Eating Well This January: Eating Out

OK, so I’m going to assume that a lot of you are like me in that you may have over indulged a little over the Christmas break; am I right? Well if you’ve done that then you probably also spent most of the Twixmas period trying to eat all the bad things left in the house before January arrives; still on track? Now it’s time to admit that you’ve started making strange noises when you raise yourself out of a chair and to do something about it.

I’m not into that ‘New Year, New Me’ bullshit but I do believe that making lifestyle changes can provide a good platform to being a bit happier and a bit healthier. So, I’m on a quest to find ways to eat well but improve my health at the same time.

Mrs Munkee and I have opted to give the paleo diet a try. Now, I’m not usually a fad-follower but I want to get my mission into print then I will feel more obliged to stick to it and will be publically shamed if I fail! I do want to be clear though: this does NOT mean that I will be neglecting my duties as a Food Adventurer. Instead, what I want to do is find ways to eat great food that fit within the parameters of a healthy lifestyle and food routine.

Please don’t be alarmed though. January’s blog series won’t be preachy and I won’t be turning into a spandex-clad-Mr Motivator-look-a-like. It’s just another leg to my Food Adventure.

Vigour Kitchen, St Helens

northernmunkeebites-vigourexternal

I don’t often get the opportunity to do a review of a business that’s on my door step but when I do I get very excited. St Helens, unfortunately, isn’t known for it’s food. It doesn’t boast a wealth of independent, vibrant eateries. The last St Helens haunt that I reviewed has already been sold and is due to re-open under new ownership. So when I found out about Vigour Kitchen opening in the town centre I was very excited.

Rating: 9.5/10

First Impressions

The MOFI (moment of first impact) of Vigour is incredible. The décor is industrial yet homely with a buzzing atmosphere set against a backdrop of exposed brick and strip lighting. The large tables encourage conversation and a relaxed ambience.

The thing I appreciated the most about the aesthetics was the transparency. The kitchen is open and visible with the culinary skills laid bare with pride. A good kitchen and a confident kitchen has nothing to hide and it should add to the theatre of a great eatery.

Service

The service is impeccable. The staff are knowledgeable and take the time to walk you through the menu choices and some of the intricacies that make Vigour work.

Feed

Menu

Vigour’s menu is like its food: simple and well done. It has a strong range but not too much choice so that you’re over faced and left questioning the quality and freshness. All the ingredients are sourced locally and it even has a seasonal element to the menu.

Protein Box

Now, this isn’t in anyway a unique idea but it’s easy to get it wrong. Poorly cooked veg or a protein caked in sauce can ruin the impact of a healthy DIY protein box. Vigour managed to avoid all the pitfalls and give a strong element of ‘build-it-yourself’ in the choices available.

Shakes & Smoothies

I love a good shake but it’s hard to avoid the stodge. That being said, I think I’ve fallen in love with The Monkey Nut Smoothie. So much so that I’m tempted to start a petition that Vigour should rename it The Northern Munkee Nut Smoothie!

Overall Experience

Fantastic. I was looking for a way to still feel like I was eating out within the restraints of my lifestyle changes and I definitely found that.

Verdict – in a word, Vigorous! This is exactly the sort of place St Helens needs to raise the profile of the town and to improve the quality of food on offer. I was speaking with one of the owners Scott and his philosophy was: ‘I just want people to realise that healthy food doesn’t need to be bland’.

Now it’s over to you St Helens. Get out and support your town and make this place work. Put down the pasty from the Pound Bakery and get yourself to Vigour!

Details: http://vigourkitchen.co.uk/

Northern Munkee.

 

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Key Food Trends in the UK…

Focus on SIAL: Review

Over the last week or so I have been focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation and then review some of the new insights that came out of the conference.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn I’ll move on to take a look at the World Tour studies produced by SIAL with a focus on what we can expect in the UK.

World Tour Studies: UK Trends

Three Key Food Trends:

Coconutty – Daniel Selwood (journalist for The Grocer magazine) highlights Pip&Nut (which I wrote about in a previous blog) as the key brand in this trend. He highlights that British shoppers are looking for products with functional benefits and coconut proliferations will be around for the next few years.

No Carbs – Selwood also calls out the British quest for a tasty alternative to a carbohydrate accompaniment which has led to a whole raft of innovative pasta/noodle/potato alternatives.

Super Snacking – this review also comments on the snacking revolution that is well underway in the UK with lifestyle champions on the search for more tasty and more beneficial snacks. Selwood highlights popcorn as a key trend along with a range of new snacking options brought by brands like Graze.

Trends in Retail

This report offers a few juicy nuggets in terms of what to watch in the retail market with Amazon Fresh, Holland & Barrett driving change in the arena.

