A belated round-up of a selection of new free-from food finds from the NOPE Show 2016 held at Excel, East London, earlier this month. I’ll be blogging (or posting on Facebook) about other products of particular interest individually over the coming week or so.
As always, it was a buzzing show, with exhibitors far more knowledgeable this year, it seemed to me, with respect to allergens – and not only gluten-containing cereals, but others too, which is an excellent development for those with nut, egg, milk and soya allergies, especially. It’s not specifically a ‘free from’ show, of course, but many exhibitors appear to have wised up to this sector and the importance of being both confident and knowledgeable with respect to food hypersensitivities.
First up, pasta. Five ‘flavours’ of Really Healthy Pasta were on show – red lentil, mung bean, chickpea, buckwheat & flaxseed, and blackbean – and each available in two shapes – fusili (twists) and penne (tubes). They’re gluten-free and made in a soya-free environment too. Most are essentially single-ingredient products, they’re a good source of protein, and there is some very specific allergy-aware labelling…
For instance, the mung bean pasta – which I’ve tried and enjoyed – is “free from … celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk or its derivatives, mollusks (sic), mustard, soybean or its derivatives, sulphur dioxide, wheat or its derivatives”.
There is, though, a precautionary allergen warning: “May contain: nuts or sesame seeds”.
Allergen Free Professional / Barcelonesa / Vegetall is a Spanish company / brand which is confirmed free from all top 14 allergens – and currently offers vegan mayonnaises and other condiments / sauces both for food service and consumers. Ice creams are in development.
Although they’re not yet distributed in the UK, they’re included here merely because they had a prominent position at the show, clearly displaying their ’14 free’ status, and because I liked their ‘crossed allergen’ symbols – all 14 of them (see right) – which it will be interesting to see whether other brands adopt in future.
I discovered Zootfoods at a previous show – perhaps last year’s – and very much liked their fruit, seed, chocolate and nut bars – which to my mind were actually better (moister, essentially) than the much more widely known and established Nakd bars.
At the show this year, they were launching Zoot Zero – no added sugar chocolate – which is sweetened with stevia, and with maltitol (so low-FODMAP folk should probably avoid as it’s a polyol).
There are three dark varieties – Smooth Dark, Zesty Orange, and Hint of Mint – and also a Creamy Milk. Interestingly, the products are certified free from added sugars by Sugarwise, a new food certification programme. They are also gluten free – as are all their other bars, which are mostly dairy free too.
Paleo Treats Europe are just arriving in the UK. They were launching three new chilled sweet snack products – the Brownie Bomb (honey, eggs, coconut, cacao and nuts), Cacao Now (coconut, egg, honey, cacao and vanilla), and the Mustang Bar (nuts/nut butters, raisins, seeds, coconut, vanilla, honey and sea salt) – all of which gluten, milk, soya and refined-sugar free. Despite my general dislike of the term paleo, the premise on which it is marketed, and the unproven health claims made for the regimen, I did find these tasty.
At the time of writing, you can sign up on their site for news of their launch, and further products are expected in 2017.
More paleo, with the launch of the Lucy Rocks Paleo range of products by Alara, already known for their organic and gluten-free cereals.
Any ingredient which has never been described as a superfood looks to have been banished from the five-strong range: Lush Crunch contains raw sprouted buckwheat, green tea matcha, barley grass, spirulina, mulberries, lucuma, hemp, pumpkin seeds and cashews, and the nutritional virtuosity shines out of all the other products too – Blush Crunch (baobab, beetroot …), Chia Super Soak (cacao nibs, goji …), Golden Granola (lucuma, apricots …) and Glowing Granola (apple, beetroot …). I’m assuming the range is aimed primarily at women, but this non-woman has enjoyed the samples he took home with him!
I’m unclear when the range officially launches, but it’s got eye-catching and well designed packaging, is also vegan and free from refined sugars. The promotional leaflet mentions some ‘innovative bars’ so expect those too at some point.Good vegan ‘milk’ chocolate is not easy to come by, so I was pleased to come across German brand iChoc, which uses ‘ricedrink’ to impart milkiness to their dairy-free chocolate products – which are also 100% organic.
Unfortunately, they are not particularly free from – the ‘may contain traces of nuts, milk and gluten’ rule the chocolate out for most allergic or intolerant consumers – but they are soya free and would be suitable for anyone who has a lactose intolerance or is on low FODMAP.
I’m not normally a big fan of milk chocolate, but this was among the best I’ve tasted for a while – especially the Almond Orange – and certainly better than some of the milk-free ‘milk’ chocolate products available in the UK.
Shame about the precautionary milk warning, though.
Best of the rest
Coconuts Nice Cream – 14 allergens-free ‘creamy coconut nice cream’ – made only with coconut cream, unrefined coconut sugar and coconut flakes.
Morlife – Australian brand, offering healthy and tasty looking ready-made quinoa ‘risotto’ meals in pouches.
Mrs O’s Fuss Free Mixes – Egg-free, nut free and vegan cake mixes, also available in gluten free.
Nature Crops – wide range of quinoa-based products (flakes, flour, bars, puffs etc).
Probios GoVegan – launching into the UK, including a vegan croissant.
Saf Raw – Rebranding from Saf Express, with a colourful new look, and offering raw goods such as activated crackers, fruity coconut pastilles and nutty nori. GF and DF.