Against The Grain


A couple of weekends ago, Path attended “Against the Grain”, London’s original gluten free festival nestled in the maze of Camden Market’s cobbled courtyards. The two-day festival had something for everyone: from cookery demonstrations and bars, to book signings and yoga classes. Chloe Davis reports on what we saw…

We have found ourselves in an age where personal health and wellness is a key consumer concern, influencing a huge range of categories. This has also been a major factor contributing to the growing demand for ‘free-from’ choices, with gluten-free a particularly strong category.

It seems that the free-from phenomenon has well and truly taken hold in the UK, as 33% of Brits have bought or eaten any free-from foods over the past six months. 

Among the mass of vibrantly coloured stalls ran scores of vegan enthusiasts, who flocked around the freshly cooked Mexican kidney bean and spelt wraps, and stands offering free samples by Raw Gorilla, KIND and Pulsin, to name but a few.

Although free-from food has long been associated with offerings that are bland and tasteless, this perception has slowly been challenged by brands and chefs in the category, such as Lisa Roukin, who took to the stage and whipped up a masterful batch of coconut brownies. 

The event’s official drinks sponsor, Westerham Brewery, ran an exclusive Gluten Free Bar, showcasing their Bohemian Rhapsody draught pilsner, which was perfect for a rare summers day in London. 

With so much innovation and development in the category, the free-from market  is unlikely to slow down anytime soon – in fact, it’s likely to be quite the opposite. In the UK alone, it is forecast to grow by 46% to £561 million by 2017 and this was certainly reflected in the turn out at the festival.

There were over 70,000 visitors over the two days so if there were ever a festival to dismember the negative stigma of gluten free produce, this would be it. #BEIGERAGE