Eastern exposure

Advocates of conscious capitalism, social change and sustainability venture to Baltimore this month as the natural industry gears up for Natural Products Expo East.

The Baltimore Convention Center will be filled with 23,000-plus members from within the natural industry and a record number of exhibitors for the Natural Products Expo East trade show. From Sept. 25 to 28, Expo East serves as a microcosm of the healthy lifestyle market across all channels and categories including organisahalec, functional and specialty foods and beverages, supplements, beauty and pet.

“This year for Expo East, we have created a theme of education around conscious capitalism,” says Adam Andersen, Natural Products group show director. “Our keynote speaker is Dr. Raj Sisodia, who co-authored a book with John Mackey of Whole Foods titled Conscious Capitalism,” Dr. Raj Sisodia, a global leader in the Conscious Capitalism movement, will speak to a business approach that yields not only a successful enterprise but also a meaningful vocation and potential for social change.

The show will also mark the debut of the NEXT Accelerator program, a “product-to-shelf” workshop featuring fundraising, manufacturing, distribution, branding, sales and marketing topics. It is because of programs and speakers like these, that the natural, organic and healthy living trade event is considered a “must-attend” show for retailers, buyers, manufacturers, distributors and more.

Here is a brief glimpse at what can be seen on the show floor:

Ian’s Natural Foods Booth #126
Ian’s Natural Foods, based in Framingham, Mass., will be hosting The Allergy Friendly Foods Forum, an educational seminar that will address the prevalence of food allergens and what the natural foods industry is doing about it, while disproving myths and spreading awareness about these issues.

“This event is the first of its kind and we’re excited to invite media, customers, distributors, vendors and retailers to check it out,” says Chuck Marble, CEO of Elevation Brands, Ian’s parent company. “Expo East is a great congregation of members of the natural industry and we think it’s a great platform for this forum. One out of 13 children have food allergies and 12 million Americans have food allergies today.”

The forum will take place on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Baltimore Convention Center from 2-4 p.m. It will begin with a panel of experts on food allergies including Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, a pediatric allergist for Harvard Vanguard Associates, Tom Grace, CEO of Bia Diagnostics and a leader in food allergen safety, Tricia Thompson, MS, RD a nutrition consultant, researcher and writer, and Sloane Miller of Allergic Girl Resources, who is a licensed social worker, food allergy advocate, author and life coach.

“After the panel concludes, we’ll have sponsors from the food and pharmaceutical industries available to speak with attendees about the different allergy friendly products and brands they represent,” Marble adds. “We really look forward to sharing some knowledge and creating a strong awareness around allergy friendly foods.”

Sahale Snacks Booth #206
Sahale Snacks will be introducing its new Grab & Go line in four varieties: California Almonds + Sea Salt; Classic Fruit + Nut Blend; Almonds with Cranberries; Honey + Sea Salt; and Cashews with Pomegranate + Vanilla. Officials for the Seattle-based company say these are healthier options at point-of-purchase. The 1.5-ounce bags offer portion control and have an SRP between $1.49 and $1.79.

“It’s the first time we’ve had products like this available out in the market,” says Erika Cottrell, vice president of marketing. “We knew our consumers were putting us in their bags and we’ve made it that much easier for them. It’s a really handy way to throw a snack in your purse or backpack and bring it wherever life takes you that day and always have your Sahale Snacks available.”

In addition to the Grab & Go line, Sahale Snacks will be featuring their line of Premium Blends, which was introduced earlier in the year.

Crunchies Food Co. Booth #220
In March, Crunchies Food Co. introduced the Little Crunchies line for children ages one through eight. After receiving valuable feedback from key accounts and focus groups, the company officials decided to fill the pouches with organic fruit. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based company will be shipping the organic Little Crunchies pouches in late September in four freeze-dried fruit flavors: Strawberries, Strawberries & Bananas, Strawberries & Mangoes and Apples & Bananas. They will be available in resealable 1-ounce bags and a variety box with five 0.33-ounce Munch Paks.

