Judging at the 2019 Free From Food Awards

Now in their 12th year, the Free From Food Awards celebrate the UK’s very best free from foods.

I’ve been honoured to be involved as a judge in these awards for a number of years. You can read more about how the judging takes place here and also a write up from the Free From Food Awards winner’s celebration party here.

Judging at the Free From Food Awards

In brief, all judging is conducted blind so that judges do not know who the entrants are when tasting the products and with products cooked to the manufacturer’s instructions. Packaging is not shown until after the judges scores have been collected and deliberations on which products to short list have been completed.

This year I was a judge in the pasta and pizza categories (I know, tough job and all that…). As an extra special treat for me this year, I was judging alongside some of my favourite people within the free from community.

Having been involved in these awards for some time, it’s interesting to see how products change; from the nutritional claims on individual products to the growth of the vegan sector.

The winners of the Free From Food Awards will be announced on 20th March 2019. In the meantime, here are my personal top picks from my judging session:

Gluten free pizza – my highlights

White Rabbit Pizzas. Just look at that wonderful gluten free pizza crust! I was impressed with the quality of the base from a shop bought (rather than hand crafted in Italy) pizza.

Come in number 7, you’re miiiine! I loved, loved, loved the flavours of the chorizo and dill combo on this pizza.

gluten free pizza chorizo dill

This is White Rabbit’s Mozzarella Fella; amply laden with bocconcini….no need to add additional toppings to these White Rabbit pizzas, they are already fully loaded.

gluten free white Rabbit pizza

And last but not least, this vegan gluten free pizza also from White Rabbit.

I am a committed cheese fan and, whilst I would happily stop eating meat, I cannot see a time when I would ever give up eating real dairy cheese through choice. But THIS White Rabbit Pizza tasted so good I would happily eat this (vegan cheese included) because the flavour was wonderful and again, very generous & good quality topping on this pizza.

Gluten Free Vegan Pizza White Rabbit

Gluten free pizza – my surprising disappointment

gluten free MS pizza

I’ve seen many posts on social media for the new M&S gluten free pizza so it was a bit of a surprise when – having given my score and comments on this, my least favourite pizza – it turned out to be the M&S gluten free sourdough pizza!

gluten free MS pizza

On the other hand, this pizza is available (currently) in some smaller M&S Simply Food stores. It’s recently appeared in the M&S Simply Food at London Victoria mainline station, for example. So it does give commuters an option of picking up a quick pizza on the way home after a long day in the office.

Gluten free pasta – The Good Buy

A final mention to the Tesco gluten free macaroni. It wasn’t my favourite in terms of taste or texture but what DID impress me was the price.

Tesco gluten free macaroni
We tasted the pastas both with and without oil

This gluten free macaroni is very well priced at £1.25 for 500g.

This is a great buy for budget conscious coeliacs and/or students looking for a store cupboard essential.

The shortlist of entrants to the Free From Food Awards will be announced in mid February. A full list of the categories in these Awards can be found here. You can also follow more coverage of the Awards using the Twitter #FFFA19


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  1. February 1, 2019 / 7:52 pm

    Oh that chorizo was good! The dill I was less certain of, but it didn’t spoil it, which some ‘alternative’ herbs might have. I’d happily eat it again, despite not being GF. Was good to eat Italian (and a bit of Spanish …) with you! 🙂

    • February 1, 2019 / 8:26 pm

      Ha! I’ve spent so long in Eastern Europe I’m firmly in the dill-loving crew. Agreed we need more opportunities to eat Italian food together – perhaps more authentic next time!

  2. Benjamin Keith Richardson
    February 20, 2019 / 4:29 pm

    Hola Sian! We totally agree on the awesomeness of those White Rabbit Pizzas! I featured the same as one of my favourites! Leaving a link!


    As it happens the M&S Pizza is a dismay for me too. I actually bought four of them the week prior to the judging and served them to myself and friends. They were . . . . okay. The best thing about them is their wide availability, but gosh, they need some kind of upgrade. After I applied toppings and herbs and a splash of olive oil they were rather nice but White Rabbit does all that for you and are about the same price.

    • February 20, 2019 / 9:10 pm

      Hello! I actually read your post this morning and was happy to see we have matching taste in gluten free pizza.? Those White Rabbit pizzas are soooo good!

      It’s a strange one with the M&S pizzas…they’re not up to their usual (high) quality standards in my view. It’s also hard to understand how through the product development process, the pizza wasn’t enhanced in taste / flavour and quality of base – and just how it got through tasting sessions. Hopefully they’ll work on it – it is indeed so handy you can find them quite widely.