Hall Farm Shop from Barnsley scooped the overall Retailer of the Year 2019 accolade. 
Other winners celebrated at the show include the Britain’s Best Loaf which saw Poppyseed Bakery’s Wholemeal sourdough loaf crowned the overall winner. Plus the popular Dragon’s Pantry retuned again this year. Daring entrepreneurs faced the ultimate test pitching new products to the show’s panel of industry ‘dragons’ after initially receiving top tips on perfecting their pitch. This year’s winner was Tom’s Teas with their dessert inspired, delicious quality fruit tea blends for children with no caffeine or added sugar.
Exhibitor Chris Morgan, Business Development Manager, Fentimans Ltd said of the show: “We have had some great engaging customers who are genuinely interested in our flavours of tonics and soft drinks. We have also been approached by some of the higher profile retailers who have been here for the retail show. There are some fabulous brands at the show and I would definitely recommend the show to any business or brand who want to showcase any new products within the farm shop/garden centres or deli’s and obtain new distribution.” 
Show visitor Susannah Hewett, Co-owner, Eggs to Apples Farm Shop said: “It’s a concentrated opportunity to see a number of people under one roof. It’s great to network with existing suppliers but also to source new products, get ideas to take back and cascade down to the team. Good for networking and also having the baking contest is what’s brought me here today.”
Farm Shop & Deli Show returns 30th March – 1st April 2020 to the NEC, Birmingham and will run alongside National Convenience Show, Food & Drink Expo, Foodex and The Ingredients Show. The combined weight of these five shows next year will bring together 1,700 suppliers representing a huge array of companies and technologies within the UK’s food and drink industry. 
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