IFE 2024: Five eye-catching products from this year's show

Insights Lab spotlights some of the brands and products at the International Food & Drink Event 2024, with flatbreads, coffee, and galip nuts all on the menu
IFE 2024
One of the pillars of 'Food, Drink & Hospitality Week' in the UK, the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) is a must for F&B professionals every year, with thousands descending on ExCeL London in March to network with the best and discover products from more than 65 different countries.

Not ones to miss a big food event, Insight Lab's team of trend specialists booked their tickets months in advance, pitching up on day one as 'innovation hunters' in pursuit of all things new, flavourful and eye-catching.

As you might expect, we came away with plenty of food and drink product talking points, with the team somehow agreeing on five standout brands and products to showcase and discuss.

Fabulous Frozen Flatbreads
18-18° Flatbread, UK
According to 18 -18 Flatbread, the use of AEF freezing technology helps preserve the nutrient composition, tase and colour of the product, with its weight also remaining the same once defrosted
What it is:

Billed as 'the UK's freshest approach to frozen food', 18 -18 Flatbread is a London-based frozen bakery brand that expertly balances tech, design and trends.

It launched last year with a three-strong range of flatbreads frozen via Acoustic Extra Freezing (AEF) technology - a method that sees sound waves resonate through products during the freezing process to limit the size and growth of ice crystals, preventing cell damage and dehydration.

The 18 -18 Flatbread range comprises Cacio e Pepe, Tomato & Oregano, and Goat's Cheese, Fig & Honey, with the brand name stemming from the 18-month life its frozen flatbreads offer when stored at a temperature of -18°.

Why we're interested:

Flatbreads' rise to prominence via the Tik Tok-pushing flair of one Thomas Straker over the last year or so will not have escaped many of you, with Greek Flatbreads one of our most recent Insight Snapshots as the versatile, cost-effective option increasingly enters the conversation for hospitality operators.

To see the flatbread jumping in at retail - frozen retail at that - certainly piqued our interest, with its Cacio e Pepe option an eye-catching deviation from the flatbread flavour/topping norm (remember Smug and its Cacio e Pepe crisps?).

We found 18 -18 Flatbread in the IFE Startup Market near the Trends & Innovation Platform, with their booth manned by founder duo, Elizabeth and Dasha. Both clearly have an eye for brand design and identity, given the look and feel of their frozen food disrupter.

And no surprise really that 18 -18 Flatbread has a Tik Tok account.

Sleep-Considering Coffee
Tide, UK
Said to include vanilla, chocolate and apple tasting notes, Tide's 'Longsands' 100% arabica coffee is "made by the sea in the UK", with each of its options pushed as Colombian Speciality Coffee'
What it is:

Launched at IFE 2024, Tide is a new coffee brand with a real time-of-day focus.

Each of its five coffee pod options contains a specific amount of caffeine, with the brand using 'sunrise', 'midday' and 'sunset' as consumption focus areas.

Suggested intake is tailored to the sensitivity levels of its consumers. This is measured via a personalised coffee plan delivered through its trademarked 'Sleep Well System' that puts a good night's sleep front and centre.

For example, its Longsands (pictured) is a 'Haff Caff' option with 25mg of caffeine per cup - recommended for those with an average sensitivity to caffeine seeking a midday coffee moment without impact on sleep.

Why we're interested:

The blend of science, speciality coffee and 'sleep' caught our attention here.

Tide is looking to tackle the consumer issue of caffeine and its direct impact on sleep with the power of personalised health - a priority trend within broader health and wellness.

We've all thought twice about having another coffee in the late afternoon for fear of problems when hitting the pillow later on, with Tide's bold approach a thought starter for those opportunities far beyond straight decaf.
Food Trend to Food Concept

What to expect:

  • Understand the state-of-play with Asian-inspired chicken with an expert-led overview, innovator examples, and a spotlight on potential opportunity areas for the UK market.

  • Journey with us through fried/breaded chicken seasoning opportunities, exploring viable retail applications and digesting analysis.

  • Discover a brand-new retail seasoning concept as an example of our 'trend to concept' methodology, with the team discussing ingredient builds and suitability for the UK market.

