Allergy Show Top 10 Tips
The Allergy Show, also called the Allergy and Free From Show is surely the headline annual event for gluten-free, other free-from, vegan and organic eaters.
Get the very best out of the Show by being prepared!
This guide is based on attending the London show many times. I have learned a few tricks. In 2015 I even attended twice, first to chat with lots of exhibitors and attend some of the expert talks and then again the next day to scoop up the very best deals.
I will update this post to highlight the best deals or anything else I think is unmissable. If you want to ensure you receive the updates, simply follow on Facebook, Twitter or sign up for the mailing list.
1. Get your Free Ticket & Take Cash to the Event
You can buy tickets for £10 but why pay? Instead go here for unlimited free tickets http://www.allergyshow.co.uk/go/foreverfreefrom
Some but not all exhibitors will be able to accept card payments inside so take cash and take plenty. There may be an ATM inside. There may also be a very long queue to use that ATM.
2. Be Safe! Check that sample before eating it!
This is not an allergen free event. There are lots of things present containing gluten, dairy and the other major allergens. It is really easy to become complacent when surrounded by so much that you can safely enjoy. Stay frosty.
3. Skip Breakfast
Or arrange to run a marathon the next day. Seriously. There will be more samples that you can possibly take advantage of. If you want to try as many as possible skip breakfast, or just have something light and protein-based since the majority of samples will be carbohydrate focused.
This works well in combination with the very next tip . . .
4. Arrive Early, Opening Time is 1000
This is a very popular show and even the enormous Olympia becomes so busy that from late AM onward the crowds are dense enough that moving between stalls can be slow. If you want a period of relative quiet to recce for the best deals or talk to exhibitors arrive at the opening time!
5. Attend Talks, Demos and other Events
There is much more to experience than the samples and great deals. There are actually 3 co-locating shows, The Allergy & Free From Show, Just V Show and the Love Natural, Love You (LNLY) Show.
Each show has a range of opportunities to learn from experts, connect with people managing the same issues that you are, get inspired by cooking demonstrations and more.
Some of the expert talks are very interesting and offer a change of pace and even the opportunity to sit down and take a break. Plan your attendance in advance, identify the talk location and start making your way there in good time, allowing for very slow moving through the traffic!
Allergy Show Expert Talks http://www.allergyshow.co.uk/london/whats-on/talks/
V Show Expert Talks http://www.justvshow.co.uk/london/whats-on/v-theatre/
Love Natural, Love You Expert Talks http://www.lnlo.co.uk/v-theatre.php
6. Bring a Rucksack . . . and make it a big one
You will be spoiled for choice for both deep-discounted show offers and products too good to pass up the opportunity to buy. Bring a comfortable rucksack. Be really clever and makes notes on what you want to buy and from where then revisit them all on your way out.
My favourite solution is a rucksack with a hip belt so the load is on the hips rather than shoulders plus at least one insulated cool bag for keeping chilled items chilled out.
Some people bring rolling luggage which in theory is great to avoid carrying things all day but in practice navigating through the crowded areas with one would be challenging.
If you have a car, parking at Olympia itself is costly but there is reportedly free parking located within walking distance, some of which can be found here http://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/olympia
7. Get a Fria Butter Knife
Visit the Fria stand and pick up a free butter knife. They are the best butter knives I have ever used. Don’t take the last one though, I might not have picked up mine yet!
8. Share your finds!
Found a great deal? Share it, add a comment here, upload a picture!
9. Meetup with the Gluten-Free London Club
Gluten-Free London Club is a social Meetup club. We eat out together, go to workshops and events and *sometimes* talk about things *other* than gluten.
It is a completely open, friendly group for anyone to join. There will be lots of members attending the Allergy Show.
You’ll be walking all day. Why not meetup and deliver your very best “look look look at this awesome product I found” pitch to an appreciative audience?
10. The Super Secret Squirrel Bargain Hunter Pro-Tip
Ooh, I am a little reluctant to even share this one . . . but okay, just for you, don’t tell anyone else okay? In the closing hour or so of the show on Sunday many exhibitors will start to offer end-of-show special deals in order to clear their stock. Some will even just give away anything they have left especially if it is perishable. Last year I picked up freebies from Romeo’s Sugar Free Bakery, Great Foods and Fria, thank you!
11. <insert top tip here>
What did I miss? 🙂