Free From Finds from NOPE

One of the best things I get to do in the course of my work is go to food and health trade shows, which are normally reserved for industry professionals, but for which press passes are generally available to interested hacks.

The Natural and Organic Products Europe show is one of the best: an annual showcase for established, emerging and overseas food, health, skincare and household products – many of which are looking for distribution in the UK.

I go to look for vegetarian and vegan products (I write for Vegetarian Living magazine), natural skincare and products for eczema (I co-ordinate the FreeFrom Skincare Awards), and, of course, free from food – and to chat to their producers. The first day of the show was today, and here are some of the new gluten-free, dairy free and other ‘free from’ finds.

Punku Quinoa Foods’ Quinoa Cookies were tasty, crumbly and not too sweet – they come in orange & mango, and chocolate chip, available from their site. They contain flour from quinoa, tapioca, rice and canahua – another gluten-free grain from South America, smaller than quinoa, but packing a similar nutritional punch. (Anyone come across it in the UK?). Gluten, dairy and egg free. They have some quinoa chocolate bars launching soon.

Nature & Cie - French GF and organic biscuits, cakes (including madeleines and brioches) and cereals (eg buckwheat and honey pops).

Le Mandorle -French organic almond milks and cream

Biedermann -
Lactose-free premium organic Swiss yoghurts (below) and caffé latte

Re these three, I was told by the exporter on the stand that some of the products from these ranges are available in Wholefoods, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, and a few other small stores and delis. (Their website is under development)

Daiya dairy-free cheese shreds – cheddar style, mozzarella style and pepperjack style (me neither). These were made from coconut, pea protein, tapioca and arrowroot – in a factory free from animal ingredients, soy, tree nuts and peanuts. They were German – is the site – but I can’t recall what the team said regarding UK distribution.

Kintaro Pop Rice snacks were fun, convenient, if quite sweet – the packs are smaller than the image below might suggest, so would probably fit in a kids’ lunchbox. They either contain nuts or a nut warning, but are gluten free, dairy free and egg free.

Lifefood were a real find – hailing from the Czech Republic, they had a huge selection of raw, vegan, gluten-free products such as flax rolls, ‘buckwheaties’, raw breads (from hemp, flax, buckwheat, almonds, chia … ), dehydrated crackers (flax, mainly, flavoured with tomato, carrot, pesto, pumpkin seeds, onions …), raw nuts, vegetable chips (beetroot, onion and kale), and a lot more.

Some worked – the sauerkraut chia crackers were terrific – others less so, but overall if they could get serious distribution in the UK, they could go far. Meanwhile, you can shop online.

Jollyum is a dairy-free soya-based ‘ice cream’ hailing from Yorkshire and currently seeking wider distribution. They’re also gluten-free and egg-free, but either have nuts or nut warnings. The curious thing about this brand was that it was the first example I’d come across of allergens being underlined on new style labelling, rather than emboldened. I don’t think it worked, but bolding white text on coloured background wouldn’t have worked either. You can just see it in image below.

Gaia is a French company importing a gluten-free grain called fonio from Burkina Faso to France. I was told it was unrelated to other GF grains we might be familiar with, but I wondered whether it was some variety of amaranth or millet (don’t quote me). Anyway, it’s available in ‘wholegrain’ (which should be used when you want a grain replacement), ‘semi wholegrain’ (which gives a more ‘porridgey’ consistency when cooked) and as a flour (the latter two pictured here), which can be used as any other GF flour. No distribution in the UK yet – but wonder whether anyone’s come across fonio in African stores in London or elsewhere?

And finally, while the next one may well be a remarkable product - and I'm sure many non free-from'ers will find it so - from an allergy perspective, it may cause readers a few shivers …. PPB – Powdered Peanut Butter – is essentially a peanut flour from a brand called Hale Naturals, high in fibre and protein, but low in fat, which you can use in smoothies, bakery, Asian sauces … A nightmare from a cross-contamination perspective, I imagine, it is perhaps only redeemed in many of my readers' eyes by a gluten free certification.

Every cloud …

* Fat Gay Vegan found quite a few other interesting #freefrom products, including This is Why sorbets and desserts (free of the 14 main allergens) and Rice Mice - nut-free cookies.
* Free From Foods Matter's Cressida's round-up includes other new launches from free-from brands.

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