Get ready, get set, GO gluten-free! Or at least that’s what I took away from visiting the trade show floor of Natural Foods Expo East this past weekend in Baltimore. Literally, every other company was showcasing either a reformulation of a former non-gluten-free product OR a new gluten-free product line. It was ridiculous how much food sampling I did as a result of this trend. Though I’m sure my tummy wasn’t to happy with all the eggs and dairy found in some of the products, I wanted to do my fair share of reporting to you that the food product industry is definitely paying the GF tribe some serious attention.
Whether you like it or not, everyone is cashing in. Gluten-free is big business these days which means that you and I will have many more options at the table in the coming months. Though there are ups and downs to each of these options, one thing is for sure – we’ve got the buying power to now dictate what we WANT to see on the market shelves. So if you want to see your local grocery carrying a new line or company, ask. Your wish probably has a better chance of being heard in the coming months and year than any time in the past.
AND I got to catch up with some really love GF ladies in the industry that are blazing trails for all of us out there: Jules Shepard of Jules Gluten Free , Amy Valpone of The Healthy Apple and Easy Eats Magazine, Elizabeth Stein of Purely Elizabeth, and Jill Brack of Glow Gluten Free. Please check them out and send them some love by following what they’re up to!
I’m sure you would love to see some photos from the show, but sadly show regulations prohibit photography and video without expressed consent. So sadly I don’t have photos to share. But what I do have are several cool things to tell you about that really blew my mind! Some options that I’d consider healthy and others that are definitely more in the ‘dessert’ realm, but either way, they’re worth checking out.
Here’s my food highlights of the show:
Single Servings, Please
San-J (maker of some awesome Asian products) offers it’s famous wheat-free tamari in single serving travel packets which you’ll be able to carry with you in your handbag. Absolutely perfect for using when you’re out to sushi since you can’t EVER expect the restaurant to have something other than soy sauce.
Nibmor Vegan Chocolates launched their new individual serving sizes of a 72% vegan (yes, it’s dairy-free) cocoa square that’s the perfect size for your daily indulgence. You’ll start to see these lovely dark square show up in stores near you in October.
Real Salt sea salt will be offering a cool vial filled with their wonderful salty goodness for easy tot-along in either your pocket or handbag. Simple to use, you’ll never have to depend on the gross table salt to get your much needed minerals in as you eat.
Did you say Dessert?
Extreme Health USA offers a absolutely fabulous line of dried fruits covered in chocolate. I flipped for their Dark Chocolate covered Golden Berries. If you’ve never had a golden berry, it’s quite a fabulous experience. Considered a ‘super food’, gold berries are a lovely blend of sweet and tart while packing a nice load of carotene and bioflavonoids (vitamin P) along with Vitamins A and C.
A new cookie company that I stumbled across on the last day is the Wow Baking Co. based in Washington state. Although the woman I spoke to wasn’t confident that the cookies she still had would be in their best shape to eat (since they do bake everything fresh and normally keep them cold), their Oregon Oatmeal cookie was a huge hit! Wow is right!! Both myself and my husband (the gluten eater of my household) loved this cookie. Neither of us would have guessed that it is both wheat and gluten free! Wishing now that I’m home, I’d grabbed some more and looking forward to trying the other options!
Late July Organic Snacks is conscious company that creates some really incredible products. I had thepleasure of tasting their Blue Corn chips and the Sea Salt at the Seashore multigrain chips. Both were filled with taste because of their commitment to providing customers with the best organic ingredients out there. These chips are “certified gluten free, peanut/tree nut free and give 10% of profits to the American Camp Association for summer camp scholarships for kids in need!”
Mama Jess is a sauce company based in Chicago that’s putting out some really wonderful products! All are naturally gluten-free (since Mama Jess loves to focus on using only REAL food) and capture some really wonderful taste. My fav from the show is her all-new spicy mexican inspired sauce which is coming out soon! Stay tuned to learn more about her other pasta sauces…sooooo good!
Selina Naturally blew my affair with sea salt wide open with their new Organic Applewood Smoked Sea Salt. An incredibly intense new dimension to the traditional sea salt flavor, the smoked sea salt has hints of that smoky goodness that reminded me of bacon. Perfect for vegans or vegetarians looking to reminisce without the meat or for anyone who wants to seriously bump up the flavor of a meal, check this out at your local grocer.
Simpli offers two different products, gluten free instant oatmeal which they’ve gone through quite a bit of trouble to insure that you’ve got a safe gluten free meal on your hands. The instant oatmeals are lovely, though I prefer the plain oats to which you can sweeten on your own (to keep the sugar content down). They come in single serving packets (remember, I said that was a big deal at this trade show).