Food Writer & Journalist – Food Blogger & Reviewer – Cook, Baker & Recipe Maker
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” ~ Julia Child

Brands & shows I have worked with...

I have worked with some fabulous brands, businesses & shows over the years, here are just a few!

Natural & Organic Products Europe (London) 2019 – A Quick Tour!

For me, every year of food shows starts with the Natural & Organic Products Europe Expo (also known as NOPE) at London Excel.

Natural & Organic Products Europe is Europe’s biggest trade show for natural & organic products making it the ‘must attend’ event for buyers of natural health and living products, natural and organic food & drink as well as natural beauty & personal care products.

I have attended every year since it began with a press pass in hand and for me, it is the highlight of my trade show year.

Organised by Diversified Communications UK, the show is second to none in terms of friendly help as soon as you walk in, queries being answered, room to move and breathe whilst walking around the show, and probably the most important, excellent PR.

First stop is always the Press Office. Now, not all trade shows offer a press office and to me that is a real shame because the press office allows journalists and writers, like myself, to be able to read all the relevant press releases for our industry and to pick up any media and sample packs from brands that are at the show. As you will see over the coming blog posts, it allows me to highlight some amazing brands too, because the show is so big and busy, some stalls and brands do get missed so to still be able to highlight them via media packs, really does make our life a little easier and therefore more exposure for the brands. This is all down to the Press Office in the first instance.

As soon as I walked in, the Pukka Herbs stand appeared in front of me. A huge stand, beautifully presented with a lot of team members on hand for information. Plenty of samples available and I even got to try their new latte blends. Silky smooth herbal based lattes, simply divine! Every team member was knowledgeable and approachable, really lovely to see team members taking their time to share their products with not just buyers but also journalists too. I am a huge fan (I am not going to tell you porkies…) of Pukka already after working with them a few years ago and I am the proud owner of tea chest full of Pukka Teas which I drink on a daily basis. But to see them in action like this at the show, I felt so proud of them. They are a trusted and widely recognised brand but they still make each person talking to them feel like an individual and important. Pukka you were…well… pukka 😉

Above is equally as pretty Heath & Heather Herbal Infusions stand. Once again samples on offer (you really need to try their Green Tea & Turmeric!) and happy staff. In fact I had a quite a giggle with these two lovely ladies when I admitted that I didn’t like matcha tea (I know, a food writer that doesn’t like Matcha, how dare I?!?!) and then proceeded to drink 2 cups of it! Well, what can I say Heath and Heather…. you have converted me!

To end our trio of tea tasting we found ourselves at the Eloments Organic Vitamin Tea stand. Being a ‘complete girl’ over designs of stands, there are 2 kinds of exhibits I find visually very appealing. The ‘pretty, beautiful, flowers everywhere, lots of props etc’ kind of stands and then the sleek black minimilistic exhibits. Between Pukka Herbs, Heath and Heather and Eloments, my internal design-o-meter found itself in overdrive!

Eloments organic vitamin tea has a vibrant flavour. I will admit, I do find some herbal teas a little insipid, but you certainly can’t say that about Eloments. I tried them all (it’s tea, it’s practically the law that you must sample them all!) and fell in tea-filled love with them all, especially the Summer Orange. Eloments is not just a tea but also, as a well-being brand, stands out because each tea bag contains over 40% of your recommended daily needs of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C and zinc, with nothing artificial added that you would typically find in conventional supplements, including fillers, free-flow agents, preservative or colours. Well done Eloments, I really look forward to working with you in the future!

Pure Grain Bread claims to be ‘the worlds healthiest bread – probably’ and yes, they have good reason to say that. They are just about ‘everything’ free. For a ‘free from’ bread this is remarkably tasty. As I am coeliac and diabetic I already knew about this company but to see them really pushing their brand and to be able talk to them and ask lots of questions, it certainly shows the importance of expos and trade shows like NOPE.

Just look at these smiles from the team at Borough Broth Company. And smile they should, their chicken bone broth is divine! In fact I had it for lunch the next day 😉 Now, I’ll let you into a little secret, I am quite a broth fan. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I make a lot of broth. Well… I have to say, next time I have the urge for broth, I’m buying it from them. Utterly delicious. Congratulations on a fabulous product!

NOPE isn’t just about stalls and samples. It’s about education and fun too and one of the aspects I particularly enjoy are the seminars. We popped in for the vegan consumer and the plant-based movement talk with Lisa Gawthorne.

Lazy Vegan produce ‘pulled peaz’ meat alternative ready meals. But they are so much more than that. It is really hard to find another vegan brand that is so passionate about what they do, why they do it and how they do it. Lazy Vegan have developed frozen convenience ready-meals, packed with fresh vegetables and their unique tasty Chunky Pulled Peaz. These are protein-packed pieces made from the protein and fibre of fresh garden peas with a great taste and texture to boot. And the real key to their brand? The people.

Charlotte at Lazy Vegan is fantastic and when she saw me, she ran over and hugs were incoming! This…. really this, is what NOPE is all about. Not just showing new brands, but also hosting established brands that get to know their buyers, their customers and journalists and bloggers too. I met Charlotte at Lazy Vegan at Nope in 2018 but because I was very poorly after the show, I wasn’t able to reach out to her again until I came back to food writing just 2 weeks before the 2019 show. To see her, the whole team, and of course, to sample the delicious pulled peaz, was the highlight of my entire show. I am really looking forward to working with Lazy Vegan in the months to come.

Have you ever heard of pili nuts? No, I hadn’t either until NOPE 2019!
Raw & Wild are passionate about healthy, balanced and meaningful living. They aspire to raise awareness about the medicinal qualities of food and their organic pili nuts are hand harvested from the Bicol region of the Philippines.

Pili nuts are full of natural goodness and activated with vitamins and minerals. They taste like a creamy macadamia nut on their own but Raw & Wild have come up with some clever combinations too such as chilli, tumeric and ginger, raw chocolate and coconut, and more!

A clean, fresh, large stand from No 1 Botanicals with an exceptional product. However, with only one person on hand to speak to the visitors and people helping themselves to samples by opening up the display bottles, and then the team member from the company seemingly getting a little irate with those genuinely trying to ask questions, it was a shame there were not more team members on hand to fight off the foray that seemed to occur. Having said that, the product itself is, as I said before, exceptional. As a herbalist I adore anything herbal and to be able to drink a herbal infused sparkling water with such herbs as meadowsweet, lemon verbena and fennel is a delight! I first tried No 1 Rosemary a while ago on a weekly visit to Whole Foods and thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been a staple on my office desk ever since. So to now be able to drink a whole range of flavours is absolutely perfect.

Although I love food. I mean, I LOVE food…. I also love natural living. As a complimentary therapist and urban homesteader, living as naturally as possible is part of my every day life. So whilst the food side of NOPE is by far the largest, I do love meeting new natural living and well-being brands too.

Cheeky Panda, in their own words “is an innovative company offering the tissue market a sustainable and health conscious alternative. Making tissues from virgin bamboo, The Cheeky Panda tissues are pure and rich in natural goodness. Our range includes bamboo toilet tissue, facial tissue, kitchen towel, pocket tissue and baby wipes! Our packaging is either biodegradable, recyclable or completely plastic free! We don’t use single-use plastic in any of our product packaging. ” and as the rather famous brand of garden fence paint says… they do exactly what they say on the tin… or rather… roll 😉

I have a skin allergy that gets triggered by tissue dust. Sounds crazy right? Dust from tissues, is it even a ‘thing’? Well, yes it is and it can leave my skin blistered, itchy and sore. But last year I swapped to Cheeky Panda and haven’t had a problem since! So not only were the team members on the stand friendly and helpful but I am a real customer who can testify how good their products are. Well done you cheeksters! I hope Cheeky Panda continues to climb!

The show, as I say each year, is impeccably organised, hosted and incredibly well put together. I visit approximately 14 large food trade shows a year as press and some of these shows really should take a leaf out of Natural & Organic Products Europe‘s books. Thank you once again NOPE for the fantastic opportunity to reach out to not only brand new products but to reconnect with established brands we know and love.

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