The Most Delicious Things at IFE 2022

Kooky dehydrated mangosteen

Incredible new food and drink products I tried at the International Food Exhibition in March 2022

A bonus episode this week! There were so many incredible things I tried at IFE 2022 I decided to record a separate podcast episode about them. Here are the links to everything I discussed on the episode and some more!

Mergulo – the most INCREDIBLE vegan butter. Made from cashews, coconut oil and chickpeas

La Vie – insanely realistic vegan bacon. Used on the Burger King Vegan Whopper.

Karu – cacao cashews

Better Nature Tempeh – the mince was super accessible introduction to temper

Amla Drink – brand new, not in the UK yet. Unusual and enjoyable.

Clean Wine – a spray for your glass before the pour that apparently means you won’t get a hangover! I haven’t tried it yet….

Super Foodio – just launched peanut butter buttons, a low sugar, dairy-free, peanut butter white chocolate, sort of!

Plant Based Seafood Co – the konjac scallops

Prohibition Wines – a new non-alcoholic wine company. The still and sparkling rose wines were particularly impressive.

Prodigy – Chocolate biscuit reimagined coming soon.

Creative Nature – Best selling baking mixes

Abakus Foods – seaweed crisps and vegetable crisps coming soon

Les Nouveaux Affineurs – French cashew camembert

Cocoa Canopy – the rebrand and relaunch of Hans Sloane Chocolate

Viva Cassava – fantastic snacks

Tarwi – Lupin Bean Hummus!

Veggiebel Vegan Stock/Bouillon Cubes in chicken, beef, fish and a Thai curry flavour. Really impressive and so great to have some variety other than just “vegetable” and “mushroom”.

Mellona – Beautiful raw honey and other products from Cyprus

Blue Sky Botanics – Baobab Fruit Puree – incredible innovation turning this highly nutritious powder into a puree that is so much more usable in food and drinks (the powder has a noticeably sandy texture)

J&G Pecans – these honey-roasted pecans will be coming to the UK soon and they’re incredibly moreish.

Mitsuba – seaweed crisps. Not yet in the UK. All three flavours are excellent. They’re also very hard to stop eating. More crisp than seaweed so more accessible, perhaps.

Common CBD – a CBD drink that isn’t flavoured! Loved it. Fantastically refreshing with a mineral note.

Ocean Fruit – salads in jars and seasoning/sandwich spread pastes in tubes made from organic seaweed

BettaFish – vegan Tuna sandwich made from seaweed and fava beans

R.J.M Food excellent plain and flavoured tahini. Not yet in the UK.

Eat Planted – Swiss company. I only tried the pulled pork but it was good.

PLNT – subsidiary of a meat company making vegan meat-replacements. The fish was particularly good.

Heura – Spanish vegan meat alternative company. All of a really high standard.

Spanish Hammaster – spheres of pomegranate vinegar! A world first!

Nudie Snacks – launched Cauliflower crisps with 40% cauliflower

yfoods – a “complete meal’ in a drink. The chocolate and vanilla flavours were great. Vegan.

So-Beer – an alcohol-free beer I didn’t try but it won an award so I’m including for reference for me and anyone else who’s interested!

I am Kooky – freeze and gently dried fruit. The mangosteen was outstanding.

Jungle Fruits – Another freeze-dried fruit company. Jackfruit was my favourite.

Definite Chocolate – macadamias covered in chocolate! And more bean to bar.

One One Cacao – the coconut milk chocolate

PURE Chocolate – the jerk spice chocolate

Doughalicious – DOUGH-CHI – dough covered ice cream balls from the people who make the excellent free-from bake-at-home cookies.

Everleaf – nonalcoholic spirits

Charlie’s organics

Dappa – Ice cream

Accor – a premium vegan beef patty (French company)

Avocado Ice Cream!

Everleaf Forest
Everleaf Forest
Westfalia Fruit Vegan Ice Cream
Westfalia Fruit Vegan Ice Cream
Tavor Organic Sesame Tahini
Tavor Organic Sesame Tahini
Nudie Snacks - Cauliflower Crisps
Nudie Snacks – Cauliflower Crisps
Vegan Bacon slices
Vegan Bacon slices
Vegan Bouillon Cubes
Vegan Bouillon Cubes
Meeres Creme
Meeres Creme
BettaFish Tu-nah Vegan Sandwich
BettaFish Tu-nah Vegan Sandwich
Tempeh Mince
Tempeh Mince
Definite Chocolate
Definite Chocolate
Definite Chocolate Macadamia chocolate and cinnamon
Definite Chocolate Macadamia chocolate and cinnamon
One One Cacao Chocolate
One One Cacao Chocolate
Savoury Madeleines From St Michel
Savoury Madeleines From St Michel Seaweed Crisps Seaweed Crisps
Charlie's Organics
Charlie’s Organics
Dappa Ice Cream Thick rich and outrageously creamy
Dappa Ice Cream Thick rich and outrageously creamy
5 Rivers Spiced Rum International Food Exhibition
International Food Exhibition
Read the full IFE Top Food & Drink Finds Podcast transcription here