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.

Revolutionary Cold Pressed Drinks…

Focus on SIAL: Coldpress Drinks

Over the next week I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…

Coldpress

Who are they?

Coldpress is the product of Andrew and Bradley’s desire to bring the food industry into the 21st Century by improving production methods to produce a tastier, healthier and more sustainable foods. The business’ ethos is literally about taking the heat out of the production process

Why are they innovative?

This is easy. Two things: process and packaging. I’m a big believer in brands finding ways to ‘pop’ off the shelf and I think the iconic hexagonal bottles achieve that. The process is Coldpress’ raison d’etre and gives the product life. The packaging allows the drink to speak for itself and is the main selling space.

Why should you love them?

Again, this is easy. The taste. The product delivery is just fantastic. Whether you buy into their mission to revolutionise the drinks manufacturing process you’ll definitely buy into their flavours – in fact I’m drinking one right now as I write this if you must know! So, do yourself a favour: put down the concentrate and pick up the Coldpress.

Details: www.cold-press.com

SIAL Location: JK 042 National Pavilions and Regions of the World

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.

Dairy Free Drinks…

Focus on SIAL: Rebel Kitchen

Over the next week I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…

northernmunkeebites-rebelkitchen1

Rebel Kitchen

Who are they?

Rebel Kitchen is a husband (Ben) and wife (Tamara) team on a food mission that can be best summed up by their story: A permanent healthy state of rebellion means we’re always seeking newer and better ways of doing things. Reject ‘how it is’; tell the ‘that’ll never workers’ where to go and never settle.

The brand is very on trend and acts as the physical embodiment of the health movement within the UK at the moment.

Why are they innovative?

Rebel Kitchen is riding on the crest of a wave of a coconut-health trend and making all the right moves. The flavours aren’t overly complicated but they deliver against a healthy shoppers expectations and they even make the transition into the mainstream shopping basket through clever and effective branding.

Now, I’m not your stereotypical coconutter but Rebel Kitchen’s Mylks are just brilliant. There isn’t anything pretentious about them. It’s just good quality drinking.

Why should you love them?

Rebel Kitchen’s success, in my opinion, is down to the cleverly crafted brand identity. The principles put in place by Ben and Tamara have set a solid platform to build a product portfolio and a movement that will be around for a while.

I’ve passed judgement on some healthy foods in previous blogs which have completely missed the point and forgotten to be, firstly, great tasting. This is where Rebel Kitchen differ: they are starting with great food and making sure it’s simple and good for you. Good work!

Details: www.rebel-kitchen.com

SIAL Location: 2L 047 National Pavilions and Regions of the World

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.

Tangy, Sweet and Savoury Snacking…

Focus on SIAL: Poptang

Over the next week I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…

Yumsh Snacks

Who are they?

Poptang is a product of Yumsh Snacks who are the creative minds behind the compelling 10 Acre range. The company is based in Manchester and their mission is to provide great snacks to the freefrom market. As a Northern foodie I can’t help but endorse Yumsh Snacks’ story and mission; they also boast some great foods to back up their brilliant brands.

Why are they innovative?

Popcorn is a fairly humble and simple food that has been on an amazing adventure over the last few years and Poptang represents another twist on that road.

It’s incredible to think of the flavours that you can now harness into popped corn and who would have thought that the sticky sweet goodness of Tango would work so well on lightly popped popcorn? This sweet/savoury/tangy combination is a great addition to the snack shelf and this licensed partnership may well be the saviour of mainstream popcorn.

Why should you love them?

Well, for a kick-off, they’re Northern, so that’s a big tick there! On a more serious note it’s their ‘why’ that I fell in love with . Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m obsessed by branding and fascinated by what makes an effective brand work. For me, Yumsh Snacks works because of its why and how they make its branding speaks directly to its customers.

Details: www.yumshsnacks.com

SIAL Location: TL 013 National Pavilions and Regions of the World

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.

The Secret to Proper Paleo Snacking…

Focus on SIAL: Ape Snacks

Over the next week I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…

Ape Snacks

Who are they?

To quote their mission statement Ape Snacks are ‘about being awesome’ and ‘on a mission to make snacking better’. Ape Snacks is the inspiration of Zack, a patron of the paleo, who became disheartened by the lack of credible snacking options available to him and his family. Zack has an incredible story and one that a lot of people can relate to – it’s half the charm of the brand.

Why are they innovative?

The coconut craze has not been a quiet one and you can now do almost anything with it: cook it, drink it, eat it or even wear it. However, the attempts to convert this craze into a healthy and, more importantly, tasty snack have been fruitless.

