Allergy Show Top 10 Tips
The Allergy Show, also called the Allergy and Free From Show, is the ten ton gorilla annual event for gluten-free, dairy free, vegan and other free from 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 some years I even attend twice! Once to chat with lots of exhibitors and attend some of the expert talks and a second time to scoop up amazing deals.
I will update this post to highlight the best deals I find in 2018. 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
There is no need to pay for a ticket. There are unlimited free tickets available from many different including right here. Click here to get free tickets via my own affiliate link .
Take actual cash money because
- Some exhibitors will not accept card payments
- Mobile card payment machines can sometimes run very slow and fail
- The cash machine inside the exhibition hall may have a very long queue and even run out of cash!
2. Be Safe! Check that sample before eating it!
Gluten is present! So is dairy! This is not an allergen free event. There are many lovely gluten free things but not all things are lovely and gluten free. It is really easy to become complacent when surrounded by so much that you can safely enjoy. Stay frosty. Stay safe. Check first.
3. Prepare for more Samples than you can possibly eat!
There will be more samples that you can possibly take advantage of unless your capacity for eating is ten times greater than mine! More than you can possibly even imagine unless you have been to the show before! Samples range from bite sized pieces of bars and treats all the way to slices of pizza from the wonderful Venice Bakery and entire filled sandwich wraps from BFree. Effective tactics to cope include:
- Skip breakfast or just have something light and protein-based since the majority of samples will be carb heavy
- Arrange to run a marathon the next day
- Pace yourself and be selective
- Try and eat some “real food” first so your gut does not rebel in horror at what you are feeding it!
4. Arrive Early to beat the huge crowds!
This is a very popular show. Even the enormous Olympia becomes so full that moving from stall to stall is like being inside a crowded bar or a tube stop at rush hour. From midday 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, 10 AM.
5. Attend Talks, Demos and other Events
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 schedule of talks from various expert speakers, presentations, Q&As, panel events and cooking demos.
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. Some products will have deep discounts compared to their usual prices. Others will just be too good to pass up the opportunity to buy such as new product launches not yet in stores. 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. I am a semi-professional show visitor!
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 is difficult so I cannot recommend it.
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? :-)