Natural & Organic Products Show

It was a special Sunday – as the Natural & Organic Products show didn’t fall on weekday, I took my children (10 & 13) with me to the trade show this year (19th April) at the ExCel Centre.

Chan & I have been to the Smoothie Chamionship UK held by the Lunch! exhibition for the last few years, and we always had great time watching the creative and fun ways the show promotes healthy juicing.  While it has always been a ‘Smoothie Championship’, we were thrilled to know Diversified is now running a Juicing Championship as well. In this case 75% of the drink needs to have a fresh juice base. This is the first juicing competition to be held at the Natural & Organic Products show.

This was also sponsored by Juico which makes an extremely quiet slow juicer suitable for both household and commercial use. My children have been big fans of my daily creation of juices and smoothies at home and asked if they could try all 9 shortlisted juices too.

Being a devoted mum and a big fan of raw juice, I was lucky to be one of the 10 guests judges to test the look, taste, originality & health benefits of the creations. One extra factor for me to consider before casting my vote was to ask what the children thought after their tiny sips of each.

The best part of my journey was to meet the celebrity chefs and food writers in person. I have cookbooks from them, watched them on TV and also read their columns on newspapers, but to see them giving advice and answering live questions was a first for me and very thrilling.

I agreed with food writer Christine Bailey, who says juicing is about introducing more vegetables into your diet instead of putting too much fruit, which may increase consumption of too much fruit sugar.  Nutritionist & TV chef Dale Pinnock’s advice about the whole food and raw ingredients and their medicinal value also impressed my children. I particularly like what celebrity chef Arthur Potts Dawson said about the amount of food waste we are facing and how juicing can make full use of the earth’s limited supply.

It was a full on one hour show with fun and informative question time. I was amazed with these juicing professionals' knowledge and multi-tasking skills, rustling up their juices while answering all the questions from the MCs. After 3 heats the semi-finalists were judged by the industry judges and I could finally put away my voting cards and jot down all the notes of the creations for home and for our customers to try. Not surprisingly, all the judges voted the same one - a super creation from Crussh - their juice Lean Green proved to be an overall winner for the adults’ taste buds as well as that of my children.

Whilst the children went off to sample all the healthy snacks in the show, I stayed behind in the show kitchen to watch Andrew Jones of Chamberlain's to demonstrate a Crab & Oyster dish from scratch. Oh my, I almost forgot my children had wandered off as I was keen to stay to sample the finished product! It was nearly time for their tea but they told me they'd already refuelled with kale crisps from inSpiral, 100% coconut snacks & drinks by CocoNuts, omega3 rich bread from Biona, and lots of nut-free brownies.

I continued to research on the train home with all the leaflets I picked up, whilst my children dozed. Was it an illusion or was their skin glowing after consuming all those healthy nibbles? The saying, ‘You are what you eat’ popped up again in my mind…. Did they mention the word ‘nut-free’ earlier – phew!

In all, it was such a fun family day. Now more cook books from the health advocates I met are on order; I’m sure we are ready for more ‘feel-good’ family dinners ahead.