This article was created in collaboration with Free’ist.Free’ist are sponsoring the ‘Best Free From & Illness Recovery’ blog category in this year’s Health Blog Awards, hosted by That Protein and the HBC. Get tickets to the ceremony here.

What is the core ethos of Free’ist?

The idea for our brand name Free’ist came from the word freest which means the ‘most free’ and that’s what we are essentially about.

We want to be the brand offering consumers the best choice of sugar-free and low sugar tasty treats that they can enjoy. Our mission is to give customers delicious sugar alternatives without compromising on taste.

Why did you launch a sugar-free range of products?

We spotted a gap in the market in Ireland, there was a growing demand for sugar-free and low sugar products, however, there was a distinct lack of products on offer for consumers. The limited offering that was available didn’t taste great. So after a lot of market research with consumers and retailers, we decided to fill the gap and launch a range of scrumptious sugar-free and no added sugar treats.  Our aim was to provide consumers with alternative choices to sugar laden snacks that also tasted great.

Why do you think there is a growing demand for sugar-free products in the UK?

There has been growing demand for more sugar-free products in the UK as consumers are becoming more aware of the impacts of too much sugar consumption. They are more conscious of hidden sugars and its dangers regarding weight gain, tooth decay and increased risk of diabetes.

The media and celebrities have helped highlight the benefits of reducing our sugar intake. This, combined with the work the government is doing regarding a sugar tax on soft drinks, and the World Health Organisation’s recommendation to reduce our sugar consumption by 50%, has brought awareness about sugar intake to the forefront of consumers’ minds.  

Consumers are also more focused on their general health and wellbeing and are now actively seeking out sugar-free and low sugar options to replace the sugary foods they previously used to buy.  The Free’ist aim is for consumers to swap out some of these sugary foods with no impact on great taste. It’s a Win/Win!

How do you respond to people who say that ‘free-from’ options tend to be unhealthy or bland?

For people to say that ‘free from’ options are unhealthy or bland is a bit short sighted. I think the free-from category has developed, innovated and evolved massively, particularly over the last couple of years.  

There are more choices, innovation, and great tasting products than there has ever been. The fact that leading brands are launching free-from options shows this is not just a niche category, and that it will become more mainstream.  

There is still room for improvements to be made, but I think there are some great tasting and healthier options currently available. Our Free’ist Sugar Free Caramel Crunch Popcorn won a gold award at the Irish Blas Na hEireann Food awards, which proves this point.

How do you ensure your products don’t compromise on flavour as a result of being sugar free?

Flavour is at the heart of everything that Free’ist is about: it is something we don’t compromise on.  We have strong quality control measures in place and work with the best partners to source top quality ingredients to ensure we are delivering great tasting products every time.

“Flavour is at the heart of everything that Free’ist is about: it is something we don’t compromise on.”

Why have you chosen to sponsor the ’Free-From’ Category in the Health Blog Awards?

The ‘free-from’ category in retail is booming, growing each year and on track to break the £1 billion mark by 2020.  There is a lot of buzz about the category with more and more space given to free from in store.  However, there is also a lot more of a buzz online with some excellent bloggers out there creating great free-from content. At Free’ist, we are passionate about free-from and we wanted to show our support for all free-from bloggers out there. We felt that the Health Blog Awards is a great platform to do this.

Don’t forget to grab your ticket to the ceremony – the biggest celebration of health blogging talent in the UK!