This year’s Farm Shop & Deli Show was a resounding success. Visitor numbers were up nearly 40 per cent on 2014.
Commenting on the success of show, Jack Halliday, Event Director, says: “We’re really pleased, we worked really hard to put together the best show possible and the high number of visitors was the icing on the cake. With so many exhibitors, specialist areas and activities on offer, Farm Shop & Deli Show 2015 was definitely the best show for the speciality retail food and drink industry. Roll on 2016!”
For 2015 the show expanded its machinery, packaging and equipment categories along with services through to knives, furniture and flooring. Companies that exhibited included; Deighton Manufacturing UK; IMoon Lighting (UK) Ltd; Lakeland Computers; Osborne Refrigerators Ltd; Retail Computer Solutions Ltd; and Unox UK Ltd.
New for this year was a produce sourcing area specially dedicated towards cheese and charcuterie, the Cheese & Charcuterie Counters. These gave speciality food retailers from farm shops, delicatessens and cheesemongers the ability to discover new and exciting products from these sectors.
The highly popular Farm Shop & Deli Live Theatre made a welcome return and on the Monday afternoon of the show it hosted the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2015. All the category and regional winners for this year were presented with their awards and the eagerly anticipated ‘Retailer of the Year’ award was announced. The winner was North Devon based delicatessen Johns of Instow & Appledore. It beat off over 500 nationwide fine food businesses to win this prestigious accolade. Owners Sue and Anthony Johns were presented with their well deserved trophy by Nigel Barden, food journalist and Chair of this year’s judges, and Simon Hurley, managing director of Olives et Al.
Commenting on its win the team at Johns of Instow & Appledore said: “It was probably the most special day in our lives. We walked up to the stage to collect our award with emotions of absolute joy and disbelief, with compliments ringing in our ears from our loyal customers and expert judges as they were read out. Just incredible, it’s what dreams are made of! Thank you to everyone for your valued support, our dedicated team, our faithful customers and talented local producers, as without you there wouldn’t be a Johns of Instow & Appledore. The beautifully carved wooden boards will take pride of place in our two delis! Let the celebrations begin!”
As well as the awards, the theatre played host to a range of informative talks by industry experts over the three days. These included master classes on cheese and charcuterie from cheese expert and chair of the British Cheese Awards, Juliet Harbutt; a fascinating talk on ‘The Future of Food’ from Dr Morgaine Gaye, a leading food futurologist; and an inspirational talk from food campaigner Tristram Hunt with author, broadcaster and chef, Richard Fox called ‘Cut Through the Rubbish’, all about cutting waste in your retail operation.
Georgina Mason, a panellist on the ‘Mind Your Margins Debate’ and owner of Gonalston Farm Shop, said: “It was the best ever by a long way, its offer has not only increased in quality but stand quantity also.”
The theatre was also the location for the Dragons’ Pantry, where daring food and drink entrepreneurs faced the ultimate test as they braved the panel of industry ‘Dragons’ to pitch new products. All the entrants got professional advice on perfecting their pitch before braving the presentation session, that included sampling, Q&As and summing up. Those companies that took part said that they found it invaluable for the advice and comments offered.
Stephen Marsh, from Pinkster Gin, said about his Dragon’s Pantry session: “No amount of reality TV could have prepared me for the grilling at the hands of the dragons. I tried humility, I tried flattery, I even tried bribery. At the end of the day it should be the product that does the convincing, not me. Which is perhaps just as well. A most enlightening experience, thank you. Gin anybody?”
Wednesday afternoon saw the theatre host another award presentation. This time it was for the Best New Idea Award. The competition was run during the show and was voted for by exhibitors and visitors. The winner was The Foraging Fox’s Beetroot Ketchup and Richard Fox and Jack Halliday presented the company with their prize. The delicious ketchup was developed by former city worker Frankie Fox in response to a surplus of garden produce, which she cooked up and found that her two young children loved.
Frankie Fox, co-founder, The Foraging Fox, said: “The Farm Shop & Deli Show has been a fantastic experience for us, as a newly launched brand. We have received such a brilliant response to our Beetroot Ketchup over the past three days – to have won ‘Best New Idea’ is the cherry on top! This prize is really important to us because it’s been voted for by visitors to the show. It’s encouraging to know that other people believe in your product, particularly after the hard work we’ve invested in bringing The Foraging Fox to market. Thank you to everyone that voted.”
New products that were on display this year included Lupetta with its Italian Taralli with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, crunchy savoury snacks made from wheat flour and white wine; Lushice’s range of frozen sorbets based on classic cocktails that included Margarita sorbet; The Hungry Chef’s Pork Vindaloo Curious Pickle, a tempting and warm pickle made with succulent British pork and seasoned with clove, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom; Olive Et Al’s Gluten Free Pantry that included three products, Savoury Pastry, Sweet Pastry and Crumble Topping – all of which are gluten free; and British Cassis’ British Mure, made from Herefordshire blackberries, a fresh and punchy liquor perfect for mixing with wine and spirits.
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – Next year’s show will be held on 18-20 April 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham.