One of the highlights of Rich’s year is attending the Speciality & Fine Food Show to seek out fresh inspiration across food and design. Here is a quick round-up of some of the foods and brands that we think are worth talking about.
1. One of those, “why on earth are these not already an established product in the olive category in the UK,” moments. Given that chargrilled peppers, artichokes etc are already established in the UK, we predict that grilled olives will be appearing on shelves in the UK soon as a way of adding interest and innovation to the UK olive category. Those pictured here are from Turkish supplier, Pera Goods.
2. We think the dry-aged, thinly sliced rib eye from Antwerp-based The Butcher’s Store, deserves a place on UK retail shelves alongside traditional continental meats like Parma Ham. With some consumers cutting down on meat, and rib eye already well established as a cut of beef, it seems shoe-in for a restaurant menu or for special occasions at home.
3. We think this brand of bamboo salt – Ocksujung – is the “James Bond of salt”: it’s intriguing, sleek, and effortlessly stylish. With sea salt and Himalayan salt having successfully penetrated the UK grocery market, and added premiumisation to product development, it feels like there is room for more specialisation within the salt category, particularly where that product has a story behind it. This brand of bamboo salt, from Korea, is roasted nine times, using bamboo.
4. We really like the idea of positioning savoury biscuits as an accompaniment to drinks, in a similar way to sweet biscuits being a traditional accompaniment to a cup of tea. Biscuits feel, at least, like a more substantial snack to have with your drink in a pub or bar and the range of flavours from The Drinks Bakery makes them versatile enough to go with a variety of different drinks. As a design agency, we’re also rather taken by the simple block colour and black design, which really gives the products stand out.
5. Food and drink manufacturers are quickly realising that in using by-products from the food & drink supply chain, they can showcase innovation, score ethical brownie points with consumers, genuinely do good, and potentially lower their ingredients costs base. We therefore like this juice pulp granola from Nibs etc.
6. Hops do appear as an ingredient occasionally, other than in beer – for example, Hereford Hop cheese, but we think they deserve to be given more attention. As interest in no and low-alcohol drinks increases, that may start to happen, as they can impart their flavour to non-alcoholic drinks to give a flavour which is reminiscent of beer. We like that Willys has hit several trends in one fell swoop with the launch of its alcohol-free Hemp & Hop Kombucha Beer.