The world of mindful brands and specialty food & beverage has always held a special place in our hearts, and it’s a big reason why we love attending annual events like Expo East. We get to see old friends, meet new ones, and feel the buzz from new products making the scene.
Baltimore played host last month to Natural Products Expo East 2017 – commonly referred to as Expo East. It’s a 3-day industry blowout showcasing natural, health conscious, and exciting food & lifestyle brands and products.
Ask anyone who attended, and they’ll say that it was a whirlwind weekend. Too many awesome people, tasty treats, and surprising innovations to list them all, but here are some takeaways from our time in the buzzing hive that was the Baltimore Convention Center.
1. The Kids Are Alright.
There was an abundance of thoughtful child-focused products at this year’s Expo, from novel solutions for getting your tots to eat their veggies, to toxin-free functional dishes, to safe-crafted learning toys. For instance, Little twig has been changing the game with naturally made home and body products, and Kidfresh is helping parents provide their kids tasty, healthy meals with a lot less headache and stress!
2. Meat Substitutes Are not Sub Meat
First of all, we probably don’t need to call them “meat substitutes” anymore. Plant-based proteins, bean pressed foods, and chips made from unusual and exotic starches, are all worthy eats in their own right. Folks like Good Seed are further pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with their NEXTY award-winning hempseed burger!
3. Coffee’s Still King
People love coffee, plain and simple. And this year at Expo East, you’d be hard pressed to miss the amazing variety of coffee drink offerings. We’re seeing continued growth in ethically sourced beans and butter infused RTD coffees like Piknic, but there are also exciting surprises like SPARKLING coffee from the likes of Chameleon!
Standing out in the crowd
Of course, the notable challenge amid the vastness of entrepreneurs and products, was in itself, the vastness of entrepreneurs and products. Differentiating and storytelling are undeniably critical in positioning your brand in the cacophony of competitors and peers. Many at the convention did great! Some – better than others. While everyone had fantastic representatives happy to talk at length about the value of their company, it was interesting to see if their materials or websites were able to provide the same passion and interest.
In the end, Expo East was a blast as always, and we left excited (and with full bellies)! Great to see so many companies, big and small, breaking new ground with mindful, healthy ventures!