Hello, and welcome to Episode 6 of The Next Delicious Thing. This is a bonus episode! 

I’m Jennifer Earle. This is a podcast where I share with you the things that need to go to the top of your list to try next. 

This particular podcast is all about IFE, the International Food Exhibition and the amazing things I discovered there. Some of the things are not available in London yet, but I’m going to talk to you first about the things are. And, if you work in the food industry, then you’ll want to listen to the end because some of these products might be game changing for your business. 

Just in case you missed it. I also shared things that I tried from Norfolk, Saffron Walden and some incredible bean to bar chocolate on Episode 5. So that’s two episodes this week. I’m not sure when this will ever happen again! At the moment it takes me more than a day to record 12 minutes of the podcast. Perhaps I’ll get quicker! But I really wanted to share with you the things I found and the things that happened in Norfolk. So, here we go: 

A quick heads up before we get into the episode. 

If you missed the announcement, on Episode 5, there are two pop ups happening. So go ahead and listen to that. But one starts on Thursday until April 10. And the other one is just this Saturday from 10am to 2pm. At Toklas Bakery, raising money for the Cook for Ukraine campaign. 

Right, on to IFE. IFE is the UK biggest food trade show. And it is only open to people in the trade. It is lots of small and large companies who are showing off their products. They want to spread the word and get more listings and more sales. There were so many delicious things that I tried. I’m going to talk to you first about the ones that I just couldn’t stop eating and to make sure I tell you first the ones that are actually available here. 

So there are two products that I think are category changing: a vegan butter and a vegan bacon substitute. I’ve tried many of both of these before, and nothing has actually made me think I would rather have this than dairy or bacon. I’m not a huge bacon fan anyway, but I have eaten a lot of it. And honestly, this particular product was indistinguishable from the bacon that goes on McDonald’s burgers. And in fact, if you went to the Burger King plant based takeover in their Leicester Square restaurant, then you would have tried this particular bacon. 

If you didn’t realise, Burger King did a plant based takeover of the Leicester Square restaurant and everything in there was completely vegan. This bacon substitute is phenomenal. It is from a French company called La Vie at the moment they only have three products a ready to eat bacon, a cook from raw bacon and a lardon. It looks like bacon. It cooks like bacon. It smells like bacon. It tastes like bacon. It has a texture like bacon. You get the idea. It is just incredible. I’m going to put a video on The Next Delicious Thing social media channels (@thenextdeliciousthing) because I just can’t get my head around it. It’s a soy-based product with coconut oil as well – and magic!

Compared to using actual pigs, the La Vie bacon uses 88% less CO2, 82% less water, 74% less land use. And then, from a personal perspective, it’s rich in protein, contains 60% less fat, 33% fewer calories and 15 times more fibre. Hopefully it will be in a supermarket near you soon. 

The vegan butter is already available. This company is called Mergulo. It is a Portuguese word that means “to dive in”. The founder Mairi Hileary chose this name because it is a cashew based butter and cashews are native to Brazil. So, “to dive in” is the philosophy of their business which I love. Mairi is a Ballymaloe trained chef and she created this product during lockdown. 

This butter is restaurant quality; equivalent to any dairy butter that I’ve ever tried, if not better. They have three products: original, garlic and herb and a dark salt, which is kind of like a Marmite butter. 

They were serving incredible sourdough, which definitely helped, but it was just game changing. It is going to be priced at a premium butter point which it actually tastes like. I find so many vegan butters are priced premium, but don’t really taste like butter. Although butter, as I’m sure you know, has a huge variance in itself where some tastes terrible and some taste phenomenal. And this is definitely at that end where you want the butter as thick as the piece of bread that it is being spread on. 

A third product that I would have kept eating more and more and more of – if it wasn’t totally inappropriate to do that when it’s somebody samples at a food show – was a company called Karu, which is also a Brazilian word. Well, Portuguese technically, but I believe this one is colloquial to Brazil. It is a slang word meaning “to eat”. 

