In July I was invited to be a key speaker at two prestigious food shows, which is always a fantastic opportunity because it means I can share my story of living with allergies, helping others in the community.
The first was the Allergy and Free From Show at the ExCel in London.
The Allergy Show re-launched and re-branded back in 2011 to the title it now has. Over the last eleven years it has grown in both exhibitor and visitor numbers, and is now the largest free-from show in the world. Amazing!
It’s the perfect place to visit for anyone who, like me, lives with allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease, hay fever or eczema. It’s also great for those who live free-from gluten, wheat, eggs, nuts, dairy, or need to avoid dust mites, latex or any other material.
Whilst at the show, visitors could see thousands of free-from products by household names that we all recognise, plus new start up brands. There were also lots of fun activities for everyone to take part in: cooking classes, seminars, expert advice, skin consultations, live music and a trade conference.
As a keynote speaker I was asked to talk about ‘My journey living with allergies, the do’s and don’ts and how to support your child’. I talked about my experiences and challenges after being diagnosed at the age of 2 with anaphylaxis to many foods, medicines and even perfumes. I also talked about how I took control of my life, and gave tips about travelling and living day to day. I wanted people to know that my allergies do not have to limit me, and theirs don’t have to limit them either.
I also talked about how free-from products should be super tasty. Just because food doesn’t contain gluten, dairy, nuts or sweeteners, it doesn’t mean it has to be ‘free-from’ flavour!
As well as being a key speaker, I was also one of four speakers on a panel, talking about ‘Living with Allergies – looking at the whole picture.’ We took part in a discussion about living with allergies, understanding the impact and complexities of living with those allergies and how important it is to get labelling right etc.
The Allergy Free From Show will also take place in Birmingham (Nov 2022) and Glasgow in March 2023.
My second speaker event in July was The Bread and Jam festival on July 19 and 20th
Now in its 7th year, it takes place in London and is the place to be, for ambitious food entrepreneurs looking to accelerate the growth of their business. Every year 16,000 food and drink brands emerge into the UK market but only 10% make it past their first year of trading.
Similarly, to the Free-from show, at this festival, there were keynote speakers, workshops, panel discussions and advice from industry experts. A marketplace area where people could mingle and mix. People who were emerging brands, industry icons, investors, media and experts in the food industry.
Along with some other business experts, I was a key speaker talking about “Post Brexit Britain – Where are the International Opportunities for UK Brands?” In discussion, we were considering, how you make the most of the Made in the UK image, how Brexit has made trade in the EU much harder, and should we be looking further afield, or still looking to the Continent. Those of us on the panel of experts have exported to over 50 countries between us.
At Creative Nature, we have definitely made changes to the countries where our products are now sold. During the last two years we have moved into the USA, the Middle East, Far East, and Australia, as well as continued to see increases at home and in Europe. Our products can be found in many supermarkets and high street retailers in the UK, and online too.
I felt very confident to talk about these issues, having taken part in the Panorama program last year, and following on from that, having made a break into new countries with our business.
I enjoyed my time at both events, and it was wonderful to see so many people who are now involved in producing products that improve the lives of allergy sufferers when it comes to what they eat.