Last year I wrote about my yearly pilgrimage to Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. I usually have a blast snacking and sampling through the never-ending rows of new healthy products. But this year I was feeling beyond exhausted and overwhelmed. Maybe it was because I had a three-month-old baby at home and was trying to manually pump in public bathrooms or maybe I was just over the annoyances of the Baltimore Convention Center (miles of one-ounce samples but nothing available for lunch but hot dogs, being chased around and forced to check and uncheck all bags, being herded back and forth in search of my badge).
I didn’t even make it to the annual meet-up with my green blogging colleagues. But on the plus side, I did discover some very cool new natural items and got a heads up on the industry trends.
1) Water, water everywhere – but not a drop from the springs. There seems to be a growing trend of sourcing water from other natural resources. Coconuts, of course. But also aloe and even maple trees. Could come in handy if our regular water sources ever dry up – or get totally polluted.
2) Apparently you can make anything from coconuts and corn. Dried, freezed, juiced, and turned into chips, pretzels, and all sorts of other snacks.
3) Everyone was boasting Non-GMO status this year. Even if they weren’t certified organic. In fact I spoke with many brands who were not organic but made non-GMO their biggest selling point.
4) As usual, gluten-free and dairy-free were everywhere. Allergy sufferers could rejoice in enough delicious allergy-safe food to dine for ages.
5) Probiotic beauty is emerging. I had read about a few companies using active probiotics for skin care. But I wasn’t able to actually take any sample with me because they required refrigeration. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more about this one.
I’m in the process of sampling with the most picky of customers, my four-year-old. I am all for getting in hidden veggies anyway we can, and so far he is a fan of Bitsy’s Brainfood, Plum Organics, and Wave Bars. Others did not fare as well.
Did you go to #ExpoEast? What did you think?