After a few years of wanting to go, one year of being away when I received tickets, I finely got to indulge in the Harrogate Speciality Food Show. I had looked at holding a stall there myself, but after experiencing its delights, I now know it is not the place for me, but a great place to pick up on mainstream trends and business success in the speciality food industry. Ps I cannot resist saying look at my cute little ticket (above), so easily excited.
I met a lot of first timers at the show and it was wonderful to see all the young, fresh, talented individuals that are helping to food industry thrive with the 'shop local' schemes. Everyone was so passionate about their field and supportive of the other stalls, working together to create a fantastic atmosphere. There were demonstrations too and we caught the 'make the most' out of food that is past it's best. Always plenty to do with bananas, but unusual and tasty ways to cut down tremendously on food waste, utilising your fridge contents to the best of the ingredient ability, no matter the skill of the chef in hand! See the picture above and below of the delicious treats that were made.
As you can imagine, the sweet stalls took most of my attention and below is a gorgeous chocolate stall. Most of the businesses were looking for wholesale buyers, rather than individuals, which is why Red Velvet Baking was not as well suited, doing bespoke orders, however it was nice to see the range of products out there and to see more artisan and 'homemade' products are beginning to take the market by storm, as mass production loses the personalised, luxury feel of products.
As we got horrifically lost on the way to Harrogate, we arrived quite late and I had an order due in shortly after too! We did however, make it in time to see the Dragon's Den style talk, where some of the stall holders presented their products to a chef and several market retailers. It was fantastic to watch and the first guy, with his Greek meze range, from The Olive Branch, was really good and the product tasted very authentic.
Meze style dip or marinade, shame it was on a ritz cracker so flavour was a little lost!
These two ladies, mother and daughter, really touched my heart, being really new to their business, promoting home made marshmallows. Over the past couple of years, marshmallows have really hit it off. I am really not sure why, but when you taste a home made one, alongside a Princes, £1 for a full bag one, you quickly realise that we have been eating them wrong for years! These lovely ladies got criticised for poor branding and quickly learnt that to compete in this kind of market, they have to raise their game. I did swing by to their stall before leaving and offer a few tips on branding, PR and marketing, I just couldn't resist! I do wish them the best and suggest you go find a local marshmallow stockist and try a REAL marshmallow!
It was a fabulous experience and I plan to go again next year, but it is more for finding local sources for good quality chocolate and containers, rather than gaining business for me. I stand by bespoke and personalised and would hate to go national too quickly with RVB, but one day, you never know, I could be coming to a town near you!
Keep calm and shop local.
Love and warm wishes,
Red Velvet Baking