I am not very good on statistics (something to do with me not being very good at maths?….) and spend far less time than I should on checking which of you read what on our sites. But yesterday Cressida emailed me some ‘comparative data’ for entries into last year’s and this year’s FreeFrom Food Awards. I share them only because I feel that they offer a small window on how the freefrom food offer is developing.
The most encouraging for those who have long bemoaned the dearth of freefrom convenience meals, is that the entry for the ‘Savoury pies, ready meals, pizzas etc’ category has effectively doubled, to, at nearly 40 entries, the largest entry this year – a massive improvement on a mere three years ago when we were struggling to reach the half dozen. Of course we do not yet know what they will taste like. For that you will have to wait until the publication of the shortlist in March and, more comprehensively, for our judging tables after the presentation in late April.
Other categories that are creeping up are ‘food service’ (still a massively under-exploited opportunity here for freefrom manufacturers) with just two more entries this year, ‘ingredients’ (one extra entry), chocolates and sweets (two extra) and plant (soya, oat, rice, coconut, nut etc) ‘milks’, spreads, ‘cheeses’ and ‘ice creams’ (three extra).
Making a bit more of a spurt are the Innovation Award (an extra five entries this year), ‘scones, sweet biscuits, Bakewells, flapjacks, cookies etc’ (also up by five) and the ever popular freefrom cake category (up by 8 entries).
Suggesting that staples such as decent freefrom bread, pasta and breakfast cereals are now part of the fabric of our freefrom shelves so are no longer big enough news to justify entry into an award, entries for these three categories are all down – halved in the case of bread, almost halved for pasta and by 30% for the breakfast cereals.(Mind you, cereals was a very big category last year.)
Meanwhile, the number of gluten-free beers entered remains the same and free-from puddings seem to have almost disappeared off the market (maybe they all went into the Christmas category…). However, we are delighted to have nearly 20 entries for the new ‘raw food and superfood’ category including nut butters, dehydrated kale chips, raw chocolate brownies, mesquite flour, beetroot juice, ‘cheesecakes’ and chocolate making kits!
Judging takes place over the next two weeks, a shortlist will be published on March 1st and the presentations to the winners will take place on April 17th.
Meanwhile, over at SkinsMatter…. the first ever FreeFrom Skincare Awards have gone off with bang! While our freefrom food bloggers are busy filling the blogosphere with freefrom food news (see links here), beauty cyberspace is equally a-buzz with news about the skincare awards (see links here). Indeed, I am getting seriously worried about the health of our lovely student intern, Amy’s degree as she is spending so much time processing FreeFrom Skincare awards entrants! My task is to organise the wonderfully enthusiastic Beauty Bible testers who will be subjecting the shortlisted products to rigorous assessments in March and April.
Entry for the skincare awards closes on 24th February (with a 10% discount if you can get your entry in before the 31st January) with the shortlist being published in mid March and the awards presented at the Allergy and FreeFrom Show in late May.