IFE 2024: Eye-catching innovations from the show floor

By Flora Southey & Donna Eastlake

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: IFE 2024
Image credit: IFE 2024

Related tags Trends Innovation IFE

There were a multitude of exciting new launches at IFE 2024 with certain trends shouting louder then the rest

Innovation was high on the agenda for the International Food Exhibition 2024 (IFE 2024), with start-ups and established brands pushing the boundaries of food production to produce products to meet modern consumer trends. So what’s hot and what’s not in the world of food? Well the answer from the show floor was loud and clear, plant based and free-from are where it’s at.

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Free-from doughnuts

Allergen-free doughnuts may sound too good to be true for some. But that’s what Ryan Panchoo is making at Borough 22, his start-up bakery business founded in 2011. Borough 22 doughnuts are free from dairy, gluten, are plant-based, low FODMAP friendly, low sugar, and certified Kosher and Halal.

The idea sprung from Panchoo’s family life. As a father to children suffering from food allergies, he wanted his kids to feel included – and not ‘segregated’ – at birthday parties and social events where conventional treats were served. Borough 22 creates a ‘completely inclusive experience’, he explained at the IFE trade show in London this week.

Borough 22 first launched with an allergen-free baked doughnut, which it sells into Selfridges & Co. But Panchoo remained committed to developing a yeast-raised, deep-fried allergen-free version, which came to fruition in 2022. He sells these direct-to-consumer and via his bakery shop in London.

“We wanted to make a product that was as good as, if not better than, conventional doughnuts,” explained Panchoo. The founder believes he’s achieved that, having taken home several gongs at last year’s Free-From Awards.

Borough 22, which sells across the UK and Northern Ireland, is now in the process of scaling up. The next challenge is to investigate whether the free-from doughnuts can be blast-frozen, which would extend shelf-life and enable transport further afield, the founder revealed.

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Gluten-free product that aren’t ‘artificially overpriced’

The free-from market is plagued by ‘unhealthy’ products with long ingredients lists and ‘artificially overpriced’ price tags. That’s the view of Robert Sak, CEO of free-from company Seedful.

In response, Sak is going about free-from in a different way. The company refuses to follow trends set by food majors, he stressed at the IFE trade show in London this week. Instead, he’s producing bread inspired by Eastern Europe (Sak himself hails from Poland), which are ‘healthy’ with positive ingredients and nutritional values.

Each free-from bread product offers a source of fibre, is high in omega-3, high in magnesium, and low in sugar. Importantly for free-from consumers, the range is gluten- and dairy-free.

Each product contains around six or seven ingredients, Sak revealed, suggesting that free-from products don’t have to be complicated. “They can be easily made.”

Seedful’s Buckwheat Slices are made from buckwheat flakes, sunflower seeds, brown linseeds, golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds, millet seeds, plantago psyllium, organic apple cider vinegar, Silybum marianum and Himalayan salt.

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Plastic bottles without the plastic

Plant-based products are big news in the food and beverage sector as consumer demand for tasty meat-free meals continues to grow. But could food and drinks also be packaged in plant-based packaging? The answer from Win Win Water is absolutely yes! The bottles from this new brand of bottled water is made using organically farmed hemp, reed, shells, sugar cane, linen and nullei, and contain no harmful toxins or oils. What’s more it will biodegrade in just 90 days.

“All of our plant based materials are naturally and sustainably sourced from organic land,” said Joshua Daley, sales director of Win Win Water.

And the water itself contains a naturally high electrolyte content, with nothing added.

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Plant-based ice cream

Danish plant-based brand, Naturli’, is making plant-based ice cream taste gooood! Established in 1988, this plant-based enthusiast is far from a newbie in the meat-free industry, but its product range just keeps on growing. From mouthwatering ice creams, in flavours including cookie dough and caramellow, to organic plant-based butters and milks.

“They’re delicious, you should give them a try,” said Anna Munkholm Jensen of Naturli’ pointing us towards the ice cream cones. “My favourite is the salted caramel,” she explained. Well “naturally” we had to taste test them - all in the name of research of course - and we agree the caramel is delicious, though we may need to try the other flavours to be certain of our favourite...

