Insightful Bites Issue 8

Insightful Bites Issue 8

Issue 8 of Insightful Bites is here to get your teeth into!  

Each month, the Sharp Relations team saves you time and research by putting together a round-up of all the latest trends and insights we gain from working in the world of food and drink all the time.  This month we’re talking food ingredient trends from Guild of Fine Foods Global awards, Great Taste, round ups from Lunch! and Casual Dining show, plus energy conscious cooking, and how chocolate is the latest blonde bombshell! 

Cooking trends: How investment store cupboard staples are enhancing the nation’s cooking 

Last month, Kadode Kampot Pepper UK was crowned Great Taste Supreme Champion 2022 for its the small yet mighty Fermented Fresh Green Kampot Peppercorns from a record-breaking 14,205 products. Packing a serious flavour punch, they were described as an “extremely interesting product” and “the new salt” by the highly tuned palates of the Great Taste judges. Tasting notes suggest salt, heat, fruit, and citrus, providing an array of flavours to elevate any dish.  

 They weren’t the only extraordinarily innovative, high-quality ingredients destined to be a new store cupboard staple, feted at this year’s ‘Food Oscars’. Fellow 3-star award winning product included: Black Lime Chutney from Mr Vikki’s, Noya Sauce; a Soya Sauce Alternative made from Seaweed by Soyze; Jalapeno & Lime Fermented Hot Sauce from Eaten Alive; and Sea Salt with Saffron from Pembrokeshire Sea Salt Co.   

These products continue to show how palates change and flavour fashions evolve and demand for these innovative additions to sit on our shelves is growing.  

And it’s not just at the Great Taste that we’ve seen this trend. Chef Yotam Ottolenghi has always championed quick food that is full of flavour and in a recent Times interview termed his larderful of oils, pickles, pastes, preserves and ferments as “flavour bombs” that are a quick and easy way to add flair to everyday dishes.   

Waitrose is also feeding the consumer’s desire to elevate their home cooking, having recently relaunched its Cooks’ Ingredients range with over 40 new products, a new design and label, available mid-October.  The new additions will feature ingredients inspired by southeast Asia, Japan, and Mexico.  

Lunch! Show 

Lunch! Show was seriously vibrant this year. MOJU was grabbing a lot of attention as soon as you came into the hall with a ceiling hung square sign over their stand. The innovation challenge is always an exciting area to peruse, lots of future foods, and emphasis on convenience – not to mention more focus on flavour, especially for the functional foods.  

  • Gold awards were picked up by: ChicP – Organic Hummus and Falafel Snack Pack; The Coconut Collab – Double Cre&m; Fearne & Rosie – Reduced Sugar Strawberry Jam; Huel – RTD Iced Coffee Caramel; JNCK – Bakery Cookies; LOVE CORN – Chocolate Crunchy Corn; Magrini – Milkbase; Ninju – Kids Super Shot; Ombar Chocolate – Hazelnut Oat M’lk; Tarwi Foods – Lummus – Lupin-based Hummus 
  • Silver awards went to: Califia Farms – Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew Coffee; The Collective Dairy – Free Suckies Pouches; Delicious Ideas Food Group – Cherry Berry Nut & Seed Burst in Plastic-free Packaging; Peak Mood Drinks – Peak Rise – Pink Grapefruit Mint;  
  • Bronze was awarded to AirSnax – Sweet Chilli Flavour – Puffed Chickpea Snack 

Casual Dining Show 

Casual Dining Show was really exciting. The focus on vegan and flexitarian diets was very noticeable this year, with a significant improvement in the quality, texture and flavour of alternative protein products for foodservice. Our Friends at OGGS, THIS and BIFF’s were really dominating the space in the middle of the show. Again, we love heading to see who the winners of the innovation space are and this year the winners included: 

  • Gold Awards were picked up by Clean Co — Clean W; La Vie Foods — La Vie Plant Based Bacon; The Meatless Farm — Meatless Farm Plant-Based Tuna; Nutritics — Foodprint by Nutritics; OGGS — Scrambled OGGS; Plant Alternative — Shicken Tikka Kebab; Redefined Meat — Redefine Meat Beef Flank; The Simple Root — Truffle and Ch**se style Sauce.  
  • Silver Winners included American Beverage Marketers — Finest Call Bloody Mary; Destiny Foods — Spiced Rum Sticky Toffee Pudding; Dr Oetker Professional — 12-inch Pizza Perfettissima Base Puro; Lucent Drinks — LUXLO, Blood Orange; Meadow Vale Foods — Homestyle Salt and Chilli Shredded Chicken; The Sausage Man — Gourmet Wagyu Beef and Bacon Bratwurst; Soho Street Cocktails — Carnaby Street Cosmopolitan 

Energy-conscious cooking 

At a time when we’re all looking to keep energy costs from spiralling, it pays to review your cooking methods.  With energy experts recommending that microwaving and air frying are the two most cost-efficient ways to cook food, we’re starting to see products with air frying cook times added to packs.  

  •  Biff’s Plant Shack is one of the first brands in the UK to add air frying cook times to the cooking instructions of their Crispy Fried Jackfruit Burgers and Wingz, which have recently launched in Sainsbury’s.  
  • This is in response to a massive 120% increase in air fryer interest in the UK year-on-year, following some recent research, released in August by energy supplier Utilita.   
  • The research revealed how cooking methods can slash power consumption, with an air fryer costing just £52 a year, a saving of £264 compared to a traditional electric oven.  

This Autumn’s top tipple 

According to the The Times, the drink to be seen with this Autumn is a sophisticated craft cider.  Think Ice Cider in an elegant tall bottle (we can recommend the award-winning Biddenden Ice Cider), served from and sipped from a wine glass! 

Why blonde chocolate is having a moment 

In the world of confectionery, it would seem that blondes are having all the fun right now with a surge in popularity for blonde chocolate, according to The Grocer.  A trend that was set in motion by Mondelez’s Australian Caramilk, which within just six months of launching in June 2021 had netted sales of £17.1 million (NielsenIQ).  Cue a surge of imitation products from the supermarkets and confectionery brands for Easter 2022 and even Little Moons has jumped on the bandwagon with blonde chocolate Mochi.  The nutty, biscuity flavour has certainly proved something of a bombshell with consumers of all ages.  

For all the latest client news from Sharp HQ here and the latest team news here.  


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