MyItchyBoy could remember going to the show last year so he was rather excited. Once again, we went on the Sunday, as it tends to be quieter. The new hall was great – airy and wide aisles with a couple of areas to sit down (even if it was on the floor) to eat our packed lunch.
Too much food?
This year we went prepared with cash and shopping bags and a list of things we planned to buy.
Weirdly, I felt this was also the approach of the exhibitors this year too….well, not to buy, but sell. The whole show seemed to have taken on the vibe of a huge Free From marketplace.
I was disappointed that many of the big brands seemed focused on selling a high volume of their products on special deals. Some things on our list we couldn’t get at all as even the bigger retailers didn’t have their complete range there.
I found that fewer exhibitors were interested in conversations about new products, customer feedback or samples of their complete range. Those that were, were the smaller, first time exhibitors.
The focus on shopping this year also served to remind us how expensive Free From products can be as we got through our cash in record time!
What I felt was missing
I found the show a bit lacking in solutions on how to deal with the daily survival of allergies, or parenting allergic children. There was a lot of focus on how to eat gluten free but I’d have liked to see something new that wasn’t food or drink.
And next year?
Overall, MyItchyBoy (being the most important factor) did enjoy himself. He ate a ton of sweets, biscuits and cake, had fun with crafts and story time at Allergy Adventures – so a perfect day out for any 5 year old!
As to whether we’ll go next year? I think that if it doesn’t clash with something more interesting, then maybe. I really enjoyed and valued the more learning and conversation part of previous shows. For Free From shopping, we are lucky enough to live in an area well-served by the delivery vans of major food retailers who mostly stock a wide range of Free From foods, so I’m not sure visiting the show really added too much for us.
It was great to see:
The stand looked so brilliant and enticing for kids. MyItchyBoy was happy that there was something for his age group and he took no time in sitting and creating his cupcake. Some great work being produced by this company aimed at kids with allergies.
We couldn’t get through the nights here without Scratchsleeves.
We bought a few packets of their yummy pasta. Sadly it’s so hard to get hold of usually 🙁
MyItchyBoy and Husband both love these and they are a good alternative to dairy ice cream and lollies in the summer.
Our new discoveries:
Clive’s Pies – filling, GF pies that taste really good.
Angelic biscuits – another lovely treat company from Scotland
Sad to see there wasn’t a better representation for Ilumi. After the year that they’ve had, I thought they would follow up with another great stand to reinforce their presence in the market and connect to their existing customers.
Due to work and summer holidays, this post has taken a ridiculously long time to write. My apologies!