Event preview: Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2024

This huge show returns to London in September, celebrating its 25th birthday in the process.

Speciality and Fine Food Fair returns to Olympia London on 10th and 11th September to celebrate 25 years as the beating heart of the British artisan food and drink sector. It offers hundreds of suppliers from the UK and around the world countless opportunities to sample quality products, learn from inspiring leaders and network with industry peers. This all makes the Fair a must-attend event for independent retailers, garden centres, farm shops, delis, speciality wholesalers and much more.  

Darren Baker, retail director for Blackbrooks Garden Centres, says: “Speciality and Fine Food Fair proves a valuable visit for supplementing our strong local supplier base with a range of products offering artisan and exceptional quality items. The timing of the show means the new ranges are with us in time for the all-important Christmas trading season.”

In recognition of the Fair’s 25th anniversary, a number of exciting new features, events and sampling opportunities will be introduced this year. Taste stations will be positioned around the Fair, providing visitors with the chance to sample a wide range of carefully curated products from some of the most exciting and innovation brands at the event.

The Fair’s drinks section will be expanded with the addition of The Wine Cellar, a whistlestop tour of some of the finest wines the speciality food and drink sector has to offer. Drink Uncovered, meanwhile, will offer a platform for the event’s industry partners to provide insider tips and tricks, insights into the latest trends and innovations in the world of drinks, and enticing samples for visitors to enjoy.

"It's amazing to think that Speciality and Fine Food Fair is celebrating its 25th birthday this year,” says event manager Nicola Woods. “The world of fine food and drink has changed so drastically in that time, with the explosion of innovative and delicious products mirroring the growing consumer appetite for new and diverse food and drink.

"Over the past quarter of a century, Speciality and Fine Food Fair has been a platform for passionate entrepreneurs to get their start, network with the industry and grow their brand. We're so excited to be celebrating 25 Rising Stars this year in partnership with Speciality Food Magazine.”

On the evening of day one of the Fair (10th September), the industry will come together to celebrate 25 Rising Stars in the world of speciality food and drink. The Fair has partnered with Speciality Food Magazine to mark its 25th year by shining a light on 25 inspiring, up-and-coming foodie founders who are blazing a trail in the UK food and drink sector. The same evening will also see the return of the Speciality and Fine Food Fair Awards, which recognise innovative independent retailers, inspiring sustainability initiatives and delicious new food and drink.

A new addition to the award categories this year will be the Best DEI Initiative, with awards judge and Women in the Food Industry co-founder Mex Ibrahim commenting: "It is wonderful to see this new award Best DEI Initiative at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2024 and I am thrilled to be part of the panel. This award celebrates businesses that have launched diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] initiatives and are bringing about positive change in the food and drink industry.

“I'm looking forward to seeing how DEI has transformed the businesses entering, and how the entrants' procedures, practices and policies will act as inspiration to the food businesses of the future. Let’s celebrate the power of DEI to shape a more inclusive and vibrant culinary landscape!"

Returning to the Fair will be the ever-popular Start-Up Village, where visitors can meet directly with the very latest up-and-coming businesses. This year, the section will feature producers including Wine That’s Fruit, an eco-friendly canned wine brand which includes Whitecurrant Wine, Apple Wine and Strawberry Wine; Quirky Monkey, a line of adaptogenic and nootropic drinks; and Northern Pasta Co, producer of award-winning British spelt pasta.

Also returning for 2024 is the Talking Trends stage, where leading retailers, wholesalers, insight providers, and food and drink producers will be taking part in discussions and debates on some of the most topical trends and challenges in the artisan food & drink sector. The Guild of Fine Food will once again be bringing The Great Taste Deli to the Fair, representing an early opportunity to sample some of the mostly highly awarded products in the 2024 Great Taste Awards.

Essential info
What? Speciality and Fine Food Fair
Where? Olympia London
When? 10th and 11th September
More info: specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk

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