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Oct 03, 2017

Let’s do Lunch!

by Mary Anne FitzGerald - Client Services Director

Let’s do Lunch!

Variety really is the spice of life and the exhibitors at the food to go industry trade show Lunch! last month, demonstrated this in style. At the show’s new ExCel home, emerging start-ups and speciality producers rubbed shoulders with well established FMCG brands. The Food Doctor for instance, now part of the William Jackson Food Group empire, was introducing new kale and cashew Goodness Bars on its stand - which was next door to the Broderick Brothers, two cake crafting connoisseurs from Ireland, offering peanut butter and caramel flapjacks.

In the 10 years since Lunch! first opened its doors, the perception of the food to go sector has changed. It is no longer seen as purely a convenience occasion to fuel the body. Now the emphasis is on enjoying the food occasion and giving consumers the quality and choice they demand. Cheap and boring is out. And not just at lunchtime: hence the show’s tagline of ‘the contemporary food to go show’.

Retailers too are increasingly looking to meet the growing demand for convenient food and drink amongst time pressured consumers. It’s hardly surprising that in the convenience channel, the fastest growing sector of the grocery retail market, food to go is a key traffic driver. And competition is driving ever higher expectations from consumers. Rustlers for example is going Gourmet.

The Lunch! Innovation Challenge Awards are designed to promote and celebrate genuinely new ideas in the market place. The 17 winners this year are a good reflection of things coming to a store, restaurant or vending machine near you. Here are four of my favourites.

Fancy a change from your conventional pastie? Jake & Nayns Naanster could be the answer. The company handmakes all its products and loves ‘creating authentic food that you can enjoy hot, cold and on the go’. A Gold Award, now available at Sainsburys and Nisa.


Gold too for The Collective with its new range of high protein/low fat yoghurt pouches all of which are under 120 calories - perfect for a tasty, filling snack on the move, anytime of the day.  I’m sure they will squeeze in nicely with existing key accounts and open up some new ones.

Another product which aims to simplify snacking for people who find it hard to fit healthy food into their busy lives is the brand new Silver Award winner and aptly named Snackamolé. It promises consumers a ‘new way to avocado’ in a format without all the slicing, chopping and scooping normally involved. Instead, it combines ready smashed avocado with a side of popped paprika chickpea chips and all that needs peeling is the lid. Listings under negotiation.

Hot on the heels of its Gold at this year’s Vendies, (yes, who knew?!) eponymous Silver winner Mr Lee’s Noodles is taking a different route to market concentrating, for now at least, on travel and foodservice and touting branded 24/7 noodle ‘kiosks’ as its chosen business model. Individuals can also buy cases of six pots from the website and through Amazon.

The company, founded in 2016 by Damian Lee, claims to be a real game changer for healthy, gluten free foods. With an rrp of £2.99, these decidedly up market oriental cup noodles are low in salt, sugar, saturated fats and calories. The mantra is ‘100% tasty, 0% nasty’ and they are made with freeze dried rather than the more usual dehydrated ingredients. It will be interesting to see if Mr Lee changes his mind about side stepping the grocery channel but in the meantime, South Western Railway is a client so these noodles could be a quick and healthy way to jolly up your next long distance journey, however lengthy or delayed it may be… Have a tasty trip!

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