Speciality, artisan and fine food proved its resilience against the current economic climate at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, as visitors flocked to the 2009 event in their thousands.

The event, which celebrated 10 years serving the fine food and drink trade, gave 7,247 visitors (prior to audit by ABC) a unique opportunity to see the finest products from across the industry. In what was one of the most successful years to date, the show saw an exceptional number of new exhibitors take the floor, almost half of the total line up in fact, underlining the Fair’s status as the industry’s undisputed number one event.

One of the unique elements that brought in the crowds was the chance for visitors to source competitively priced and unique produce that would add a point of difference to their businesses.

Organisers also inspired visitors with an array of exciting features, including the Fine Food Forum, the Small Business Forum, the winners of the Great Taste Awards and the ever-popular Speciality Chocolate Fair.

The enthusiasm amongst the exhibitors was palpable and many of those new to the show were delighted with the response from visitors. Kent & Fraser director John Selby, enthused “There’s only one word to describe the show – unbelievable. We’ve been completely overwhelmed with the number and quality of visitors. It’s been so busy we even needed to draft in another person to help! We wanted to use the show to obtain feedback and assess the reaction from buyers and we couldn’t have hoped for anything better. We will be back again next year, without a doubt.”

Kent & Fraser weren’t the only company queuing up at the desk to re-book for the 2010 show. Mary Dolman from The Devon Cream Co. was so inspired by her experiences that before it was even over she had booked a spot again for next year: “Speciality & Fine Food Fair is one of the best trade shows we attend and the 2009 show is by far one of the most impressive. Our stand has been really busy and we’ve had lots of genuine and good quality visitors. We were looking to meet a range of buyers, wholesalers and distributors and we’ve definitely done just that.”

The excitement was also evident in the Speciality Chocolate Fair, which for the second year running showcased the very best in fine and artisan chocolate. Genevieve Holdsworth, director at Holdsworth’s Chocolates was equally impressed with the number and strength of visitors to the show: “This is our second time at Speciality and I can safely say that this is by far and away the best food show there is. The quality of visitors gets stronger every year and we’ve had such a fantastic response from everyone that has come to the stand.”

The fair also played host to the launch of the Source Trust, a new ethical trading initiative, which guarantees the traceability of cocoa. The aim of the trust is to promote sustainable farming practices with traceability, that will improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities around the world. A group of distinguished delegates came together at the conference, ‘Cocoa, Climate Change and the Future of Chocolate’, to learn about the new initiative and its plans to revolutionise the chocolate industry.

But it wasn’t just the superb products on show that got people talking. Visitors to the Fine Food Forum, sponsored by Sud de France, were treated to an array of spectacular demonstrations from leading industry chefs.

The Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2010 is taking place between 5-7 September at Olympia in London. For details on exhibiting and for full details of who was on show at the 2009 event please visit

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