There was an amazing collection of new food brands at Enterprise Nation's Food Exchange in Birmingham hoping to impress buyers from both Sainsburys and Selfridges.
Most of these brands were based on incredibly healthy recipes.
Natural flavours were to the fore and anything bad for you was on the naughty list: sugar-free, salt-free, preservative-free, gluten-free, are you free?
Another dominating trend was the flavours and recipes from Africa and the Caribbean. When you consider all the supermarket space given to countries such as India, Italy and China it makes you realise how forgotten about these recipes are and the massive potential they have to wow everyone with new tastes.Give them some more space buyers!
Neema African Chilli SaucesNeema specialise in spices based on recipes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Founder Rose Yombo-Djema below got to pitch to the Selfridges buyer Adrian Boswell who approved of the packaging and the taste with some feedback that the bullet chilli sauce was maybe too hot.
Rose had the clever idea of pairing food with fashion by incorporating African fabrics into the design and branding. Amazing!
Yvodne's Caribbean Treats
Rachel Yvodne Campbell is on a mission to show everyone the sweet side of the Caribbean. Her delicious recipes including flavours such as banana rum and guava aim to add to everyone's fondness for Caribbean staples such as jerk chicken and fried dumplings.
Feast on flavours such as pineapple and plantain.
J'Maker Caribbean Fusion Food and Drink
Co-founder Melanie Sampson may be an architect by day but she had no problem creating delicious gourmet flavours such as hibiscus infused drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic that stand out as a nice upmarket treat for the home and parties.
Marvellous Mixes by Jems
One of the nicest treats I tasted at the exchange was the cookies below. Dark chocolate with orange flavour, simply lush!
Jems Marvellous Mixes is inspired by cooking with her children and these cookie mixes aim to inspire both adults and children to whip up fab cookies in an instant.
Tyga Indian Meal Kits
Claire Dinan also got to pitch her brand to Selfridges and did a great job of it too. Claire's vision is to change the way people look at snacking so that you no longer have to choose between taste and health. This was a key point I picked up on amongst these food entrepreneurs, traditionally many healthy foods don't taste that yummy so they don't become a habit food. The next step in healthy eating is to get a taste to die for as well as the nutritional benefits. Not easy!Claire's treats range from caramel slices to 'cheese-less' cheesecakes and donuts.
Key Point: You may have to knock your competition off the shelf to find a space.
Selfridges buyer Adrian Boswell made a crucial point that not only does your product have to be excellent to make it into his shelves it must also grow that category and not cannibalise sales from existing brands. In Nutty Cacao's case Claire needs to compete with and beat Livia's Kitchen to get listed in Selfridges. Claire stated that her wider range of flavours is her strategy to make this happen.
Cool Cold Brew Coffee
Joe Devereux Kelly gave an extremely well-polished pitch to the Selfridges buyer Adrian Boswell who said Joe's pitch and product impressed him the most. Joe's relaxed nature was key to clearly promoting his brand and listening to Adrian's feedback and countering any doubts about the brand's potential.
Key Point: Shelf Life!
Selfridges want 75% of the shelf life of your product from when it's produced to be on their shelves. So if your product has a 100 day shelf life Selfridges will want 75 days of that total. Cool Cold Brew Coffee are changing their packaging to Tetra Pak to dramatically increase the shelf life of their product from 6 weeks to 12 months. They are also taking the chance to further improve the branding and packaging too.
You can't get any healthier than Matchola's winning granola, gluten-free, organic ingredients plus trendy Matcha green tea. Time to ditch Cornflakes!
Pure TreatA daughter's love for her father and a desire to create treats that he could enjoy after being diagnosed as coeliac is the driving force behind Pure Treats. Choconut and date snacks to put a smile on your face.
Truly Simple FoodsI loved these sauces below for the instant punch of flavour they gave me.
This full range is already stocked online at Holland & Barrett and they have a no nonsense attitude to keeping their products salt-free.Their aim is help to support your dietary choices with truly simple natural products.
Incredible Bakery Company
Can I Buy You A Drink?Lyco Life contains antioxidant Lycopene if you need to detox whilst Rejuvenation Water's ginger and lime drink wowed me with it's delicate tasty flavour.
Never leave a food exchange on an empty stomach