November hails the arrival of the awards season and in less than a fortnight the winners of the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards will be known. Pizza Express and Crowne Plaza are jostling for a coveted trophy alongside independents like Bizzie Lizzie’s fish and chip shop and Aroma Café in Lyme Regis.
Announcing the shortlist last month FreeFrom director Michelle Berriedale-Johnson commented: “From the local chippie to the five star restaurant or the high street chain, coeliacs and those with allergies and intolerances do now stand a realistic chance of being served not only a safe, but a really tasty and interesting meal.”
Having worked with Michelle over the past decade I’ve been lucky enough to watch this exciting and innovative category evolve at a breathtaking pace. Consumers are making a lifestyle choice to eat gluten and dairy free and the campaigning work of people like Michelle is pushing the quality and availability of these foods.
At a presentation last month for the Food & Drink Innovation Network Mintel revealed the total UK market was valued at £365m in 2014, forecast to grow by 50% in the next five years. Dairy-free and gluten-free segments continue to record impressive growth (both seeing 15% growth between 2013 and 2014).
The FreeFrom Awards – the FF Eating Out Awards big sister – serve as an excellent barometer, reflecting the diversity of the offer and innovative opportunities. This year’s awards stand at 19 categories. The newest one is aimed at small producer start ups. Entrants need to have been in business for a maximum of two years from 16th September 2013 and the winner will benefit from mentoring from Tesco’s marketing and technical experts.
You can enter this or any of the other categories here http://www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk/.
Food industry expert Jane Milton has been in the business for more than 30 years and has the inside track on all things food!
In her podcast, Jane takes you behind the scenes of the food business and introduces you to her incredible network of producers, entrepreneurs and
consultants she works with. She shares inspiring stories and experiences with you to help you to build a stronger, healthier, better version of your own business.