Ape Snacks now offers an accessible coconut snacking product that will appeal to the weight management masses as well as the snack seekers.

Why should you love them?

In my opinion the art of these products is in the branding. It oozes personality and very quickly communicates the products’ key features. The snacking category is a difficult one to enter successfully but here is a truly innovative product with a great story; this one should stick.

Details: www.apesnacks.com

SIAL Location: KL 062 National Pavilions and Regions of the World

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.

A Game Changing Snack…

Focus on SIAL: Propercorn

Over the next couple of weeks I will be focussing my attentions on Paris and SIAL: the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.

Innovation is the lifeblood of food retail as it drives new shoppers, new interests, new sales and new opportunities. There has been a plethora of game changing innovations over the last few years that have redefined food retailing in one way or another: bottled water, the shelf check-out, home delivery, micro-meals, vaping…the list is endless.

So, in the spirit of SIAL, I’m going to give my view of the world of retail and food innovation before I adjust my focus to an exhibitor at the conference in Paris.

Sustainability

This has been a hot topic in the food industry for a long time and probably always will be. Sustainability can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form it’s a means to ensuring that we have longevity in supply of food. That can be achieved through fair wages and working conditions, exploring renewable energies or protecting the environment that produces the food. I wrote on this subject in a previous blog and in particular about how manufacturers are turning away from organisations, like the Fairtrade Foundation, in search of a more effective way of creating a sustainable supply chain.

In commercial terms, sustainability is still important to shoppers which can be evidenced from campaigns like The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not. Suppliers should be mindful of their sustainability stance and can use it for commercial gain such as the multiple retailers’ adoption of ‘wonky veg’ to win hearts and minds.

Food Waste

I touched on this point briefly above but, as odd as this may sound, the management of food waste is becoming more and more trendy. This is partly driven by social awareness and hardship programs like Fair Share and also a socio-economic drive to stop throwing money down the drain through negligence and ignorance.

This trend has seen brands such as Toast Ale, beer made from surplus bread, to emerge. Now, I’m not claiming this is a new trend, far from it; the practice has existed for hundreds of years since fruit manufacturers wanted to preserve their wares in sugar to make jam or potato farmers wanted an outlet for surplus potatoes in a snacking format. What I am saying is that this concept and story is now becoming a commercial opportunity.

Dot Com

Online food shopping is something that has been growing steadily year after year in the UK but there has to be a significant leap forward in the near future that will be a game changer. If I was a betting man I’d say that is more than likely going to come from Jeff Bezos et al over at Amazon where drones are already lining up laden with groceries. Amazon will steal a march on the grocery sector, it’s just a matter of time.

For now, companies like Deliveroo will continue to innovate and do things differently and better than before but surely no one can beat the Amazonian beast to the online food retailing crown?

Flavour Trends

Flavour trends are really difficult to predict and if I could tell you the difference between a flash in the pan and a sticky trend I’d be a very rich man!

Flavour and food trends tend to be driven by social elements like which holiday destinations are popular at the time and therefore it changes frequently, almost on a yearly basis. One trend that is definitely here to stay in the UK is provenance. We are still obsessed by where our food comes from to keep a check on traceability and quality.

Health is still prominent on the trend agenda in the UK and the movement over the last 18 months has seen protein come into the limelight. Is this trend a sticky one? I think not but only time will tell.

Now that my soap box is well worn, I’ll introduce my SIAL 2016 exhibitor focus for today…

Propercorn

Who are they?

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last six years. Propercorn is an innovative snacks business co-founded by Ryan Kohn and Cassandra Stavrou. Propercorn has led a mini snacking-revolution and transformed the market space with its premium popcorn brand.

Why are they innovative?

Propercorn had first-mover’s advantage in the premium popcorn category and has, to date, done it better than anybody else. Since 2010 they have enjoyed astronomical success and yearly growth but now is the time to diversify. Crunch Corn is Propercorn’s new sub-brand which propels the business into a new category, snacks and nuts, with a half-popped corn product.

Innovation is a key market driver in this category and I truly believe that Propercorn have developed a game changing product. It tastes fantastic, is healthy and hits on a number of key cues demanded by the snacking populous.

Why should you love them?

Propercorn just do things differently. Following in the footsteps of Vita Coco and Red Bull, they have worked hard to create a lifestyle brand that is more than just a food but a statement. If you haven’t looked into Propercorn yet you really should stop whatever you’re doing and go and find some…now!

Details: www.propercorn.com

SIAL Location: JK 001 National Pavilions and Regions of the World

So all that leaves me to ask is what are your food or retail trends for 2017 that you want to highlight? Come on people, sharing is caring.

Northern Munkee.