January is a great month for vegan dieters with ‘Veganuary’ becoming bigger every year and plenty of new vegan options hitting the supermarket shelves and online shops. As supermarkets increase their range of vegan products, the “Free From” sections are getting smaller, leaving those with dietary needs and food intolerances frustrated, and with limited food options, especially for the health conscious.
The number of people developing food intolerances is rapidly growing, with those affected looking for free from alternatives of their favourite foods and options which are not full of preservatives and refined sugar. This led UK-based entrepreneur Margarita Kalna to found the Free From Festival – the UK’s 1st Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar-Free Food Festival, which aims to improve the lives of those affected by food intolerances by introducing them to a wider range of artisan free-from products, while supporting smaller UK-based free-from producers. Many of the producers Margarita works with have personal experience of coping with food intolerance themselves, or in their families.
Margarita has been running highly successful Free From Festival events in London and Bristol since 2016, expanding to Oxford and Manchester in 2019. Covid-19 has of course had a massive impact on the events industry as well as many smaller businesses, with all physical events having been banned since March 2020. In response, during the lockdown the Free From Festival have moved online, with the launch of the Free From Festival Marketplace – an extension of their existing website, providing customers with the opportunity to browse and discover new high quality free-from products online. They have also hosted virtual Free From Festival Events online, with live cooking demos and educational talks on nutrition and adapting to a free-from lifestyle (as would be found at the physical Festivals).
The Marketplace launched in October 2020, in partnership with 30 of their favourite artisan free-from vendors, and is growing fast. All products sold through the platform are Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar-Free with many other free from options available. Current top sellers on the Marketplace include; The Gluten Free Bakery fresh, crispy sourdough bread, Green Sisters award-winning sweet & savoury samosas and KO-CO Brownies mouth-watering brownies and melting pots.
For the month of February the Free From Festival has partnered up with Love Free From (a gluten-free food and snack subscription box company) and the free-from blogger community to raise awareness with a ‘FreeFromuary’ campaign, encouraging free from businesses to use hashtag FreeFromuary in their social media posts and to offer discounts in their online shops throughout the month.
Customers will be able to receive a 10% discount on all products bought through the Free From Festival Marketplace in February, by using code FREEFROMUARY at checkout on their website: freefromfestival.co.uk/marketplace/
“We believe everyone deserves to have tasty food and options to choose from, that caters for all dietary needs. Our Free From Festival events and the new Marketplace platform are a great opportunity to discover tasty ‘free from’ products or to purchase gifts for loved ones who have certain intolerances.”
– Margarita Kalna, founder of Free From Events and the #FreeFromFestival.