A recap of Expo East 2018 and an evaluation of the top product trends present amongst this years exhibitors. Plus, my picks for favorite products out of everything I sampled and brought home!
Up at 3am.
Taxi to the airport at 4:15.
Flight at 6:05.
Arrive in Baltimore at 7:05.
Uber to the convention center.
Doors open for Expo East at 9:30.
Spend 5 hours walking around the various show floors.
Uber back to the airport by 3pm.
Flight to Buffalo at 4:25.
Arrive back home at 6:30.
Needless to say my day at Expo East was LONG and tiring. But as always, it was full of incredible fun, delicious food, and new friends from companies all throughout the healthy living industry.
This year was especially amazing because I got to meet one of my longtime blogger friends, Erica, from Erica Finds!
Erica and I have been “blogger buds” for years and we always both go to Expo East but always end of juuuuust missing each other due to crazy schedules during the day I go. But this year, we MADE it happen. Since I got in so early, even before the Expo doors even opened, we met at a Starbucks and were able to meet and chat for a whole hour before heading over to the convention center. It was so nice to catch up and give each other IRL hugs. She’s as nice in person as she is online and so beautiful too!
Once we went our separate ways, it was time for me to get going around the Expo. I started in the new product halls and then made my way to the main expo floors. Along the way, I saw many old friends and met a ton of new ones as well.
First up, I’ll share my entire haul from Expo East and then get into the details of trends and my FAVORITES from the show!
And now to get into the trends I noticed after making my way through the entire show…
KETO products | Paleo was the “it” diet of last year’s conference, but this year EVERYTHING catered to Keto. Low (or NO) carb products with extremely high fat levels.
Collagen in everything | Tons of new collagen based products and a lot of old products revamped with the addition of collagen in their ingredients. Everything from bars and protein powders to creamers and oatmeal.
Hemp and CBD infusions | Hemp and CBD are the new BUZZWORDS of the food industry. Companies are adding it to chocolate, protein bars, coffee, protein powder…even WATER. While the science is still out on the actual benefits, this trend is here to stay we will certainly continue to see a lot more CBD infused products out on the market in the coming year.
Matcha flavored products | Matcha not only as a drink anymore but as a flavor! For protein bars, for baked goods, for protein powders, and even for pasta sauces.
Cricket protein | Move over whey and pea protein, cricket protein is the new protein gaining popularity amongst health enthusiasts and it’s being used in everything from bars and protein powders to crunchy snacks that are meant to replace chips and nuts.
Legume-based snacks | Ever since Enlightened came out with their roasted broad beans, it seems like everyone has jumped on the legume based snack products! At this year’s expo, I saw roasted split green peas, lentils, edamame, bean-based chips, bean-based puffs, and so much more. I think legumes are a great, protein-packed alternative to chips, crackers, nuts, and other traditional snack options, so I am all for this trend.
Probiotic boosters | Similarly to CBD and collagen, probiotics are being infused into EVERYTHING. Oatmeal, water, granola bars…you name it, companies are putting probiotics into it for a marketing edge.
Veggie infused products | This is mostly a trend I saw with snack products. Companies are adding vegetables into products like granola and protein bars, cookies, crackers, and chips. It definitely helps them market their products as having x amount of a serving of vegetables in them, but as always, you’re better off eating vegetables in their natural state to get those nutrients in.
Here are my personal favorite products that I tried at the expo…
Favorite New Products
EXO Crispy Taco Flavored Whole Roasted Crickets (don’t knock ’em till you try ’em!)
Bonus feature: Companies That GIVE BACK
I love featuring companies that go the extra mile with their business model and make and effort to truly give back to the communities they serve.
I was so excited to meet the “Kize Guys” and hear more about their amazing business philosophy that every business should be offering to help YOU and others…at the same time. And that’s exactly what Kize does. Not only do their bars ROCK (cookie dough legit tastes like freshly made cookie dough!), but they also give part of their yearly profits to an organization called With All My Heart that takes care of underprivileged orphans in Haiti. In addition, the whole team takes a trip down to Haiti each year to donate their time and energy to volunteering with the orphans as well.
The concept behind this company is as simple as the name. For every bar bought, a life saving meal is given to a child in need. The company focuses on Haiti and regions in the Horn of Africa, two areas with some of the highest rates of child malnourishment in the world. From their website, the company shows exactly how your purchase is impacting communities globally and allows you stay involved with families you’re supporting.
I’ve worked with The Soulfull Project in the past and the work they do continues to inspire me. For every serving of their hot cereals that is purchased, the company provides a serving a regional food bank in YOUR area. So by purchasing their products you’re giving back to your own community! They are nearing 1 million servings donated and should reach that goal by the end of 2018. So cool!
I’ve been a huge fan of Crazy Richard’s since they first were founded and am actually great friends the owner, Kimmi! This year, instead of bringing samples to Expo East, the company donated all the product they would have brought with them to food banks all around the country. So all the money they would have spent on packing and shipping the products to and from the Expo instead went straight to people in need. Love that!
Have you ever gone to Expo East?
What products are you most excited to try?
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