Showing posts with label Expo West. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Expo West. Show all posts

Friday, March 20, 2015

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Hosts 70K Smilers

Attending Expo West was a highly awaited year long promoted event. Therefore, you don't just stroll through without a plan at a massive industry natural products trade show such as Expo West. This year it held over 70,000 attendees whom all seek the same mission - introducing, seeking or analyzing manufacturers, services and/or networking with leading natural industry professionals. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Search For Gluten-Free At Expo West Food Show

It's officially butterfly in the stomach time. I'm soooooooo excited for the biggest natural food trade show of the year, Expo West in California this week! This is not your ordinary food show as this is for business professionals within the organic, non GMO, gluten-free, vegan and sustainable manufacturers, distributors, brokers and supply chain that cover various categories from food, beverage, vitamins, supplements and services, too.  Most brands in your traditional grocery store cannot attend this trade show, as they contain distributing GMO ingredients, lack any form of sustainable footprint and do not care about overall healthy missions, just profits #Truth. 

Each year there are more gluten-free vendors, but some still claim "naturally gluten-'free" without verifying their product to any degree. Ugh it's annoying, but I probe deep enough to find the truth.  Remember, gluten-free has only one meaning; gluten-free ingredients and no cross contamination. This requires each brand/manufacturer to (a) obtain a full certification that includes inspecting the entire manufacturing facility, supply chain for all ingredients and testing the final product (b) batch testing the final product regularly through 3rd party laboratories to be sure the food, beverage and/or beauty product exceeds the FDA gluten-free labeling threshold for those with Celiac Disease


I'll have my eyes open and big ears out for gluten-free goodies. I do not sample products until I learn about the brand, inspect each brand's booth for cross contamination and find their team to be genuinely interested to share and meet with me. Sometimes trade show vendors are too excited and they look to hard for what's under their nose. This year my plans is extra focussed to support those who provide innovative, trending gluten-free products and call out those who do it wrong! Shame on you may re-appear post show. 

EXPO WEST VENDORS: Let's meet and discuss your gluten-free products. Email me anytime to meet up for sampling, interviews, and sharing your verified gluten-free and allergen free products. Be sure to find me on @GlutenFreeG on Twitter

EXPO WEST ATTENDEES: If you're a blogger, buyer, marketer, or gluten-free expert email me to get together to catch up at the show as well. I'm sure we can find ways to keep busy! Find me on @GlutenFreeG on Twitter. 


Friday, March 14, 2014

Expo West 2014, Increase In Certified Gluten-Free But Not Majority


I spent the past weekend attending the largest natural products food and beverage trade show in the USA if not the world. This show is probably 3x as big as Expo East was in Baltimore recently. It was an eventful show that shed light on new ingredient trends and a deeper analysis from my Celiac point of view. I spent time with Steve Distefano from, a gluten-free and allergen friendly shopping store and retail health food store on Long Island, NY unlike any other with the highest gluten free standards, kudos!


Gluten-free products were everywhere at EXPO WEST 2014. Many new products have obtained gluten-free certifications, self label, but still many didn't and therefore their labes were not justified to be safe for gluten-free consumers. Since neither the FDA nor other food governing leaders regulate and police gluten-free claims, brands continue to label without 3rd party certification, choose to self test at their own discretion or neither which is dangerous. The lack of gluten-free policing continues to effect the health of innocent gluten-free consumers, an outcry for public health decency. It's in all of our best interest to not trust gluten-free labels without conducting ample research... Continue supporting brands that have gluten-free certification or provide transparency into gluten-free claims (not all companies want to pay for certification but still can prove to consumer that they are gluten-free). Ask brands  if they test for at least the FDA guideline <20 ppm, but preferably <10 ppm or preferably <5ppm before purchasing. 



My first press privilege was to vote for my top 3 products out of over 50 that were featured in this innovation category, Best of West. Since many of these had gluten and those that were gluten-free were not certified, my vote was narrowed. Pamela's Products' Figgies & Jammies in my opinion had the best combination of fun packaging, delicious taste, innovation in category along with commitment to gluten-free via gluten-free certification.


  • Giving Back - More brands show support to countries who make their product or hire victims of human trafficking, donating water, food to these foreign communities instead of donating % of profits. 
  • Water - Cactus and aloe break into the scene. Maple water seeking national distribution and  coconut waters expand into new pulps and flavors like lemonade
  • Milk - Algae, corn, flax milks should be added to your non dairy rotation
  • Plant Protein - Whey protein manufacturers now offer plant based, also.  As Vegan enters mainstream the natural food market innovators grow by demand.
  • Chips - Lots of chips and popcorn continue to break into the scene. Will all of these organic and non GMO brands survive?
  • Bars - Even more than chips, there are countless raw, plant, fruit, chia and even cricket bars. It's clear now which have too many added "natural" sugars and which are gluten-free, and allergen friendly with taste. 
  • Shapes & Flavors - Often products are launching new shape, textures and flavor combinations in unexpected categories. Re-inventing the chip, for example, is something I would support especially the ingredient base to be more healthy while being tasty and hold dips and salsas without breaking.
  • Nutrients - The gluten-free market was notorious for high sugar and/or calories without iron, omegas and other key nutrients and minerals. Brands felt pressure to match their gluten counterpart which typically was a lot of crap food to sell products to new gluten-free consumers who were dependent.  I noticed an effort to properly pack proper fiber, sugar, carbs, and protein more responsibly into food and beverages with alternative grains and natural fruits, flax, chia, quinoa, amaranth without added sugar, but there needs to be a lot more effort.... I have a few suggestions :)
  • Gluten-Free Labeling - Few companies choose to "certify" but when they do they are very proud of it... and few do their own gluten ppm batch testing and have the transparency behind their self labeling. But if I had to guess the total legit gluten-free safe products on the market that label their packaging remains < 30% safe for gluten-free consumers, not good! 


  • Where Were Farm Fresh Fruits & Vegetables? All of these brands source their ingredients from farms all over the world and local, but I didn't see any of them at the show or I missed their booths.
  • Lack of Gluten-Free Accountability - It's still a non regulated disaster since FDA has not passed any binding laws and won't be policing brands to protect consumers.  Even at this show which is one of few Celiac and gluten-free consumer's only hope for the future there are still giant obstacles to face for true regulation in the USA food and beverage industry.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Expo West 2014 Is Finally Here


This is my first Expo West, but certainly not my first rodeo. My goals are to leave nothing behind, schedule meetings with innovative Celiac friendly gluten-free brands and people with the same mission, taste some treats, exchange biz cards, hydrate along the way and support those who stand beside us in our 100% gluten-free movement.

WHAT IS THIS FOOD SHOW ALL ABOUT? This is no ordinary food trade show... It's over flowing with trail blazers, pioneers and the calvary are here and we're not going away anytime soon. It's the initiatives of these incredible individuals that continue to bring YOU the products that are focussed on your health and taste simultaneously, challenge the status quo and re-shape the food and beverage marketplaces not only in the USA but around the world for a smarter and healthier tomorrow.  

LEGIT NATURAL BRANDS: There are countless gluten-free brands, most are legit and those who are not we will analyze. For the rest of the time my comfortable shoes, skinny jeans, button down and bacpack will enable me to navigate the never ending trade show floor and speaking events...  For those who don't know what Expo West is all about... this is where the greatest and most innovative natural food and beverage brands, people, products and services unite for business leadership forward. This is the holy grail my friends. Anyone and everyone who prides themselves on offering alternative to main stream food and beverages seek to be in here for new distribution, brokers, retailers, marketers, health practitioners and the rest of the supply chain, indeed.

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