Post-Covid product trends at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2021

It was a sign of the times that negative Covid-19 status was a condition of entry to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2021 (, in Olympia London, promoted as the industry’s first major post-lockdown event.

Once inside, the lights were bright, and the show was thronged with visitors, exhibitors and staff, all appreciating the old normal more than ever before.

With some 450 exhibitors gathered, there was something for everyone on display, from vegan ice-cream to nutritional yeast sprinkles to apple cider vinegar shots, unfiltered beer and crunchy shitake mushrooms.

The products being showcased also gave a nod to recent lockdown priorities, with a large area of the show dedicated to a “Drinks Cabinet” area.

But in the drinks cabinet as throughout the show, health and wellbeing was the key trend. Many of the new launches were lower alcohol drinks with natural flavours, with gins and hard seltzers conspicuously well represented.

Chocolate was also big at the Fair, healthier and sustainable options dominated, with vegan chocolates much in evidence.

The Fair also had a sustainability zone for the first time, as it returned from a two-year coronavirus-inspired break. Many of the new product launches also flagged up eco-friendly or ethical credentials.

From all the innovative products at the Fair, here are three that reflect the wider trends at the Show.

Russell Atwell fresh chocolates, made with sustainable cocoa, these need to be kept in the fridge. The short shelf life was no problem as my sample bag was empty in a flash.

Frogot wild grass drinking straws, made with Lepironia Articulata grass grown in Vietnam. These could be a game changer in the straw world post-plastic, they are environmentally-friendly and they don’t go soggy.

Verjuice, a non-alcoholic juice made by pressing the unripe grapes of the British grape harvest in East Sussex was another top spot. Apparently, this sort of grape juice is big in Australia. But it is still bubbling under in the UK.

Attending a real life event for the first time in so many months, felt a bit like getting a pass to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The Covid-safe one-way system to exit was very much needed to help bring the visitor back to the ground.