Attending my first Natural Products Expo East (#expoeast) last week in Baltimore, MD was overwhelming! So many new natural food products and so many vendors. Angie’s Kettle Corn, Enjoy Life Foods, Divvies, Indie Candy, Mediterranean Snack Food Company, World Peas (contains dairy, but how can one not love the name!) and of course, how could I not mention my own nabes, the Blue Ribbon Restaurant’s own chicken nuggets called Naked Nuggets (free of bread and just plain good!). Finally, the most exciting food find for me (not my child because it has pea protein and mustard) was a SOY FREE (yep ya read that right!) Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart which I didn’t try while there (I didn’t have safe crackers with me). As a person who has not had mayo for about 10 years, this is very exciting food find and one I would not normally ever look for at the store.

Trending at the show were Chia seeds, non-GMO, Pea Protein, Coconut Oil and Gluten-Free. While I definitely appreciate gluten-free – as a gluten-free, wheat-free person, I caution my allergic child, and friends against using the Gluten-free label as a “oh relax, it’s gluten free it MUST be allergen-free”. So, I’ll say it again, gluten-free does NOT mean allergen-free. Read all labels my friends. A number of food manufacturers use shared facilities with other food companies that use top 8 allergens. Those who have their own facility often are sourcing from vendors who also may be sharing facilities. Unfortunately, in this instance, one size may not fit all, so it is up to us, and check with our Doctor if you’re confused by them, to decide what may be safe in terms of shared facility allergens.

Overall, Natural Products Expo East was great show, but I felt as though I needed a few more days to drink (or eat!) it all in. There’s always next year…

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