It has been very busy in the Foodsmatter office this week as today is the cut off date for the discounted early entry to this year’s FreeFrom Food Awards – so the end of the week saw a mad rush of entries all trying to squeeze in before the deadline and get their 10% off! (Those who missed the discount deadline can now relax as the final deadline for entry is not until the middle of December!)
It is all very exciting for us as quite apart from those freefrom companies whose products we would expect to see, we have had a whole batch of entries from freefrom companies we had never heard of – several from outside the UK. And we thought we knew everyone operating in the field!
It is also very exciting because tomorrow we are not only ‘officially’ launching the 2011 awards, but we are revealing this year’s main sponsor. And because my blog readers are a specially privileged group, you are getting the advance information – the main sponsors for the 2011 FreeFrom Food Awards are Juvela, long established manufacturers of prescription foods for coeliacs.
For followers of freefrom this is a particularly interesting move. Up till now Juvela have been hard core manufacturers of staple products for diagnosed coeliacs (breads and rolls, flour mixes, pasta and pizza bases, biscuits and crackers) available only on prescription. But the forward planners at Juvela felt the wind of change blowing their way. They realised that with the extraordinary expansion in the freefrom market, their core customers are now looking beyond their prescription products to the enormous range of gluten-free products available everywhere from their local health food shop to their nearest superstore – and are prepared to pay for interesting and unusual g-f products which will never be available on prescription.
So Juvela are moving out into the wider freefrom world. They have opened an on-line shop which is quite separate from their prescription business, they have just launched their first four non-prescription, free from products – four breakfast cereals – and they have decided to hit the freefrom ground running by sponsoring the 2011 FreeFromFood Awards! Since we pride ourselves as being the first to encourage of innovation in this sector, we are delighted!!
In fact we are totally delighted by the support we have had from all of the freefrom industry for this year’s awards as we currently have 15 out of a total of 17 categories sponsored and our sponsor list reads like a Who’s Who of the freefrom industry:
Livwell (the Innovation category), Tesco (3 categories), Asda (2 categories), Delamere Dairy, Food and Drink Innovation Network, Genius Gluten Free, Genon Laboratories, Goodnessdirect, Lactofree, Mrs Crimbles, Produced in Italy, Swedish Glacé… Roll on the judging session in February and the awards presentation (by Antony Worrall Thompson) and party in April!!
Meanwhile, whether it is the whiff of awards in the air or what, but we seem to have been inundated with excitingly delicious new products! Chocolate galore: definitely innovative and very interesting dark chocolate with smoked sea salt from Seed and Bean, a really excellent range of dairy free milk chocolate bars, caramels and filled chocolates from Celtic Chocolates for which we are still awaiting prices and availability and, arrived only yesterday, GoDo Italian chocolate. So far we have only tried the dairy-free Expresso but, with crunched up with of coffee beans running through it, it is to die for….
More chocolate, but made into a butter with Brazil nuts (yummy) from Raw Health, a chocolate oat drink from Oatly, and, earlier in the month, smooth and delicious dairy free chocolate fudge from Mooove Over Dairy and mega-gooey-rich chocolate brownies from Blue Basil.
And, just in case you are worrying, with some reason, that none of us are able to fit into our jeans any more….. We have also been tasting rather less indulgent but still excellent new fresh gluten-free breads from Glutafin, gluten-free sandwich wraps (including quinoa and flax seeds…) from Celia’s Kitchen, mini rice cakes from Kallo and, arrived only yesterday and not yet tasted, frozen gluten-free savoury pies and pastries from Gluten Freedom….
Whew – I think I need a cup of coffee!