This year was my first Allergy and Free From Show, and it was a fantastic experience for me, both in discovering new brands and meeting some amazing people. For those that missed it, the next one is in Liverpool in November and the 2018 shows kick off in Glasgow in March. I've also written about my 8 gluten free highlights, and my complete haul at the London Allergy and Free From Show.
I'm feeling a bit sad that this time last week I was heading home from the show! If you’ve never been before, here are my top five tips to get the most from your experience.
Bring a suitcase
People told me to bring a suitcase to the Allergy and Free From Show. Did I listen? No. Did I regret not listening? Yes! You might feel dragging a suitcase or shopping trolley around with you is bit awkward, but trust me, it’s not as awkward as trying to wrestle through the crowds with a gazillion heavy plastic carrier bags biting into your hands. Take a small suitcase or trolley so that when you pick up all those gluten free deals, you won’t regret it.
Bring plenty of cash
While some brands offer the option of paying by card, most will only accept cash. I spotted a few cash machines dotted around the venue, but to be honest, you’ll save yourself time, effort and stress if you bring cash with you on the day. There are so many deals at the Allergy and Free From Show you're bound to want to pick up some gluten free treats and save a bit of money.
Don't eat breakfast - come hungry
I wouldn’t bother eating breakfast before you come to the Allergy and Free From Show, because you’ll want plenty of room for all the gluten free samples. Most brands will be offering a taster of their products, and of course it’s great to try before you buy. It also gives you a great opportunity to decide on what you’re going to purchase for lunch as well. There are plenty of options for gluten free meals as well as products to buy and take home.
Talk to the traders
This year there seemed to be a lot of people who only came to the show to grab as many free samples as possible. And while it’s great to be able to try so many different free from foods and pick up some bargains, you could be missing some great stories. A lot of the traders – particularly the smaller ones – have fabulous stories behind them and are only too happy to chat. Make sure you speak to the people behind the brands as well as just eating all the food, and also give them your feedback.
Check for allergens!
I know it seems silly at an Allergy and Free From Show, but actually, it does not mean all food is free from all allergens. Just because a brand is dairy free, it might not be gluten free, for example. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement but it’s always important to check before you dive into the samples, that you can actually eat them first.
More from this year's Allergy and Free From Show
You can watch my complete gluten free (and sometimes dairy free, egg free, nut free, soy free) haul from the Allergy and Free From Show in London here: