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The Rise of FreeFrom

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/.

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Jane Milton

Food industry expert Jane Milton has been in the business for more than 30 years and has the inside track on all things food!

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Let Me Introduce You To Francis Gimblett, author of the Gimblett's Guide to The Best of British Cheese, and Co-Owner of Taste of the Vine, an Interactive Food and Drink Events Business. ,
byJane Milton

Let Me Introduce You to Francis Gimblett, Author of Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses, and co Owner of Taste of the Vine, an interactive food and drink event company.

Francis and I met in Spring 2021 when I joined one of his monthly Friday evening meet the cheesemaker tasting sessions. I learned so much and loved meeting the cheesemakers. I told other people and very quickly was joined on screen by 10-12 friends each month ….

My copy of Francis book , Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheeses has become very well thumbed and through it i have tracked down cheesemakers around the UK and even found a cheesemaking course in Tottenham, London inspired by him.

He is a great story teller so i know you will enjoy hearing about :

  • his journey in food and drink
  • people who have inspired or encouraged him
  • his French mother’s cooking and how that added to his food journey
  • how he has for many years, resisted repitition and always desired change, t learn or to reinvent things BUT
  • how possibly now after almost 2 years of constant change, he my just be happy for a little more predictability for a while
  • we talk about work life balance and partnering in business with his wife
  • about the importance of understanding your P&L and planning for your business right from Day 1
  • we also get a hint or two about his next taste adventure….

I cannot wait


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