I spent a very happy couple of hours at the Gluten Free Food & Allergy Show this weekend – once I got in the door, that is!
That was the first thing I noted about this year’s show – there were SO MANY PEOPLE there. There was a queue for tickets. When you got through the door, there was a mass of people at every stand. I may even have seen some of you, all unknowing! Another difference this year was that the seminar area looked larger to me, and was very full.
Two years ago, there was a lot of bread on offer. Last year, it was all about muesli. This year to me, the theme was development. Not only were there existing companies expanding their product ranges (such as Venerdi with their new ‘Freedom’ range of bread or Wild Appetite with their Urban Appetite sauce range) but there were a lot of new exhibitors, many of whom had products which were naturally gluten-free (peanut butter for instance, and Indian bhuja mix and curry sauces). There were also people like back specialists and organic companies, who were obviously targeting attendees with an interest in overall health and well-being. Kenwood was another exhibitor, showcasing their mixers and working with Neville and Judy from Gluten Free Made Easy. Neville and Judy were handing out their breads and other delicious treats. I still covet a proper mixer and seeing the model I want, in the flesh as it were, was a big temptation.
It seems to me that more of the big companies are looking at their products and saying, “Oh hang on a minute, our product IS gluten-free/allergy-free. Let’s market it out there to the gluten-free/allergy community.” To me, this is a big shift in thinking.
I did notice a lot more ‘ready-made’ or ‘packet’ mixes available this year. Some of these were bread or cake mixes in packets (from Love Cake, Gluten Free Store and others) but there was also a new company called GEM (Gluten Escape Meals), who produce frozen premade meals. Yes, a gluten-free frozen meal. How convenient. I was sadly too full to try any of these as I had eaten my way around the show by the time I got to them, but I certainly hope to try one soon. Sealord had gluten-free crumbed hoki fillets, which I imagine would be amazing if you had a child who was gluten-intolerant and you wanted a quick meal to give them.
I got my normal amount of feel-good moments. My best one was standing in the queue for a Jester’s pie (yes, I know, not healthy in the slightest!) talking to a lovely lady who told me it would be her first store-bought pie in 11 years. We compared gluten-free pastry-making techniques and agreed that the pies smelt SO GOOD and were just the right food for a crisp and clear autumn day.
So once again, an excellent show, and there was enough that was new to make it worth going year on year. Frankly, it is just so refreshing to be able to walk around and sample almost everything. And to know WHAT I can sample, because the labelling at every single stand is so good! If you missed it, it will be back next year. And if you’re in the Waikato or Christchurch, I do encourage you to attend the shows in August and November.
And now I shall go back to eating my hand-popped Kettle Korn, which I have hidden away from the children!
Lisa Rose combines parenting six children and working full-time in the IT industry with indulging her loves of writing and food by blogging. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, causing severe eczema. In frustration at not being able to find relevant information, she started her own blog with the aim of providing a resource to others in the same situation. You can find Lisa's blog, Being Gluten Free in NZ, at glutenfreenz.wordpress.com.For those wanting more information on coeliac disease, check out the NZ Coeliac Society website www.coeliac.org.nz.
New Zealand’s only exhibitions dedicated to delivering ideas and solutions for allergy and intolerance issues. www.glutenallergy.co.nz
This blog is the opinion and experiences of its author and should not be taken as medical or dietetic advice. Healthy Food Guide has not verified the content and cannot endorse any advice given. Healthy Food Guide recommends seeking professional health advice for specific complaints or symptoms.