18 March 2013

#IFE13 Show Highlights for an Independent Coffee and Healthfood shop owner!

My 5 Top Products at The International Food and Drink Event at the Excel Centre, 2013.

The five following products are the ones that interested me the most at the show and I'd be very pleased and proud to stock them in my shop. Discovering the products is only half the journey though, as a small independent company we have to work together with the producer and our wholesalers, to see if we can get the product delivered in the small batches we require, as we have the minimum of display space and we need to keep our cashflow healthy and our business sustainable.

Top 5 Products

1/Quinotto by Urcupac. Stand N3555a
Did you know that 2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the UN? And quite rightly so, quinoa is a fantastic replacement food for those carbohydrate laden foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes. The product is pre-washed, which makes it more convenient than usual and the range of different mixes uses only natural ingredients with out an e-number, flavour enhancer, or yeast additive in sight.
At the stand, I tasted a most delicious mushroom style one and it was so delicious I really did want to grab the whole terracotta bowl and eat it all by myself!
I want to stock this product in the retail/healthfood section of my shop, as I believe it is a convenient, easy way to enjoy a food that is extremely good for celiacs, diabetics and healthy eating addicts.

2/ tingz by Peppersmith. Stand N1465 
An innovative, new product that has won the show's award for Best New Confectionary/Snack.
The Award Winning Peppersmith, N1465
Personally, I don't believe in selling sweets, a bit of licorice is ok but I just cannot bring myself to stock pure sugar confectionary. Perhaps it's because my Dad was a Dentist, perhaps it's because I have a great sense of responsibility for our customers. On a personal level, I think sweets are nasty things that should never be given to children, especially not mine, however, I have just allowed my two children to nosh their way through these. The marketing leaflet tells me, 'Seriously good for teeth.' So that's one concern out of the way. They are actually seriously tasty too and I stood talking at the stand for ages, just so that I could keep popping these Strawberry and Vanilla flavoured delights into my mouth. There's also an Orange and Mandarin flavour too.

The presentation box is eye-catching and the two monster characters, one of which is named Floyd are very endearing. I reckon adults and children will enjoy this product, I'm so confident about this, I took the unusual step of ordering some for the shop, right away.

3/ Dark Chocolate with Clove by Zaabär. Stand N3440c
What a beautifully presented stand, with tastefully wrapped slabs of chocolate in a pearly, grey packet, with a name label wrapped around the middle. The unique thing about this product is an exceptionally long shelf life, due to the special foil wrapping and the amazing range of flavours, in their purest form. In front of each row of wrapped chocolate bars are cute silver tins, with chunks of the chocolate inside and silver tongs by the side, with which to take a sample. Some examples of the unusual combinations were dark chocolate with Lavender, or with Thyme, or even with licorice. What I enjoyed was the simplicity of balancing the taste of one herb with the extraordinary taste of the beautifully made Belgium chocolate.
Dark Chocolate with Clove and lots of tasters to try, Zaabar, Stand N3440c

Going to that stand and being allowed to sample all those delicious chunks of flavours was the stuff dreams are made of, in fact, when I'm an old lady in a rocking chair looking back on my life, that's one of the experiences I shall live and relive again.

It's very unusual to taste a chocolate that successfully combines a winter spice flavour, it always, always sounds better than it tastes, however, the Dark Chocolate with Clove that I discovered on this stand really, really worked. So scrummingly spicy, so much so, that my cheeks blushed, mixed in my mouth with the bitter, earthy notes of the chocolate. My tastebuds couldn't believe the way the flavours interplayed with each other on my tongue, the sweet, the bitter, the texture all intermingling to produce something as close to an orgasm, as you can get standing in an exhibition hall, in public!

I do apologise to the stand owners, if you run out of the Dark Chocolate with Clove, I did sample much more than my fair share.

I believe the only way they could encourage me to go away was to give me my own bar to take home.
I would like to place a small order of this product, I know it's not the massive order of their dreams but I know that where the independents lead, the others will follow.

4/ Coco Mojo by Coco Mojo Ltd. Stand N1606
This is exactly what I mean about functional food. It's actually a drink but it's so full of good stuff that you'd be foolish not to drink it. Between you and I, I absolutely hate the taste and smell of coconuts, so when they offered me a taste of this drink at their stand, I had imaginations of not being able to swallow it and having nowhere to spit it out, I could just imagine the look on my face putting anyone passing by off visiting the stand entirely.

Luckily, they gave me a carton to try at home. It's a combination of coconut milk, coconut water, tropical fruits and botanical herbs and it's the best coconut water based drink I have tried so far. It has a creamy, smooth taste, with a herby zing.

I can see this selling well, standing in my fridge by the coconut water that we already stock. It's a real crossover drink that will appeal to both adults and children, with lots of natural energy, hydration and immune-boosting properties.

It's a brand new product just being launched at the IFE Show now, when it becomes available, we hope to be one of the first stockists.

5/ Dark Chocolate covered Golden Berries by Pacari Chocolate. Stand N3555
Beautifully packaged in a cute box, which protects the product and makes it a great little gift too.
The covering chocolate is dark and hard as you bite into it, cracking open to reveal a sweet and sharp tasting, chewy centre, which is actually the very nutritious, Golden Berry.

A really unusual tasting product, which I feel would fit well on our shelves and I hope to be able to arrange a small order.

Best Stand Display

Honeybuns' beautiful stand N1113

Honeybuns Stand N1113
This stand is so beautifully presented with teapots hanging across and wooden spoons and retro styled packaging and the cutest little string of bunting I've ever seen. The Director works closely with her brother's coffee shop, to see what point of sale is effective and uses that knowledge to develop excellent point of sale support for their customers. Their stand is visual proof that it works, it's absolutely gorgeous and supports their brand of homebaked, gluten-free cakes, with no compromise on taste. We already stock one of their products but having seen the strength of their point of sale material, are thinking of stocking a few more of their lines. Their Brownies are particularly delectable.

Best Stand

Olives Et Al. Stand N1319
I'd love to stock olives in our shop, as a snack but we just don't have the room for a great selection of olives for people to try and then buy. Maybe we need to get an olive shop in the future! But in the meantime, on a personal level, I love this stand.

They are generous with the tastings and allow you to help yourself with no pressure, which is great for building up the product presence at the show and developing a relationship with potential purchasers, even if as a member of the public, rather than a professional stocking up. I was honest with the ladies on the stand and said I wouldn't be able to stock their product but on a personal level, I think they do the best olives ever. I am passionate about olives and can rarely be friends with someone that does not also enjoy the taste of olives. I think people that enjoy olives are often eccentric and just my kind of people. So, this of course was my top, personal favourite stall of the show. Those smooth, shiny olives, so gorgeously good for me and full of protein. My top tastes from this stand were the shiny little black ones from Australia with a sweet raisin taste and fleshy meat, the bright green ones, nutty and buttery flavour and then the little sun blushed cherry tomatoes, sweet, juicy and a slightly sharp, clean after taste.

Olives Et Al at Stand N1319

If you visited The International Food and Drink Event 2013, please let me know your highlights by commenting here. If you're going to the show, or exhibiting at the show, ENJOY! xxx
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