Crunchies will also be launching new items in the Grab-n-Go Veggie line. “At Expo West, we discussed the completion of our Veggie line,” says Jessi Brennan, director of marketing. “Since then, we have started shipping our brand new BBQ Roasted Veggies and the Buttered Sweet Corn. We are excited to launch the rest of the Grab-n-Go Veggie line which includes Lightly Salted Sugar Snap Peas with Sea Salt, Herbed Spiced Power Veggie and a Buttered Power Veggie mix.”

Glutino Booth #514
This past year Glutino launched several products in the breakfast category, including Toaster Pastries and a gluten-free instant Pancake Mix. The Toaster Pastries come in two flavors—apple cinnamon and strawberry—and are fully baked and ready to eat. The instant mix offers convenience in an easily portable bottle, only requires a cup of water, and once opened, it keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days. In addition, the “just add water” baking concept offers added safety, as it alleviates the contamination risks for gluten-free eaters, say officials for the Boulder, Colo.-based company.

“Our goal is to continually show retailers and consumers that gluten-free doesn’t mean going without, but rather living fully,” says Laura Kuykendall, director of marketing. “Our products really epitomize that.”

GO Veggie! Galaxy Nutritional Foods Booth #608
“Today under Galaxy’s new brand GO Veggie!, we continue to innovate and offer consumers with food sensitivities and those seeking healthier alternatives more cheese-free choices,” says Jamie Schapiro, director of marketing for the North Kingstown, R.I.-based company.

GO Veggie! will be sampling cheese free recipes developed by brand ambassador Amie Valpone. The recipes will feature three of its newest products, including Dairy Free Vegan Cream Cheese in Strawberry, Dairy Free Vegan Shreds in Mozzarella and Dairy Free Vegan Grated Parmesan topping. “GO Veggie!’s original Dairy Free, Vegan Cream Cheese flavors—Plain and Garlic Chive—had been very well received in the marketplace so we decided to launch a new flavor this year: Strawberry. As the best selling conventional cream cheese flavor, we suspected it would do well among the non-cheese consumer set and the response has been fantastic,” Schapiro adds.

Mediterranean Snack Food Co. Booth #740
The newest innovation from the Mediterranean Snack Food Co. is tapaz2go, a convenient, gluten-free, mini-meal solution. It combines a single serve pouch of Mediterranean Snacks’ Lentil Crackers with a substantial portion of roasted garlic, red pepper or classic hummus in a portable, hand-held tray.

“In addition to having the official gluten-free certification from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, the other real point of difference is that our snacks deliver on all three critical consumer needs in healthy snacking: nutrition, taste and satiation,” says Lonnie Willard, vice president, marketing for the Boonton, N.J.-based company. “Many of our snacks are Non-GMO Project Verified, and all our products are vegetarian friendly too, which many health conscious consumers are looking for these days.”

Partners Booth #855partners
Partners will be unveiling its first foray into the gluten-free category. “Three years in the baking, our new Free for All Kitchen crackers are made from cassava root flour and a blend of five ancient grains, including amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum and teff,” says Cara Figgins, executive vice president for the Kent, Wash.-based company. “When studying the marketplace, we recognized the need for a great entertaining style cracker in the gluten-free cracker.”

The ancient grain crackers are available in three flavors: Roasted Garlic & Rosemary, Olive Oil & Sea Salt and Olive Oil & Herb. Partners will be launching all three flavors in three different varieties: 5-ounce cartons in a snack cracker cut, 5-ounce deli trays in an hors d’oeuvre cut and 0.75-ounce individual snack packs in a small snack cracker cut.

Hodgson Mill Booth #914
An alternative to white rice or pasta, the new Hodgson Mill Quinoa & Brown Rice uses organic quinoa and all natural seasonings with five grams of protein and two grams of fiber per serving. Hodgson Mill’s Quinoa & Brown Rice is low in sodium with no more than 90 grams and available in five varieties: Italian, Mediterranean, Spicy, Lemon Pepper and Garlic and Herb. The line is certified Kosher and packaged in a gluten-free facility so consumers can feel confident it conforms to the highest food standards in the country, say officials for the Effingham, Ill.-based company.

“They are packed six to a case and come in a shelf ready display case. The pouches are gusseted to allow them to merchandise as individual stand-ups as well,” adds Ray Martin, vice president of marketing and sales. Company officials will also be discussing the fact that their product line now includes 86 Non-GMO Project Verified items.

Pamela’s Products Booth #1309
In 2013, Pamela’s Products celebrates 25 years in the gluten-free and natural food industry making gluten-free baking mixes, cookies, biscotti and snack bars.

“At Expo East, we plan to celebrate Pamela’s birthday with a limited edition 25th birthday cookie, our new Figgies & Jammies fig bar cookies and talk about the growing success and expectations for Pamela’s brand in the coming year,” says Jen Ramstad, director of marketing for the Ukiah, Calif.-based company. “Our new Gluten-Free Figgies & Jammies fig bar cookies are made with real fruit, all wrapped up in a moist and tender crust and available in four delicious flavors: Mission Fig, Strawberry, Raspberry and Raisin.”

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Booth #3617
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, has created a special agitprop label for its quart-size liquid soaps in support of GMO labeling and the Washington state voter initiative to label GMOs, Yes on I-522 “The Washington Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.”

“The goal of our special ‘GMO Info’ label is to educate the public on the importance of mandatory GMO labeling, and encourage everyone to educate, donate, volunteer and become involved at both the state and national levels in the growing movement to label genetically engineered foods,” says David Bronner, president of the Escondido, Calif.-based company. “In America, we have the right to information about the foods we buy and consume: sodium and fat levels, whether flavors and additives are artificial, whether salmon is wild or farm-raised, what country a food comes from. We should also know if food is genetically engineered to make informed decisions about what we eat and feed our families.”

Dr. Bronner’s will be connecting with the retail community, discussing the new label and the efforts behind it. “We’re organizing end-caps in stores to feature the label and connect with consumers,” Bronner adds.

Desert Essence Booth #4218
Desert Essence will feature its new Age Reversal line to Expo East attendees. The line’s Renewing Gel Cleanser, Rejuvenating Face Serum and Revitalizing Eye Serum contain an exclusive blend of agave cactus, peptides and fruit extracts to help reduce signs of aging. In addition to the Age Reversal products, Desert Essence will be presenting its new Whitening Plus and Ultra Care dental care products.

“Increasingly, the natural market is looking for solutions akin to what they’ve seen in their drugstores or supermarket. Consumers are looking for natural products that work just as well if not better than non-natural products. They want products that help to provide solutions to more sophisticated dental care problems, like whitening and overall mouth and gum health,” says Wendy Lucas, general manager for the Hauppauge, N.Y.-based company.

derma e Booth #4415
derma e will be introducing its Vitamin E Intensive Therapy Bodycare line. Full-spectrum vitamin E is able to restore and maintain skin’s natural barrier function, helping it regain its natural ability to lock in moisture and defend itself against elemental stress, say officials for the Simi Valley, Calif.-based company. Sourced from cranberry seed and sustainably harvested red palm oil, the Intensive Therapy Bodycare line is designed to provide more complete vitamin E antioxidant benefits. The line is 100% vegan and cruelty-, paraben-, gluten-, GMO-, phthalate-, petrolatum- and lanolin-free. It includes a rich Body Balm naturally-scented with lavender and neroli, a Body Lotion in the same fragrance as well as a fragrance-free variety and a Hand Crème.

“These are the main shows for our industry and the best opportunity for our client base,” says Gina Ferrato, vice president of natural sales. “Presence and exposure to the retailers in attendance is crucial, but it’s not about taking orders. It’s about showing retailers that we are here to support them.”

King Bio Booth #5630
King Bio is featuring its Skin Tag formula along with the new Natural Pet Formulas. “Our new packaging and reformulation of our Natural Pet Productions line has caught the attention of major retailers across the country,” says David Gerhardt, executive vice president of the Asheville, N.C.-based company. “Consumers are requesting more natural and organic choices for their pets’ health. Natural Pet offers choices for dogs and cats that fit today’s needs including stress, anxiety and separation issues, bone and joint, weight management, skin and itch, allergies, urinary tract and much more.”

King Bio offers products for a variety of conditions that are formulated with key ingredients in a convenient spray form for quick relief and on-the-go situations. The company will be offering 25% discount during the show and through the month of October on all King Bio and Aqua Flora products.

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