I had the privilege of attending the Free From Food Awards last week. The Grassroots Bakery organic gluten free product range had been shortlisted for a prize in the Best Store Cupboard ingredient category. We won a silver award for our white bread mix last year and so I was delighted when the invitation came through. The event itself is held at the Royal College of Physicians in London. So, I got myself out of my floury work clothes, into a pretty dress and off I went while my husband looked after the kids. The venue is absolutely stunning and the history behind it even more impressive. There is a complete library of old, leather bound books which are rather tantalisingly kept behind steel bars (probably to stop the likes of me, thumbing through them). I confess to spending a large part of the evening working out If I could squeeze a book through the gaps in the bars.
The awards were hugely competitive this year, with many well established and already successful brands participating. It was a friendly vibe though and everyone was in good spirits. With an ear piercing whistle (those who know Cressida who organises these events will vouch for that!) we got started. It became very clear that the free from market has upped their game. The diversity of foods available now are simply breath-taking. For me, as a mum of children with food allergies it takes the pressure off. I like to cook from fresh, I do. The issue is that not every time your child wants food is a breakfast, lunch or dinner occasion. Sometimes, they get hungry at 10am – get that! Sometimes, they just have a hungry day (they are growing). So, to have quick, easy and safe solutions that make us all feel normal is, well… it makes me able to breathe easier being honest. The pressure is suddenly not all mine alone.
After a suspense filled few minutes, the best store-cupboard ingredient category was announced and to my absolute delight, we won a bronze award for our brown bread mix and a silver for our chocolate chip muffin mix. The gold award went to the very deserving Hawkshead Relish for their delicious Worcester Sauce, Quinola Mothergrain, Express Quinoa and Oomph for their Garlic and Thyme snack.
So, was I pleased? You bet! I met some wonderful people, passionate about bringing the best free from food to people suffering with food allergies. Our Grassroots Bakery product range that is made by hand by us, was up there, standing shoulder to shoulder with some amazing brands.
For me, Grassroots Bakery has always been about enabling people who suffer with allergies or intolerances to gluten, dairy or preservatives to be able to enjoy staple foods without any compromise on taste or texture. The Free From Food Awards are a step closer to us achieving our vision.