Free From, Vegan and Allergy show to be held at The Mercury
PUBLISHED: 16:12 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 27 February 2019
Free-from and plant-based diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more people choosing to enjoy this lifestyle for the health benefits rather than medical requirements.
Hoping to raise awareness of this growing movement is Gemma Brooks, who is organising the Free From, Vegan and Allergy Show at The Mercury in Romford on Saturday March 9.
Following on from its successful debut at the shopping centre last year, the show is a celebration of alternative food, drink and lifestyle products and is aimed at people who have allergies and intolerances, as well anyone who wants to remove certain ingredients from their diet for health reasons.
Gemma, marketing and tenant liaison at The Mercury, hopes the event will showcase the wide range of free-from and vegan products available locally.
“More people are choosing to lead vegan, vegetarian or free-from lifestyles than ever before, so there’s no better time to raise awareness about what products are on offer,” says Gemma.
“The show is not just for people who have to cut food out because of medical conditions - it’s also for people who want to eat a little bit healthier, or they might just prefer the taste.
“It will be a great day out for everyone with the chance to discover some fantastic brands.”
What will be there?
Visitors can expect to browse, sample and purchase a variety of vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free products, including food, drink, skin care and household items. The day will also include expert advice, cooking demonstrations and more.
There will be a range of national and local brands showcasing their products, including:
Although not normally associated with free-from food, BB’s cater for celiac and dairy-free diets. Be sure to visit their café and try one of their delicious gluten-free muffins at The Mercury.
Nairn’s oatcakes have become something of a staple food in most supermarket free-from sections. Made from natural, wholesome ingredients, their product range includes flatbreads, cereals, biscuits, crackers, oatcakes and more. Check out their website for some tasty recipe ideas.
Based in Brentwood, Everyone’s Bakery specialises in vegan and allergy-friendly baked goods. They serve gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free options, including their mouth-watering lemon drizzle cake, raisin and cranberry scones and chocolate brownies.
This Oxford-based company has come up with the perfect solution for pizza-lovers with intolerances. Head to the Allergy, Vegan and Free From Show to try some of their stone-baked, gluten-free and vegan recipes, or pick up a pizza from your local Sainsbury’s.
While on a mission to find an organic product free from additives and allergens without compromising on flavour, The Hemp Pantry developed Veurre - a dairy, nut and soya-free alternative to butter. They are currently working on a number of exciting plant-based products as a follow-up to their revolutionary spread.
Perfect for those with a sweet-tooth, Freaks of Nature offer a range of desserts, including chocolate caramel cheesecake and mango and passionfruit posset. You can pick up these mouth-watering puddings at most major supermarkets, including Asda at the Mercury.
KoKo Dairy Free is ideal for those who are looking to cut down or remove dairy from their diets. This family-owned company grow and produce a variety of coconut-based food and drink, including dairy-free milk and yoghurt.
Genius offer a range of gluten-free products which can be found in Asda at The Mercury, including bread, pancakes, chocolate chip breakfast bakes and puff pastry. Their website has some great gluten-free recipes, including both sweet and savoury options.
There will also be many more exciting food stalls and brands to sample and purchase from on the day.
A growing trend
No longer just for people with allergies and intolerances, vegan, vegetarian and free-from lifestyles are becoming more mainstream. A possible reason for this could be that consumers are more interested with what is in their food and where it comes from, as well as a growing ethical concern for animal welfare and environmental impact.
And research suggests that these changing eating habits are more than just a fad. The Vegan Society found that the number of people identifying as vegans in the UK has increased by 350 per cent compared to 10 years ago. A study by Mintel also found that 15 per cent of UK households were removing gluten and wheat from their diets, with more than half due to health reasons.
Gemma says: “People are a lot more health-conscious now, and we’re seeing a growing number of companies offering more options to reflect this. It’s far more accessible than it used to be.
“Many of the products that you will see at the show are available to buy in The Mercury and on the high street, so you don’t have to travel far to get your hands on these products.
“A lot of people can be put off free-from and vegan food because of the price. It can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways around it if you know where to look.”
The Free From, Vegan and Allergy Show will take place at The Mercury in Romford from 11am to 3pm. The event is free to enter. For more information, visit mercurymall.co.uk.