Retail Times editor, Fiona Briggs, reveals her top 21 finds at IFE 2011 at Excel, London, 13-16 March 2011
1. Jamie Oliver goes global
UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has an expanding international reputation and is growing exports of his own brand pasta sauces and seasonings to markets including Canada and Germany.
“The Canadians have really embraced the health theme – they have a foodie culture so the reception to Jamie is wonderful,” says Mike Cutter, international sales manager at Fiddes Paynes, which produces Oliver’s seasonings range.
“We started with salt and pepper and have expanded the portfolio to make it more about instant consumption,” he says.
New at IFE 2011 were meat and fish seasoning sachets, suitable for two servings, and available in six flavours. Cutter said they are designed to be merchandised on meat counters, “bringing Jamie all around the store”. Similar sachets are planned in Jamie Oliver’s range of Herb Crusts, flavoured breadcrumbs, currently sold in tubs; and ideal for smaller stores.
Competitions to win Jamie Oliver branded barbecues are also in the pipeline at overseas retailers – “bringing freshness and fun into store,” says Cutter.
Under its own brand, Fiddes Payne has tied up with Disney and its new Cars 2 movie, scheduled for release in the summer, to produce peanut-free Cars 2 branded cookie and cup cake mixes. Cutter is hoping for similar success to its Toy Story collaboration in 2010 – it sold 12,000-15,000 units a week in one leading UK supermarket chain.
New skus are also planned in four-compartment jars of cake and ice cream decorations. These take up less space and the rate of sale is faster, Cutter claims.
2. Lily O’Brien’s gets Uglies
Irish chocolate brand Lily O’Brien’s launched the Uglies sub brand at the show, to appeal to a younger and wider audience and “open up the marketing opportunity,” according to business development manager Caroline Thompson.
The chocolates “ugly on the outside, delicious on the inside” are available in two varieties: honeycomb crunch and cocoa cookie and in three pack formats – a 100g pouch, a new sharing pot and individual bags for impulse.
The company, which exports to the US and supplies travel operators including British Airways, is launching into the chilled desserts category too with a range of chocolate mousses under the Lily O’Brien and Uglies brands. According to Thompson, the move is about “adding value’ and the company will “make to frozen” with a 10-day chilled shelf life.
3. Drinks pack a new punch with innovative formats
In alcoholic drinks, new pack formats were to the fore. Ukuva i Africa UK showcased an innovative pack design – U Tube Wine – offering ‘everyday red and white wine’ in a tube format with a tap for dispensing; while Spanish producer Divinio showed its single serve wine glass, an easy-drinking wine bottled straight in the glass.
According to the company, Divino has been designed for supermarkets, fast food outlets, sports arenas and venues, outdoor concerts and festivals, caterers, airline and train operators, theatres, nightclubs and snack/café kiosks.
4. Convenient cheese
Old Holland showed handy bags of gouda cheese cubes.
5. Nuts for coconuts
Coconut was the flavour of the day for several exhibitors including Windmill Organic with its Biona Coconut Water; All Market Europe’s Vita Coco coconut water; Savia International’s Savia coconut drink and First Grade International’s Kara Dairy Free drink, made from freshly pressed coconut milk.
6. Coneinn: new food-on-the move
In food-to-go, Spanish manufacturer Coneinn was previewing its cone-shaped pizza snacks with seven fillings to UK customers. CEO Chris Dickens said the product was already on sale in 30 countries and is aimed at food service and retailers.
“Food-on-the-go in food service is a very important area of growth and it’s a substantial eat that you can hold in one hand,” he said. “From a retail perspective, more people are becoming time poor and looking for alternative snacks.”
7. Hampstead offers ice teas in recyclable packs
London-based Hampstead Tea showed ready-to-drink ice teas in 50cl Tetrapaks and previewed a smaller 33cl format.
The range is organic and Fairtrade and comes in three flavours: Chai Orange, Darjeeling Cherry and Oolong Elderflower – all naturally sweetened with agave syrup.
The packs are recyclable and all the company’s teas are sourced from a biodynamic estate in Darljeeling. The company enjoys worldwide distribution in markets including Canada, the US, France, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Japan.
8. Healthy coffee – a first?
Health and wellbeing were watchwords at the show in several categories, even coffee, where an Italian producer presented its Fitness Coffee, a ‘healthy coffee’ brand made with premium beans, medicinal herbs, stimulant spices and fat burning herbal extracts.
9. Sweetness, naturally
Sweet Freedom showed its range of natural sweeteners and syrups.
10. Rude Health’s thins are rice cake alternative
Rude Health previewed new Multi-Grain thins, snacks with a splash of sea salt; alongside Oaty thins and Rice thins; alternatives to polyfilla rice cakes, the company claims.
