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Mar 23, 2017

IFE. What did we see?

by Gary Rapps - Managing Director

IFE. What did we see?

Did you make it to the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) this month? It’s the largest gathering of the global food and drink industry to take place anywhere in the UK.

If you didn’t, then you missed out on being one of almost 30,000 attendees, from over 100 countries, who enjoyed experiencing an Excel London’s worth of new product innovation from 1300 companies.

Don’t worry though as the Toucan team and I covered the event in detail. Not only did we gather knowledge and insight to share with our current clients but an understanding of the latest trends from across the show. If you would like to discuss any of these in more detail, from bakery, dairy and health to meat, seafood and confectionery, then please get in touch.

Within the UK drinks arena alone there were some sixty exhibitors promoting a host of hot, cold, low calorie, alcoholic, non-alcoholic, fresh, ambient, glass bottled, plastic cartoned, ring pulled or mixable products.

Some are sure to be setting their sights on the success of other brands, like Red Bull. According to The Grocer recently, their 250ml offering was the best selling single serve drinks SKU in Britain, overtaking the likes of Coca-Cola Original. So with that in mind here’s some of my favourite new energy kids on the block that made an appearance at Excel. Not sure all of them have wings though but time and investment will tell.

First off is Brexit ,“a powerful dose of energy concentrated in a small can” according to the owners which, when opened, releases “the power of taurine, caffeine and B vitamins”. Let’s hope it not only gives the consumer an instant energy boost but the whole country too!

Next comes Popeye the Sailorman, the hero who attains maximum strength after eating an always-handy can of spinach. Well I am glad to say that the iron enriched green stuff is not a key ingredient in this energy drink which is supposed to taste more like a “fresh and crunchy apple”. For a lower sugar, more exotic tasting version, there’s even a brand extension featuring none other than Olive herself which means Bluto can only be around the next corner.

Sticking with the Bs it’s BeeBad, a slightly sparkling energy drink sweetened entirely with honey. It claims to be specifically conceived for active and dynamic people who care about their wellbeing, physical health and daily performance.  With extracts of propolis, royal jelly, ginseng and maca the owners are obviously trying to create a buzz around its natural ingredients.

Then there’s Burst (what is it with the letter B!?) which claims to be the UK’s first Blackcurrant flavoured energy drink, packed with essential B-vitamins. Not the best logo design I have ever seen but there is another flavour called Chapman which is yet to make it over here. A quick Google suggests it could be a citrusy variant which has strong Nigerian roots but please feel free to correct me on that if you know more.

Finally I’ll end on a high with Equinox Kombucha. No, not an illegal substance but the winner of the 2016 Great Taste Awards. It’s a raw, organic, lightly sparkling energy drink made from green tea, cane sugar and a live culture called a kombucha ‘Scoby’ (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). This colony grows on the top of the beverage as it ferments, making it a very lively drink apparently, but one that sadly I never managed to bring myself to try.

Perhaps I just ran out of energy on the day!

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