UK trade expo IFE has become a key date for smaller, domestic companies looking to build distribution at home and further afield – and gives international businesses a chance to increase awareness of their wares here. just-food visited this year’s event at the ExCel centre in London’s Docklands and chose the products it feels could carve out a niche.
Taywell Ice Creams’ Sweet Rebellion
The UK ice cream manufacturer predominantly sells to foodservice customers but is gearing up for what it hopes is a big retail push with a new brand. Sweet Rebellion is, Taywell MD Alastair Jessel, says a product that “is about turning ice cream from a treat into a health product”. Jessel says the product has 70% less sugar than Taywell’s namesake lines. “We are the first in the world to do a natural, dairy, lactose-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free ice cream range, which we think will be the way forward for the country.” With sugar in the spotlight and consumer attention on the ingredient slowly increasing, this type of ice cream could find favour
Freedom Brands’ Nudie Snacks coconut chips
The owner of UK coconut water brand Go Coco is expanding into snacks with a new brand and aiming to tap into emerging consumer interest in healthier snacks. Nudie Snacks is on sale at in Whole Foods Market and Planet Organics in the UK and Ross Currie, founder and co-owner of Freedom Brands, says the coconut chips will be on sale in the country’s multiples by the end of the year. The company, which generates half its annual £3m sales outside the UK, is also looking at taking the snacks outside the UK, using its existing international markets for Go Coco. “We want to do with coconut chips with what popcorn has done to the snacking category – a healthier alternative,” Currie says.
Bean pasta from Sweden’s A La Eco
The fledgling Swedish firm showcased its range of bean pasta, including soy bean fettuccine and black bean spaghetti, as it looks to continue its expansion outside Sweden. Company founder Lisbeth Arvidsson says the brand has listings at “more than 1,300 stores” across Scandinavia since its launch two-and-a-half years ago. A La Eco has won its first deal to supply a vegan retailer in Germany and is next eyeing Austria, the Netherlands and the UK. “A lot of people are looking for free-from products and a lot of fitness people are looking for something high in protein, which gives them all the necessary amino acids so they don’t have to use a synthetic powder to drink. And it’s tasty as well.” It could be a challenge to convince pasta eaters to try a bean pasta but with demand for gluten-free products and for protein on the rise, A La Eco may be set to enter more markets.
Dee’s Quinoa Pot with Thai Spiced Vegetables from Dee’s Wholefoods
The Ireland-based supplier of vegan food is adding to its range with a line of fresh ready meals, including a quinoa pot. The new product has been developed to tap into consumer interest in quinoa and in protein – it contains 13.2g of the ingredient. “For people to really buy into a vegetarian or vegan diet, they have to feel satisfied and nourished, especially men,” company founder and co-owner Dee Collins says. Across its portfolio, Dee’s Wholefoods has listings across Ireland and in Ocado in the UK. A selection of its lines are also available in the UAE. The pot range – which also includes a Moroccan veg pot – is the company’s latest attempt at broadening its UK listings and gaining a foothold in the country’s non-meat category, dominated by Quorn Foods, which itself is soon to launch its first vegan products.
Kids-focused lines from France’s Quinola Mothergrain
Another quinoa-based product, this organic line can act as a meal or part of a meal for children. The Quinola Kids range has secured listings in Ocado, Planet Organic and Whole Foods, as well as being tested in select branches in Asda. “Products directly targeted at kids as opposed to babies is a relatively new thing in the UK,” the France-based organic and Fairtrade company tells just-food. The fact Asda is testing the water for the product suggests there is a belief more mainstream consumers could be interested in buying such a line.
Ethnic ready meals for kids from Mini Nom Noms
The new UK firm has developed a range of ethnic dishes targeted at children. With products including an Indian Tiny Tiffin jewelled lamb biryani, founder Lisa Sohanpal is hoping to entice parents with a love for world cuisine but, she says, who want to offer healthier versions to their children. Mini Nom Noms is set to go on sale through Ocado and Sohanpal says she is in “final negotiations” with UK grocers. She also has her sights on international listings. Taking on the likes of Little Dish and Annabel Karmel in what can be a category littered with promotions will be a challenge but with interest in ethnic cuisine intensifying and parents are keen for convenient – and healthy – options for their children.
Healthier spreads from UK brand JimJams
Fledgling UK business JimJams is hoping its range of low-sugar spreads will appeal to parents – while believing its name should appeal to younger consumers. The company has jams, marmalades and chocolate spreads in its range and is selling its spreads through health stores. Founder Kevin Bath says JimJams is also on sale in Spain, Norway and Poland, with a recent listing at mainstream Polish retailer Piotr i Pawel. A year since launch, the brand has yet to secure a deal to the UK’s multiples but Bath believes JimJams can carve out a foothold in a spreads category in which some segments are in decline (jam) while others are dominated by major international brands (chocolate spreads and Ferrero’s Nutella). “I just feel the momentum is picking up now. There isn’t a brand that covers the whole range of spreads with a healthier ethos.”
Pip & Nut’s nut butter squeeze packs
While interest in healthier spreads is emerging, so is demand for on-the-go snacks – and UK nut butter firm Pip & Nut is looking to tap into that market with a line of squeeze packs. The range comes in three flavours – peanut, almond and coconut almond – and could benefit from interest from consumers looking for products containing mono-unsaturated fats, increasingly seen as ‘good’ fats. The company was founded by entrepreneur Pip Murray in 2013, with the first products – the nut butters – securing their first listings in January in Selfridges.
Martorana Snacks’ pasta snack brand Pastinos
The rise of gluten-free could mean pasta feels some pressure (see A La Eco above) but suppliers could look to tap into demand for healthier snacks. UK firm Martorana Snacks is trying to do so with its five-strong Pastinos range, which has secured listings with Selfridges, Whole Foods and Waitrose. The company emphasises the fact the snacks “contain 35% less fat than standard potato crisps and zero cholesterol”.
Yowk – the soft boiled egg to eat on-the-go
Critics may scoff – who, after all, cannot boil an egg? – but the New Egg Co. believes its new Yowk product has a market. Yowk is a “perfectly soft boiled egg to be enjoyed on the move”, its creators say. The Yowk egg comes with an egg cup, breadstick soldiers, salt and pepper, plus a “spoon with a tooth” – or “spooth” – to help crack the shell. The concept may cause sceptical groans among some but the rise of so-called “desk-fasting” (breakfast at your desks) consumers could at least give Yowk a go. All they need is to add boiled water to the pot.
Source: just-food, Dean Best | 2 April 2015