Free-From Food Awards 2015
Presentation Speech

MBJ SpeakingMichelle Berriedale-Johnson – director of the FreeFrom Food Awards and chair of judges

Hello, good evening everyone and welcome to the 8th annual Freefrom Food awards presentation.

Yet again this year the awards have grown! – over 470 entries from 164 companies – half of whom were new to us. So a very warm welcome to all of our newcomers – only equalled by the warmth of our welcome to all those old friends I see out there!

Just before I start – can I draw your attention to the awards Twitter hashtag? Alex is running a live Twitter feed  throughout the evening – so if any of you are up for an bit of discreet retweeting, that would be wonderful – and please use the awards hashtag #FFFA15.

First, as always, our ‘thank you’s.

Running awards is a complex and costly business and would not be even remotely possible without the financial support of our sponsors and the amazing efforts of our own staff and all of those involved with the awards.

So thank you first to all of our sponsors – You will see them all in person when they present the certificates later on with Antony.

Then thank you once again to Antony, our patron from our very first awards, and now also patron of the Freefrom Eating Out Awards. We really appreciate Antony’s support over the years and are delighted that he has stayed with us as we have grown.

Judges

Thank you also to our huge roster of judges. Our judging panels are made up of chefs, manufacturers, food and cookery writers, dietitians and nutritionists – not to mention coeliacs, allergy sufferers and ‘lay’ judges who have no connection with freefrom but are there to benchmark the entries again ‘normal’ foods. They are all wonderfully engaged and often quite argumentative!!  But we believe that they come up with good decisions.

Thank you to our splendid beer suppliers for our gluten free beer bar – an essential element in any FFFood Awards party! Do go and try the beers – you will find them all listed on bar at the end of the room.

Thank you to the Royal College of Physicians who, for the third year, are hosting this evening – and especially to Chef Dean who is endlessly patient with our very freefrom demands and does wonders with the extremely diverse dishes which appear on our Winners’ buffet!

Finally, thank you to our in house staff without whom nothing would happen at all. This year we had two Katherines – with a K stirring her bowl and Catherine with a C ticking off samples as they arrived for the judging. And of course, the powerhouse of the whole operation, Cressida seen here checking one of her thousands of lists – without Cressida’s efforts the whole awards operation would grind to a halt!!

Fod cycleI am delighted to say that this year we managed to raise just over 5 grand for our charity of the year – Foodcyle. That came for they 10% of all your fees that we give them plus matched donations for a number of you – for which thank you very much.
They are here tonight if you would like to talk to them about the excellent work that they do.

Two ‘other matters’ before we get down to the business of the night…..

 

FFEOAAnd I would also like to report that , true to our promise, we did venture into the world of food service last year – with our new FreeFrom Eating Out Awards – and they were a great success! We had far more entrants than we could have hoped for – many of them really inspirational in their allergen awareness and the freefrom inventiveness. The presentation was at the great new Food Matters Live event at Excel in November.

Entry to the 2015 awards will open in June and the presentation will again be at Food Matters Live in November. If anyone would like to know more about it please check out the website or talk to me. There are still a few sponsorship opportunities left although I am delighted to say that all of last year’s sponsors, headed up by Sodexo have stayed with us for year 2.

 

AssredAnd……..  Later this year we will be launching an accreditation scheme!!  This will be nothing to do with freefrom excellence and innovation as that is, obviously covered by these awards – but everything to do with safety and ‘freefrom-ness’.

I am delighted to say that we will be joined in this venture by Muriel Simmonds who many of you will already know as a past CEO of Allergy UK. Muriel actually set up Allergy UK’s Seal of Approval scheme so she is very well versed in the ins and outs of  assurance schemes.

We are at a very early stage as yet but it will be called FreeFrom Assured and will have a logo somewhat along these lines. We will shortly have a website with more details and will be launching the scheme on day 2 of the Food Matters Live event in November – Day 1 being devoted to the presentation of the 2015 Freefrom Eating Out Awards and Day 3 to a cook off between the winning chefs from last years awards!!  So a very busy Food Matters Live in store!!!

Meanwhile, anyone who wants to know more about Freefrom Assured please talk to me later or email me next week.

But, back to the FreeFrom Food Awards and just before we start the presentations, Cressida will tell you what we have planned for next year….

Cressida Langlands

FFFA 16Good evening everyone – and lovely to see you all!

We were really delighted at how well some of this year’s ‘new’ categories performed! Lots of exciting entries for ‘Down the pub & bar’, Teatime!, Desserts and Puddings and the ‘Bars’ category – so they will all definitely be staying for next year.

Our new confectionery category was popular but mainly with chocolate makers. Lovely to have so much chocolate but we will be hoping for a few other sweeties as well next year.

Splitting Ready meals into Meaty and fishy and Vegetarian was also a great success with a really good entry for both – as you will see when the winners are announced.

Meanwhile, the traditional staples, Breakfast, Breads, Store Cupboard and Pasta and Pizza remained as popular as ever – as did the childrens’ category. Our panel of 7 – 16 year olds dug in with a will and had no hesitation in letting us know what they didn’t like as much as what they did!

Our Raw foods and Superfoods category was well populated this year but we did finally feel that it was no longer ideal  including them both in the same category. So for next year Raw food will get a category all of its own and superfoods will go into a new category covering both superfoods and sports supplements. We are very aware that many of those who use sport supplements such as protein shakes either need or would like to follow a freefrom diet – but the vast majority of such supplements are either based on or contain gluten, soya or whey.

We are also thinking, but this would probably be for 2017 rather than 2016, of a FODMAPS category but just do not feel that there are enough low FODMAPs foods around yet to justify one next year.

Meanwhile, we are changing the way that we run both our nut free category and the Innovation award. This is because so many excellent nut free and innovative products end up in other categories but not in the nut-free or innovation categories.

We are therefore going to keep both categories – and both will be open for sponsorship – but both will become a ‘judges’ pick’. In other words, as we work our way through the other categories we will pull out any entries that we feel would be particularly suitable for either category and then have a special judging session of those products to find the winners.

So, all ways round, another exciting year ahead for both freefrom and the FreeFrom Food Awards.  But now, back to Michelle for this year’s winners….

 

Michelle

Marble MoOK – so gong time!!!

As you know, in awards, not everyone can win!! We really wish that this was not so as we had so many good products entered this it is really frustrating not to be able to hand out more gongs. But even to those of you who have not won anything this year – really well done! The quality of the entry was really high and – from someone who has judged a number of non-freefrom awards in her time – absolutely as good, if not better than in the mainstream market.

As always, the Commended and Highly Commended names will go up on the screen for you to read. Please note that they will be in alphabetical order – not order of merit!!  We will not be reading out any comments for these but they will all be up on the Awards website by the time you get home.

However, we will have the comments on the winners up on screen for you so you can read them all while the winners come up to the podium to get their winning certificates.

Winners, please make your way up as quickly as you can to the stage. If there are joint winners we will present the certificates separately so that you can each have your ‘personal’ photo of your presentation – so please do not rush off with your certificate until Giles has taken your picture!

Also, immediately after the presentation, Giles will want to gather you all together for a winners picture so please restrain your urge to rush for the buffet until you have had your photo taken! We would also like to do very short video interview with some of the winners – the video booth is just outside the entry door over there.  If you would like to be interviewed we will give you a rough schedule of interview times when you collect your certificate so that you do not waste half your evening in a queue!

OK – let’s Roll……..

Please check in to the Winners pages to see won actually won what!!