The Food Show survival guide

The Food Show has been an annual event that I look forward to for a long time now. Naturally the first time I went the The Food Show after my gastric bypass I was nervous and I wasn’t sure if I was even going to enjoy it. I’m happy to say that while it is now a totally different experience for me I do still really enjoy it and look forward to it each year.

Before my surgery I would go to The Food Show to try ALL the samples. You basically can’t go anywhere at the Food Show without being offered a sample. Now, I still try some of the samples of the things that are okay for me to eat but I don’t go with even go with the thought of trying everything. I have to be careful not to make my tiny tummy too full and this is the one day I break my no snacking rule.

I’ve made some great discoveries at The Food Show since my surgery. It’s where I first came across Honest Food Co for example. Now that we have such specific dietary goals this is the best place to find new things you didn’t know about before. I was worried the first year after my gastric bypass that I wouldn’t be able to have many of the samples at all but while there were things I couldn’t even entertain the thought of trying there were many yummy and interesting things I could sample.

If you have been to The Food Show or any other big expo you will know how crazy they get in terms of busyness. I’ve made a wee survival guide to share with you so you can get the best out of The Food Show.

  1. Take a trolley!

I rock my old before my time look at The Food Show and borrow my grandmother’s little old lady shopping trolley. Especially when I got with my mum we tend to buy far too much and this helps us get around, for the first little while at least, without having to carry ALL the stuff we have purchased. We usually end up carrying armfuls of stuff back to the car as well as pulling the trolley but it gives us a good start anyway.

  1. Arrive early

The show gets really packed around lunchtime. All the times I have been in the past have been on the weekend and it’s usually utter insanity from 12-2 pm. If you get there early you can have a good head start and have most of the important stuff out of the way before it gets too busy. The doors open at 10am every day that it’s on and as the saying goes the early-bird gets the worm! If you arrive early and have checked out a lot by lunchtime when it gets busy you can park yourself up somewhere with good food, so basically anywhere, refuel, have a bit of a break and then carry on once the crowds die down a bit. This year I am going to go on preview day (Thursday) and I am interested to see how different the size of the crowds will be. I do think it will be better than the weekend though and going on what I’ve heard before if you really hate crowds this may be the best day for you to go.

  1. Stay Hydrated

There are many drinks that you will be offered to sample and many of them will be alcoholic. I stay away from the alcohol now so I can drive home (tiny tummy has a no alcohol limit for driving) but if you are sampling the alcoholic drinks make sure to have some water or other fluid too. I always carry a water bottle with me anyway but I always double check I have one with me for events like this. It’s especially important during the peak times when there’s lots of people around because the exhibition halls get quite warm.

  1. Don’t set a time limit

The first year me and my mum went together we left my little guy with my dad and said we would be back in a couple of hours. Eight hours later we sheepishly walked in the door. If you do only have a couple of hours to spare then be prepared to miss out on a lot of stuff and only hit the exhibitors you really want to see. Set aside all day and then you really can make the most of it. If that’s not enough then get a weekend pass so you really can check everything out!

  1. Don’t set a budget

Every year I think that I’m going to spend a limit of $XX amount and every year, without fail I overshoot my budget. Some may see this as a failure but I see it as a special talent that I have. Give me a budget and I’ll blow it. Honestly though, the special deals and offers are too good to pass up and I use The Food Show as an opportunity to stock up on things that I use and really like such as my baking ingredients since the prices and specials are too good to pass up.

The main thing is to have fun and enjoy it for what it is. Pick your most favourite foodie friend, get prepared with your Nana trolley and go mad. Keep an eye out for new interesting things and pay a visit to the brands you already know and love and let them know how much you enjoy using their products. I have purchased my tickets online the last couple of times I went and it meant I skipped the line and got in really easily. You can pick some up here. (I’ve updated the link for 2017 tickets!)

Have you been to The Food Show before? Is this your first year attending since bariatric surgery? Comment below and let me know. If you see me there come and say hi!

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There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Samantha (@PlanetBakeLife) at 9:03 am

    Love these tips Melissa! We went on a Saturday last year and didn’t find it was too stupidly busy actually. Perhaps we were just lucky? Counting my stars if that’s the case!
    I’m going to brave a Saturday again this year and definitely take my old lady trolley!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:07 am

      I think it really depends on the time of day too, fingers crossed the Saturday is good this year too! I don’t deal with huge crowds well. The trolley is such a lifesaver, I’m looking forward to stocking up again!!

  2. Caffeinated Weka at 9:08 am

    I don’t know what the Auckland Food Show is like but I’m totally over its Wellington counterpart and no longer go (unless I manage to get free tickets). It’s nothing short of chaos and people pushing big strollers up to the tables, assuring them of the stall holder’s full attention while the rest of us try to nip in around the edges at our own peril. I survive with a backpack and my elbows at the ready but it takes a lot more psyching up to make it around the stadium in tact as the event has become too big for its venue.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 6:23 pm

      Oh wow that does not sound enjoyable in the slightest. Even at it’s busiest Auckland is not that bad. It can be hard to get to the tables but that’s usually because there’s heaps of people at them.

  3. Meagan Kerr at 9:48 pm

    I’m heading along this year on the Thursday so hopefully I’ll see you there. I am definitely not going to be having all of the samples, because in other years I’ve found that I’ve gotten too full and then seen something I really want to try and not been able to. I’m going in with my specific eating habits in mind to find things that fit in with those, rather than having a free for all, so I get to taste the things I REALLY want to. Like buffalo mozzerella, that’s always a fave!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 3:11 pm

      I’ll be sure to say hi if I spot you Meagan! Yes I’m going to have to be very selective in terms of what samples I try this year with my teeny tummy. I’m really looking forward to it though I’ve already picked out my outfit for Thursday!

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