  • Understand possible range expansions, backed up by AI-led product concept showcases.

Chicken Jerky Jumps Out
Chick&Go, Ukraine
Air-dried craft chicken snacks are said to be traditionally served with the likes of beer and wine in Ukraine
What it is:

Chick&Go was the winner of the 'Best Meat/Poultry Product' at the 2024 World Food Innovation Awards, which was announced during the show, with the MHP-owned brand's range of baked and dried chicken breast slices offering low calorie, high protein snacking benefits.

Coming in five flavours, including Soy Sauce, Red Paprika & Pepper, and Honey & Mustard; Ukrainian brand Chick&Go is pushing a modern take on what is a traditional Ukrainian snack - chicken jerky - with a low of 100 calories per pack and high of 81% protein clearly catching the eye of the judges.

Why we're interested?

Aside from its award-winning credentials, Chick&Go is an example of a chicken jerky product that ticks more boxes than its beef product counterpart.

Packed with protein and fairly clear of calories, chicken jerky is something of a standard-bearer for healthy, meaty, flavourful snacking, with Chick&Go's range of flavours and Ukrainian roots translating well.

We saw a similar, UK-based example at last year's Speciality & Fine Food Fair - the brilliantly-named Arrogant Chicken, which took direct inspiration from Ukrainian chicken jerky snacking traditions.

While beef is clearly the leader in terms of category; chicken, being so much lower in saturated and trans fat in comparison, and with notable protein and calorie contents, could be a bit of a golden ticket for brands within the evolving dried meat snacking scene.

Premium Asian-Inspired Sauces
Lord & Lion, Australia
Lord & Lion showcased all six of its sauces at IFE
What it is:

Based in Sydney, Lord & Lion is billed as a luxury spice company, specialising in spice boxes for the home cook.

And while it showcased plenty at IFE 2024, it was its range of Asian-inspired sauces and marinades that drew us over.

With options including a Momo Dumpling Hot Sauce, Indian Chinese Schezwan Sauce, and Singapore Chilli Garlic Sauce; Lord & Lion's options exude premium, pushing bold flavours and culinary discovery for home chefs across a range of scratch cooking occasions.

Why we're interested:

Here at Insights Lab, we're suckers for a good sauce, with Lord & Lion's eye-catching range certainly passing the taste test.

We were particularly taken with the Singapore Chilli Garlic option, which founder Eresha De Zoysa described as flavours straight from Singapore Chilli Crab. Subtly sweet, deeply savoury and with a lovely hint of chilli; the sauce is positioned as a dipping sauce, stir-fry addition, meat marinade, and as a cooking sauce for curries.

With the broader reaches of 'authentic' Asian cuisine expressions now being readily embraced in UK hospitality, so too will opportunities for less considered home cook options diversify, with Lord & Lion's Indian Chinese Schezwan Sauce - a versatile red chilli and garlic option - a great example of the product possibilities.
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Frangipani Foods process galip nuts not only into snacks, but also into galip meal and galip oil
What it is:

Indigenous to the Melanesian countries of the South Pacific, the galip nut is nutrient-packed, antioxidant-rich and, according to Frangipani Foods, the nut with the lowest carb and sodium content on the market.

Introduced to Insights Lab by Frangipani co-founder Marybeth Moxon at IFE 2024, the galip nut (we found) also has a silky-smooth texture and flavour, with the brand showcasing both its raw and dry roasted options at the show.

High in healthy omega oils, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium; Frangipani Foods aim to bring the galip nut into the UK healthy snacking scene, with its nuts collected in the wild from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea.

Why we're interested:

The galip nut was an unexpected and memorable find during our search of the IFE show floor, with the nut's pleasing flavour and texture potentially giving it an edge as it probes for an opening within UK healthy snacking.

Nutritionally, the galip nut seems a bit of a powerhouse, but that doesn't always translate as a winning snacking formula, with taste and overall enjoyment unavoidable metrics for any snack product.

There's something clearly moorish with the galip nut, with Frangipani's dry roasted with Himalayan pink salt (not the smokey-savoury flavour) particularly enjoyable.

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