As well as being dairy free, Naturli’s products are palm oil free as the team behind the brand are also mindful of the issues of deforestation linked to palm oil.

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Making plant-based eating easy

British plant-based brand, Novo Farina, is working on the ethos that “eating plant based should be easy.” Made using pea protein, its recently launched gluten-free mince can be used in everything from lasagnes to burgers. Nova Farina is also committed to clean label products, meaning it wants to use as few ingredients as possible in its foods.

“In recent years pea protein has emerged as a nutritional hero, offering an optimal balance of essential amino acids, an excellent source of fibre, high in protein and allergen free, making it a viable and versatile alternative to traditional protein sources,” explains Emily Williams, Commercial Director of Nova Farina. “Until now, texturised pea protein (TPP) has been the lesser used alt-protein sidekick of soya, but because of the spotlight on the super-high carbon footprint of soya and demand for clean labelling, we're seeing the appetite for high-quality texturised pea protein increase more than ever before.”

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Coffee for every time of day

Launching at IFE 2024, new coffee brand Tide is making coffee convenience a priority, with its time-of-the-day coffee. From sunrise to sunset, Tide has created a coffee with the caffeine level to suit.

"We're passionate about blue health, great tasting coffee and reducing the negative impact we have on our environment," explains founder James Gray.

The term 'blue health' recognises the happiness individuals experience in environments characterised by blue spaces, such as the beach.

Tide coffee uses 100% Arabica coffee beans and the capsules are 100% compostable.

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Umami? No Uhhmami

Vegan brand Uhhmami is transforming classic meat and fish dishes into plant-based alternatives.

"Uhhmami isn't all about imitating the elements of meat-based flavours but rather reinventing them to create brand new tastes using fresh, organic and cruelty-free ingredients," explains creator and chef, Frank Lantz.

The range includes a wide variety of dishes, including Beef'ish, Ocean’ish, Chicken’ish and Bacon’ish, and they can be used to create soups, sauces or just sprinkled over your meal as a seasoning.

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Vertical farming with fortified vegetables

Vertical farming is proving to be one of the great innovators when it comes to food production. It's an eco-friendly option that allows for the optimisation of crop growth as plants are provided with the ideal amount of water, air, light, soil nutrients and warmth. It also cuts down on the carbon footprint of foods as they can be grown closer to the intended consumers.

Now vertical farm, Ro-Gro is now launching their 'industry first' biofortified pea shoots, containing vitamin B12. 

"We’re excited to adopt such advanced farming techniques to be more sustainable and also produce nutritious food," says Jason Perrott, managing director and head grower of vertical farming company, Ro-Gro. "Only by working together across a multitude of disciplines of science and industry including agriculture, engineering and biotechnology can we address some of our biggest challenges like looking after our land and our health. The B12 biofortified pea shoot is a wonderful example of what can happen when we work together. And all this – from producing the pea seed to the biofortified pea shoot – can be done right here on British farms, year-round. Now, that’s exciting!”

A 15g portion of Ro-Gro Pea Shoots will provide an adult’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 1.5 micrograms of vitamin B12. 

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Image credit: SOAK'd OATS

Gut-friendly breakfast bars

SOAK'd OATS has launched gut-friendly oat bars and they're delicious. We made sure to test all the new flavours, including apple and raisin, and peanut butter and banana, to be absolutely sure!

These vegan-friendly bars are made using 'SOAK’d' jumbo oats, mixed with fruit and seeds. They're made using all natural ingredients and contain no refined sugars.

The bars are marketed as an easy plant-based breakfast on the go but they could really be enjoyed as a snack at any time of day.

And like many of the brands at IFE 2024, SOAK'd OATS is working to improve its carbon footprint, with more than 50% of its products currently packaged in 100% recyclable material. 

"Currently our emissions are very low, but as we grow, we naturally expect to increase our emissions," explains a spokesperson for SOAK'd OATS. "Our current reduction commitments include purchasing renewable energy where possible, using petrol, low/medium emission vehicles and having zero product waste." 

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