11. Moo Cluck makes natural ice cream
New ice cream brand Moo Cluck debuted at the show with its range of ‘natural’ ice creams in three flavours: mango, strawberry and blueberry. The ice cream is made from milk, cream, eggs and fruit juices with no additives or preservatives.
“A lot of interest has come from mothers with children,” said the company’s Dan Stephens.
12. Dr Vita offers One Day juices
Dr Vita, set up six months ago, showed its One Day juices with no added ingredients or water. A variant with beetroot, super food of the moment, and orange is planned.
13. The Food Doctor revamps
The Food Doctor relaunched its range at IFE 2011 with a cohesive line up of products, which are now produced under licence. The company also previewed instant soups, due for release in the autumn.
14. Fudge Kitchen
The retailer and manufacturer showcased its wholesale range of fudge products including new fudge sauces and butter fudge, available wrapped (rrp £3.25) or in gift boxes.
Drinking Fudge, six different flavour sachets in a cube shaped box, is also new (rrp £8.00) and extends the brand’s reach.
The company has been wholesaling its range for just two years. Managing director Sian Holt reports some of its smaller customers have ‘gone under’ but was upbeat nonetheless.
“I think food, especially luxury food, is a treat that’s affordable. People might not go out for a lavish meal but treat themselves to some luxury food and a DVD at home,” she says.
Fudge Kitchen operates eight stores and 80% of its business is through its own shops. That provides a different perspective, says Holt. The high street is getting tougher and those that are there are having to work harder, she says.
“Our average sale has gone up in the last year and we’ve sold more gift boxes but have had a fewer number of sales.”
15. Popcorn crazy
Popcorn is the new gourmet crisp, according to Tyrrell’s, which launched its own version in three varieties at the show: Lightly Sea Salted, Sweet & Salty and Sour Cream and Jalapeno Chilli. Large sharing pack sizes and snack packs are available.
16. Asiri Foods
Asiri Foods, set up five months ago, offers a range of pickles and chutneys made to traditional Sri Lankan recipes. They include Brinjal Pickle, an aubergine-based product and a point of difference, according to founder Asiri Hall.
Malvern-based Asiri sources all of its products and ingredients from local farmers and suppliers, including the glass jars and labels.
Currently supplying delis and farm shops but with interest from a supermarket, “a good one”, Asiri says: “Shops like to know where the produce comes from – the brand has to stay British – even if I go big, I want to stay British.”
17. Sweet and royal pies
Pieminister stepped into the sweet pie category at IFE with three products: The Royal Pear, Toffee Apple Pie and Adam’s Apple Pie.
The first is one of two commemorative products to celebrate the royal wedding. Pieminister has also introduced the Kate & Wills beef pie.
Provenance and British is part and parcel of the company ethos – it uses free range British meat and aims to source seasonal vegetables as locally as possible.
18. Corkers captures Cambridgeshire
Corkers Launched last autumn, Cambridgeshire crisp brand Corkers is building distribution, particularly in its own heartland and may shortly be on sale in the county’s universities.
Managing director Rod Garnham highlights the crips’ appeal: “The potatoes give us a really good crunch and are not abrasive on the mouth and have a clean feel.”
19. Action Against Hunger
While food security is a top priority in developed markets, UK-registered charity Action Against Hunger has 30 years’ experience in dealing with chronic food insecurity.
It works in 46 countries around the world to save children with acute malnutrition as well as improve food security and water sanitation.
The charity has already developed strong links with the food sector, including influential chefs, and is keen to get retailers and suppliers on board.
“The food industry has been really valuable in fund raising,” says Cassy Olszewski from Action for Hunger, who says 92p of every £1.00 donated reaches the cause.
It is now the chosen charity for the Taste Festivals in the UK and is hosting an event on 16 May 2011 to encourage consumers and especially food lovers to host their own fund raising events.
20. Mums like Yummy Lollies
Yummy Lollies showed its 100% real fruit lollies in five flavours and real fruit Frenzy ice lollies in three flavours featuring no additives, preservatives or added sugar.
New take-home packs were introduced for both formats. Frenzy, launched last year, has sold well in the educational and leisure sector, said the company, providing a healthy product and engaging packaging.
21. Unearthed rediscovers food and flavours
Unearthed showed its range of deli products including olives, antipasti, tapas, charcuterie and pates. The two-year old company donates one pence from every pack sale to Action Against Hunger, in order to ‘give something back’.
Innovations manager Simon Kilgour-Miller said the Unearthed brand chimed well with the charity. “The consumer we are appealing to is open to discovering new foods and flavours and are open to discovering about other people and how they are able to help them,” he says.
New lines include a barrel-aged feta cheese and pork rillettes – products consumers may discover on holiday but then forget about. Unearthed aims to reawaken their interest by making product available.