It’s been 10 years since Speciality & Fine Food Fair (SFFF) first graced the industry with its presence, and what a decade it has been. Back in 1999, no one would ever have predicted the explosion in popularity of British regional, local and artisan food that would take place over the subsequent years.
Yet, as it is poised to celebrate its tenth Birthday in the same year as the culmination of the worst economic crisis the world has seen since the early 90s, ironically, the show is attracting more interest than ever before. A record number of brand new exhibitors are confirmed to attend – more than one third of companies already signed-up in fact – offering buyers a unique and unrivalled opportunity to source a vast selection of high quality, competitively priced produce that can add that all-important point of difference to their business.
Taking place on 6 – 8 September 2009, SFFF is the biggest and best UK sourcing opportunity for food and drink buyers from the speciality and fine food industry. In 2008, the show attracted a record breaking 7,851 visitors including owners of independent retailers and decision makers from leading food halls, top chefs, independent retailers, deli owners and distributors.
This year, visitors will have the opportunity to sample the wares of over 500 producers from around the UK and across Europe. Representatives from all of the UK’s main National and Regional Food Groups will be present alongside smaller independent producers and international regional groups from the likes of Spain, France and Italy. New for 2009 is the addition of Japan to the international programme. A dazzling array of products from all of these areas will be on show for visitors to see, touch, taste, smell and compare including speciality meats, fine wines, deliciously different cheeses and luxury condiments plus a whole host of delectable treats to satisfy the sweet tooth.
With such a unique combination of companies using traditional production methods and the highest quality ingredients placed alongside those supplying premium new products, visiting fine food and drink buyers are guaranteed ideas and inspiration for their businesses and an insight into what gives Speciality & Fine Food Fair that certain – and unique – je ne sais quoi.
David’s Chilli Oil [stand 174] is just one company that will be making its debut at the show this year. The rich, exotic, healthy and intensely flavoured Chilli Oil, has a carefully balanced mix of heat and flavour to produce a prolonged and tantalising taste sensation, perfect for drizzling over hot or cold food, cooking and dipping.
Also exhibiting for the first time this year will be Devonshire Tea [stand 1054]. Devonshire Teas are famous the world over, and at Speciality & Fine Food Fair the company will be showcasing its range of blended, iced, fair-trade and single estate tea.
Fivemile Town Creamery [stand 1032], a small farmer-owned co-operative has a long history producing superb dairy products. The company believes that cheese making is an art that has two essential elements: the quality and purity of the milk and skill and passion of the cheese maker. At this year’s show, the company will be exhibiting its range of blue cheese, butter, cream, hard and semi-soft mould ripened cheese and yogurt.
In particular, the award-winning Ballyblue, one of the first blue cheeses to be developed in Ireland, will be highlighted. With streaks of blue running through the centre to give a piquant sharpness that contrasts yet complements the mild creaminess of the soft cheese, the product will be showcased alongside the company’s smoked Ballyoak, Boilie Goats Cheese and Irish Cheddar varieties.
Exhibiting for the first time will be award-winning artisan food producer Ouse Valley Foods [stand 1132]. The company manufactures jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys and pickles as well as an extensive range of fresh goods, all made from locally sourced, natural ingredients. Recently voted Local Producer of the Year and winner of the Field to Table Award from the CPRE Sussex, the company will be specifically highlighting its sweet and warm Red Chilli Jelly and crystal-clear Rowan Berry Jelly with suspended fruit.
Joining Ouse Valley Foods will be GP Pays Basque [stand 1120]. Specialists in the Espelette Chilli Pepper [Product of Designated Origin], the company will also be showcasing its unique extended range of spices, jams, relishes, oils, sauces and vinegars from France.
All of Supercherry’s [stand 150] products are brand new to market. The company specialises in sourcing and distributing cherry-related products and will be introducing La Visciolata, a 14% red-wine dessert wine made from sour cherries immersed in cabernet sauvignon. La Visciolata has a dazzling cherry bouquet with a ‘chocolatey’ texture and is a great partner to cantuccini biscuits, cherry cake, chocolates or cheese.
Another organisation taking to the floor for the first time is Steins Foods [stand 154], with the Ike & Sams range of gourmet kettlecorn from the USA. The kettlecorn does not contain trans fat, cholesterol or preservatives and is made using 100% pure corn oil. At the show, Steins will be introducing the Crunchy Caramel, Kickin’ Cayenne and Sweet and Salty kettlecorn varieties.
The Little Sauce Company [stand 173] is a melting pot of hard working passionate foodies committed to bringing high quality flavoursome chilled pasta sauces and salsas to the market. All its natural sauces are made in small batches by hand thereby ensuring the highest care and attention is paid. The company will be highlighting its pesto and salsa amongst other products at the show.
At the show to launch a new Black Cherry and Amaretto pudding twin-pack will be Coles Traditional Foods [stand 325]. Made using a contemporary recipe created from whole black cherries steeped in Amaretto and topped with flaked almonds, these puddings target foodies of all ages and contain nothing artificial.