They only have one product at the moment: Cacao cashews, toasted cashews with the teeniest layer of caramel that it doesn’t feel like caramel, but it’s just enough to give us this incredible crunch and it helps the cacao powder to stick to it. They are ridiculously, ridiculously, ridiculously Morrish. I did need to say ridiculously three times. Go and get some. They’re available online. Now the link is on the website. The direct link to that page is in the show notes. 

I have so many more products to tell you about. There were a lot of vegan products at the show, a whole vegan section. But even beyond that, just so many products that were just incidentally vegan. 

I do want to tell you about a couple of the really fascinating meat substitutes that I found apart from the ones I’ve already told you about. So there were some really incredible fish including the most insane tuna, which was made from fava beans and seaweed, from a company a German company called BettaFish

A meat company started a vegan subsidiary three years ago. It’s called Planet PLNT. And their fish is quite new. But that was what I was most impressed by. It was made out of a wheat protein. 

I also tried an excellent pulled pork from Swiss company Eat Planted. I didn’t try any of their other products, so I can only talk to that one. 

The most amazing chicken that I tried – fake chicken was from The Vegetarian Butcher and from Heura. Both of these were chicken pieces – like strips – and they even have a crispy kind of skin to them, which was kind of freaky, but really impressive if that’s what you’re looking for. 

All of the Heura products that I tried were incredible; I was really, really impressed by them. Beyond Meat and The Meatless Farm were there and I continue to be impressed by their products as well. 

A small French company called Accor had a beef burger, which was more of a like a juicy piece of meat rather than a kind of minced meat patty, like most of the places making burger substitutes. This was more of a premium burger offering so I guess what you’d probably find in a pub rather than a Quick Service Restaurant. 

There are quite a few companies selling seaweed products which is amazing because that is super sustainable. The most interesting one was a German company called Ocean Fruit. They had seaweed salads in jars and also tubes of seaweed paste which sounds a bit weird but they were kind of like having a tomato paste so you can use as a flavour enhancer or you could spread them on a sandwich. They were delicious and interesting. 

My favourite was the tamari, ginger and sesame salad. They’re all kind of like the texture is a little bit strange, but it worked really well as a topper on avocado toast. So I definitely think that these products I’m just excited that they’re making seaweed into things that are more consumable. 

Even more consumable, other snacks by two companies MITSUBA, which is not yet in the UK, and Abakus who are. They’re both producing seaweed crisps

The MITSUBA ones are much more crisp-like, so it’s like a tiny bit of nori with the backing of corn and rice. The Abakus ones have just a tiny coating of tapioca on the nori so you have much more seaweed, but they’re really really crunchy and very, very, very snackable. Abakus do some other really interesting products as well. They’re just about to launch some dehydrated veggies, which I really liked because they weren’t. It didn’t feel like you had that sugar coating that you sometimes get on flavoured snacks, especially the kind of healthy ones. 

Oh, I also wanted to tell you about another vegan substitute. So there is a US company based in Virginia called Plant Based Seafood. They have a brand called Mind Blown, which we’re up for an award. They are making scallops and crab cakes. And I tried this scallop so the texture was really quite amazing. Not like a super succulent scallop like you get in a really fancy restaurant. But the slightly more bouncy ones, but still just incredible that it tasted like a scallop. didn’t love the seasoning, but the scallop itself texture wise and the taste of the scallop was really quite just uncanny.

I don’t know how many times I can say scallops but the the scallops were made out of Konjacwhich is widely known as yam cake in Japan. Although it is not a yam the way that most of us know it in the UK and US. It’s not a tuber that comes from the ground. If you’ve ever seen those zero calorie noodles, they’re made from konjac so it’s very gelatinous, doesn’t have a lot of flavour but it does pair really well with seaweed and the bit that you eat, the bit that makes the konjac powder that you can turn into jellies or scallops, is like a giant supersized stamen of a flower. A purple flower-like thing that looks like something that came from Day of the Triffids. It’s a bit freaky looking. It’s incredibly useful as a gelatine substitute as well. And it has a good dose of fibre, unlike actual scallops. 

And a final meat alternative that is not actually trying to be something else is a really fabulous young company called Better Nature, who are selling tempeh, which is fermented soy. So this is a really unprocessed compared to all of these other meat replacement products, using a protein that we know has all of the amino acids that we need in our body, and it’s fermented so it’s really great for gut health as well. I tried various options of theirs and I was particularly impressed by the vegan mince. Tempeh is kind of an acquired taste, but this one is a great introduction and I think would hopefully be a really fantastic option to beef up the nutritional values and also to make it not too strange for people who aren’t used to eating tempeh. 

Okay, two more vegan substitute products and I promise then I’ll stop: 

A company called Les Nouveaux Affineurs. Apologies for my French accent. This is a French company and they are making cheese. Their cashew-based Camembert was just superb. It looked like Camembert. It smelt like Camembert. Tasted like camembert. Okay, maybe not if you’ve got them side by side, but honestly good enough. And it was also up for an award. 

The final one is Dappa who have been around for a couple of years now. You might have seen them they have their products in Leon and Dirty Vegan and a bunch of other places. It tastes very much like soft serve ice cream, you would not know that it’s missing dairy in the sense that like soft serve ice cream isn’t normally very dairy-esque in its taste. This silky smooth texture and even background note, nothing you have to compete with. It’s just very smooth. Why would you want dairy when you can have something like this?

Just to remind you, all the links for these companies are at The link directly to that page is in the show notes.

There are a couple of other snack products too: dehydrated fruit companies: Kooky, afruit company who are only using fruits that come from Southeast Asia – so there’s no apples or strawberries. What I was the most impressed by was the mangosteen. Mangosteen is possibly my favourite fruit. I think probably something to do with the fact that is so difficult to get hold of but most people I speak to who’ve tried mangosteen think it’s incredible. If you haven’t seen it, it kind of looks like a tomato but purple, with that green little bit at the top and it is very hard skinned. The skin is quite thick; you can get into it with your hands. Inside is the fruit which looks a little bit like an orange , except it’s white little segments. 

Sometimes the segment has a seed but otherwise they’re just really juicy , and slightly fibrous. I guess a little like a lychee but not as floral and much more sour and acidic in the taste. Not that they are sour but I don’t really find lychees particularly sour. And the texture is different. I guess so not that much like a lychee! But it is incredible. If you haven’t tried them seek them out. The taste is so amazing. And I’m so excited that the Kooky Fruit Company are dehydrating them because actually it makes it not really much more expensive than going to buy them in Chinatown. Or if you might see them in a supermarket somewhere. If you’re in Asia, go and buy the fresh ones. But  if you’re here, in the UK, these are incredible. 

Kooky was set up by two women who met at the school playground gate, Aline Bergman and Deanna Tan, they are really passionate about health and taste and their branding is really fun. I will link to them at the 

Another company set up by two brothers called Jungle Fruit are selling slightly different dehydrated fruit. I was particularly in love with the jackfruit. This might be because I spent some time in Indonesia when I was young. Not sure that this flavour is going to be as delicious to everybody, but for me it was quite nostalgic. Most of you probably know jackfruit as a pulled pork substitute, but it is really delicious as a fruit as well. It’s much more subtle than most fruits.  It is not particularly sour or acidic at all. But it’s different and enjoyable and good for you.

They have coconut and pineapple and watermelon as well. This company was set up by brothers Manny and Sam who grew up in South London. They are finally heeding their mother’s advice and eating more fruit. I liked on their website how they said that they found it a challenge cracking open a coconut on the Central Line. That is why they set up their business. 

I realise I have now been talking for a very long time. I have many more products to tell you about!

There’s one more I want to tell you about quickly because I it was news to me and I thought you might be interested. So it is a product called Lummus which is hummus made from Lupin beans. Lupin beans are a native European legume They have a really high protein content and similar to soy – they contain all of the 10 essential amino acids. It makes them one of the richest sources of combined fibre and protein.

They have about three times more protein than quinoa, three times more fibre than oats and three times more antioxidants than berries, which really surprised me, and three times more iron than kale. The company, Tarwi, is making four different types of lummus. Essentially, instead of chickpeas, it’s Lupin beans with tahini and there are four flavours original and three others. They’re all fantastic. And I particularly liked the herb which was very much like it had pesto stirred in so it was basil primarily. I could definitely see myself using these frequently. 

I won’t keep you any longer but go to the website because there’s a couple of other interesting products including a baobab paste, potato milk and Indian spiced rum, some incredible chocolate, CBD water, so many things and non alcoholic sparkling rose

I’m going to put a link to all of these on the website because I want you to know about them. But I appreciate that you have only so much time in your day! So, go and look at the website, see the links. 

Please subscribe to this podcast and leave a review on Apple podcasts. Remember, you can also sign up to receive everything that I’ve said via email. I cannot wait to get to speak to you again on Wednesday. Until then, happy eating!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: