The advantage of being a ‘small compact team’ is that you can be ultra flexible and move forward quickly on an idea if it seems like a good one; the disadvantage is that you are all too likely to leap into something without really having looked as carefully as maybe you should….
A couple of months ago that was certainly what we were feeling about our new FreeFrom Eating Out Awards into which we had ‘leapt’ after the FreeFrom Food Awards presentation last year without really the least idea what we were doing! We certainly had not even started to appreciate how very different the food service/catering/restaurant world was from the retail one with which we were familiar – or how few people we knew in it!
However, thanks partly to the awareness generated by the new regulations covering allergy in food service coming into force at the end of this year, but mainly to the wonderfully open minded and supportive attitude of virtually everyone we have spoken to over the last six months (including Antony Worrall Thompson, bless him), the awards are now not only happening but they have supporters, they are being written about in the press, they even have a date and a venue for the presentation!
We have been able to form ‘partnerships’ to publicise and support the awards with many of the movers and shakers both in food service and in the allergy/gluten free world – the two major food service distributors, Brakes and 3663, Horizons, ‘the Mintel of food service’, the Anaphylaxis Campaign and Coeliac UK, the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the Food and Drink Innovation Network, and specialist consultants, Allergy Action and Jane Milton. And that is not including the latest organisation to join us as partner – and to host to the presentation of the winners – the new Food Matters Live event happening at Excel next November.
We have had quite a respectable amount of coverage in the media for the awards with a good deal more in the pipeline; we have categories (although not yet fixed in stone); we have criteria although they will need to be adjusted to accommodate some of the newer categories. All we need now is some money as, no matter how much good will we generate, awards cost cash to run!!
We are, of course, hoping that a fairly godmother will come along and offer to be our ‘headline sponsor’ but while awaiting her arrival we are seeking what we have called ‘cloud sponsorship’:
‘We appreciate that there are a number of companies who are interested in breaking into or expanding their presence in ‘freefrom’ in food service.
Joining our ‘sponsorship cloud ‘ will be an excellent way to get their name and their services noticed by those who count in the food service world.
We are offering three levels of cloud sponsorship and, as in a ‘tag cloud’, the bigger your contribution, the larger your ‘tag’ in our cloud!
So, if you just happened to be thinking of getting into freefrom in foodservice……
Meanwhile, yet another set of favourable trend predictions for 2014. In the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot forecast, gluten-free cuisine clocks in fourth after locally sourced meats and seafoods, locally grown produce and environmental sustainability.
For more information on the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards check in to the website here.