A freshly formed fine food distributor, The Food Emporium [stand 1144] will be exclusively launching a range of inspiring, new gourmet ranges into the UK. Based in the South East, the company will be showcasing luxurious and unique ranges of delightful hampers, lip-smacking chocolate, luscious preserves and delectable condiments.
Muddy Boots Real Foods [stand 146] produces ready meals and burgers using 21-day hung, pure-bred Aberdeen Angus Beef from cows that have been grass-fed since birth. The company will be exhibiting its range of meat, poultry and ready-meals at Speciality & Fine Food Fair for the first time this year.
The growth in the main show is also reflected in one of its most popular attractions, the Speciality Chocolate Fair, the only event dedicated to artisan chocolate in the UK. This year, the section is also welcoming brand new exhibitors of its own, highlighting the continued desire for high quality, fine chocolates.
In 2008, industry-leading names from Claridge’s, Fortnum and Mason and Paul Wayne Gregory Ltd took heed, specifically looking for chocolate products that would make a tangible difference to their business. So, whether you’re a food hall buyer, deli owner, wholesaler or chef, there will be lots of sweet inspiration for your business. And with the visible awareness of health, fair-trade and ethical issues in the industry, there is no better time to be a part of The Speciality Chocolate Fair.
Already signed-up to take advantage of this opportunity for the first time is Casemir Chocolates Ltd [stand 973]. Casemir is a UK chocolate manufacturer, specialising in quality hand-made products.
Selections of the company’s petit fours and sweetmeats will be highlighted throughout the event.
Joining Casemir will be Des Lis Chocolate [stand 967]. Producers of artisanal chocolates, Des Lis Chocolat makes and sells a wide variety of confectionery produced from fine pure cocoa butter chocolate. On the company’s stand at this year’s show will be Gentil Coquelicot, a bitter chocolate palette containing 70% cocoa and pure cocoa butter topped with poppy flavoured crème caramel.
The Chocolate Partnership [stand 872] will be exhibiting is range of premium handmade chocolates and truffles together with its single origin bars, hot chocolates, dipped fruit and nut collections at this year’s Speciality Chocolate Fair, as will the Fine Chocolate Confectionery Company [stand 976]. Featuring select ranges of luxury chocolates, sugar confectionery & biscuits, key brands on show will include Niederegger, Dolfin Chocolat, Jelly Belly, Summerdown Peppermint Creams, Maestrani organic and fairtrade chocolate, biscuits from Belgian Butters and Conrad Schulte.
Artisan chocolatier Holly Caulfied will also be at the show this year with her sophisticated and design-led label Chocoholly [stand 1168], which features her highly acclaimed goddess paintings. The dark and milk chocolate products use only organic ingredients and are combined with subtle yet unusual flavours such as chilli and coconut, cardamom and geranium.
Visitor attractions to turn passion to profit
Alongside the chocolate fair, the winners of the Great Taste Awards will be unveiled in a world exclusive. The prestigious awards are about acknowledging the very best in fine food and drink, with many of the winning products subsequently going on to be stocked in leading delis, food halls and supermarkets. But not only that, the awards also celebrate the speciality food producers and independent retailers who are keeping British food traditions alive.
This year, the show’s visitor attractions are highly targeted towards delivering real business benefits. The ever-popular Fine Food Forum, sponsored by Sud de France, will be making a return to the stage at this year’s event, with more high profile gourmet chefs involved than ever before. A colourful and dynamic cooking demonstration theatre, the Fine Food Forum is the perfect way to keep pace with the latest flavour trends, gain produce selection and menu design advice or to diversify by launching a foodservice element to a retail business. The feature will also be more business-focussed than ever before, offering practical advice and ideas that can be implemented to increase margins and profits as well as providing informative and tangible insights into key industry drivers and proven methods to increase footfall.
The Small Business Forum will provide practical advice to help small and medium sized businesses run more efficiently and profitably. Competition has never been fiercer which explains why this element of the show is growing in popularity year after year. Most notably the focus has evolved to feature ‘small business heroes’ who have ‘been there, done that’ and succeeded.
For the first time The Small Business Forum will include the opportunity to speak directly to these ‘small business heroes’ at a drop in business advice clinic. One-on-one advice sessions will be offered by seasoned industry experts, giving helpful – and most importantly confidential – advice on how companies can improve different areas of their business strategy from marketing and web strategy to finance and supplier relationships and logistics.
In addition, the Small Business Forum will again host popular case study led seminars designed to offer advice and practical tips on how to run a more profitable and efficient business.
Speciality & Fine Food Fair is set to attract over 500 speciality food and drink suppliers, all bringing a host of the highest quality, creative and unique products to London. With more than one third of exhibitors on board for the first time this year, visitors can be safe in the knowledge that they will leave the 2009 show with a fresh, and revitalised outlook on the UK’s fine food world.
For further information about exhibiting at SFFF09, please contact Soraya GadelRab on 0207 886 3057.
For full event details, Fine Food Forum and Small Business Forum programmes and to register for a FREE visitor badge, visit www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk