Winning the free titles

Top innovation: Dell Ugo’s gluten-free pasta, made from chickpeas.
Top innovation: Dell Ugo’s gluten-free pasta, made from chickpeas.

A dairy-free lemon and coconut frozen dessert has been named the best free-from food for 2013. Manufacturer Bessant & Drury also triumphed in the new children’s food category with its coconut chocolate frozen dessert in the latest FreeFrom Food Awards.
The first-ever fresh chickpea pasta, made by Dell’Ugo, won the innovation award; the egg-free savoury Scotch ‘egg’ from Hotch Potch Eggs triumphed in the foodservice category, while a new Czech lager, Celia, was a joint winner in the gluten-free beer category.
Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, director of the awards and editor of FoodsMatter, said that the judges were impressed by this year’s entries: “Since we launched the FreeFrom Food Awards six years ago, we have seen the number of free-from products grow extensively. For these awards there was a record 37% increase in the number of entries.
“However, it was the improvements in terms of flavour and appearance that impressed the judges most. Many of the dishes were free from more than one allergen, yet tasted and looked as good as any conventional product. It takes significant skill and investment by the food industry, so congratulations to the winners and to all of those whose products were commended.”
The awards are for products free from one or more of the ingredients (wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, nuts, or soya) said to trouble 45% of the population. According to Kantar Worldpanel, the sector is worth at £240m and expected to grow to £519m by 2016.