Blog: Dean BestOutlook for niche trade shows remains sweet

Dean Best | 8 September 2009

The mercury has been rising in a sweltering London today (8 September) and the exhibitors and attendees at this year's Speciality & Fine Food Fair in the UK capital have given the show a warm reception.

The event - a chance for the UK's niche producers (and a smattering from overseas) to gain custom with the country's independent retailers, delis and foodservice outlets - has taken place when some have questioned the merits of exhibiting at a trade show in such straitened economic times.

Nonetheless, while a representative of confectionery importer HF Chocolates said it had been one of the quietest of the nine years in which they had attended the event, some first-time exhibitors struck a more upbeat tone.

James Smith, founder of chocolatier Sobo Chocolate, said his two-year old business had just been looking at expanding its London listings beyond its debut in Selfridges but, during the show, had received queries from around the UK - prompting him to consider new products and new lines. "It's a nice problem to have," he said.

UK importer Mood Foods was also in a bullish, erm, mood as it attended the event for the first time, and launched Pacari, a single-origin chocolate from Ecuador. "There is very high interest in single-origin chocolate," director Richard Turner said.

High-end chocolate maker Holdsworth, which sells its wares into Waitrose, was a former exhibitor keen to be at the show again. "It's one of the only chances you get to actually meet and speak to your customers," director Genevieve Holdsworth told us.

Despite some recession-fuelled anxiety over the future of niche trade shows, the outlook for some remains sweet.


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