Gama spoke to Nicola Woods, Event Manager, ahead of the latest edition of Speciality & Fine Food Fair.
We’re so excited for this year’s event! The speciality food & drink industry is an amazing place to be at the moment, with huge enthusiasm from consumers, inspiring innovation from producers and a real sense of discovery for buyers.
This year the Fair is centred around all things new, with countless new product launches, new innovations, new initiatives and new connections to be made. It’s an unmissable opportunity for time-poor buyers and independent retailers to stay on top of the very latest trends and sample a wide range of diverse products from across the UK and around the world.
We’ve got high expectations for some of the new elements at the Fair this year, with the Start-Up Village for discovering new brands, a new ‘Not Yet on the Shelf’ category in the Speciality & Fine Food Fair Awards and an exclusive new ‘Power Breakfast’ event for senior retailers, wholesalers and hospitality professionals featuring our keynote speaker Kate Hardcastle MBE.
What categories, ingredients and / or flavour combinations are trending in the fine food and drink space in 2023?
Hot sauce is certainly heating up as a category, with lots of competition and new product launches, and across food and drink there’s a continued focus on clean labels, gut healthy products and natural ingredients. However, while a lot of producers can get lost down a rabbit hole of vegan and healthy alternatives, ultimately taste and price point are the priority when it comes to breaking through to retailers.
Another trend we’re seeing is increasing willingness from retailers and consumers to invest in products from a wide range of countries. From South Korean fermented foods to Nigerian drinks to Lebanese wines, consumers are more adventurous than ever and there are hugely exciting opportunities for the independent retail and deli sector to lead the way in celebrating new products and cuisines.
What are the key success factors in launching a premium food or drink brand to market in the current climate?
Most product categories are extremely busy at the moment, so having a clear idea of your USP and point of difference is crucial. In the speciality and fine food sector in particular it’s vital to know where your brand can sit within a retailer’s offering and the best messaging for potential consumers.
Buyers are increasingly interested in your sustainability story and the wider story behind your brand, and for premium brands what aspects of the product justify a higher price point, so make sure you know this back to front.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of packaging! Your brand only has one chance to make a first impression and when buyers are sent dozens of products each day weak packaging can stop your brand’s progress in its tracks.
For anyone interested in the success factors for launching new products, we have multiple sessions at this year’s event focusing on NPD, and the FDReviews team will be on hand to offer advice and guidance to producers developing and launching new products.
About Speciality & Fine Food Fair
Speciality & Fine Food Fair is the home of fine food & drink discovery for buyers from across the retail, hospitality, foodservice, manufacturing, import & export and wholesale sectors. The event returns to Olympia London on 11th-12th September.