Catering consultancy can certainly be varied and interesting! And yesterday was no exception!

12 May 2016 By Charles Manners

A visit to Caffe Culture held at Olympia yesterday was the opportunity to see both new and existing suppliers. As ever the exhibition was well attended and speaking to the exhibitors they were all pleased with the response from visitors. On the way to Olympia via a meeting I popped into Pret near Victoria Station which is a site that trials new products, (always worth a detour) and speaking to the manager there were two new ideas. Firstly new packaging for the hot breakfast products, which was more open and visual, and also the Brioche bun which retains its freshness under the heat lamps.

Then onto Olympia, where there were the usual array of coffee machines and roasters, although the latter category were not overly represented. Beanworks based in Brackley were there who have a good product range, and there were a number of tea companies; including Teapigs & Twining’s who had a large stand, and are clearly looking to create interest with new products and packaging with their infusion teas, their stand looked artisan! I met Prince Tea, a fairly new and well branded tea products, loose leaf they say is stable at 30% of the market! The tea market is competitive, English breakfast tea remains the best seller, but herbal teas and infusions are gaining popularity.

There were a number of cake producers, focus sing on tray bakes, from Cakesmith to Exploding Bakery whose quality was excellent, but at a premium price. Emily’s fruit crisps would be an excellent addition to a children’s food range. Mighty Fine’s honeycomb bar, essentially a posh crunchie was delicious.

Popcorn remains a good seller, and if anything is gaining market share versus crisps, but crisps will still outsell pop corn - 2:1

There were a number of furniture suppliers, and one that caught my eye was, and one in particular James Yarrow can supply distressed table tops and art work, and a number of furniture companies. Using old (looking) tables is a good idea, but old chairs do not last and buying new can be the best way forward.

If your setting up a cafe and need ideas for both equipment and food products and ideas then do contact us for catering consultancy advice, as with our Greatcafes blog and cafe tours we have a wealth of knowledge and ideas for both existing and new operators.

Do visit for details of our café tours and Chris Brown’s ) fellow catering consultant & Director) which has a continual stream of new ideas for café operators.

Overall an afternoon well spent, this exhibition with the LUNCH show in September are in my view the two best trade shows for cafe operations, and interestingly I saw two clients there by chance!

Sample of the companies seen!

  • Cakesmith very good quality tray bakes
  • Exploding Bakery really good tray bakes, top end but worth looking at
  • Kookybakes wonderful cakes
  • Mighty Fine Honeycomb posh crunchie! Very good
  • Blanxart chocolat made in Barcelona, very good
  • Willies Cacao  great chocolate
  • Showpiece Design, good range of furniture
  • Ten Acre snacks
  • Emily Fruit Crisps great fruit crisps, ideal for children’s snacks
  • Euro Food Brands San Benedettio very good soft drink, less expensive than its look alike!
  • Yellow art Design James Yarrow table tops
  • Tea Prince & Son going 2 years,
  • Alo Drinks aloe vera dinks, interesting and different taste!
  • Aequator coffee machines  


Ian Doughty


Tracey Fairclough


Charles Manners


Chris Brown







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