Expo East 2018
Another Friday, another Friday Favorites coming right at you. This week I’m going to talk a little more about Expo East, my experience, and some trends I found. I promise I will be doing a post soon with all of my favorite products. My kitchen table is still a disaster right now with food samples everywhere. I plan on organizing it this weekend, taking some photos, and then distributing the food to some friends (you’re welcome in advance). Thank goodness Bode doesn’t jump up on the table otherwise I’d have to clean this stuff up…wait, maybe that would be better motivation.
I digress, the cool thing about Expo is that everyone there has a role in the food & health business and is down to talk about all things food. I mean, it’s pretty much my ideal situation. Eat food, talk about food, drink some cold brew, talk about more food, rinse, repeat.
The reason I decided to go this year was that I wanted to find out what new trends were happening in the food world.
I was lucky this year to be apart of the Influencer Summit. I rarely feel like I’m an influencer especially because my social following is nothing to write home about, and I’ve yet to utilise a service like upleap.com. What I do have is education, experience, and a (sassy) voice. I want to make a difference and hope that by putting myself out there I will.
That’s what the influencer summit was all about. There were multiple speakers, some good, some not-so-good. However, it was nice to be a part of a group of individuals who want to make a difference. The day was short, however, and hard to meet anyone outside our table. The good news is I met some amazing ladies, check them out here:
While I’m super glad I met these sassy af ladies, I wish we had more time to get to know others in our field. I would’ve especially liked a dietitian/nutritionist specific chat where we could’ve shared with each other how to navigate the world of working with brands while also being a health care provider. I guess there’s always next year.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what I did besides talk to people and eat food all day long. While I definitely did that, I also scoped out some new trends in the food industry. It’s nice knowing what’s out there as well as what’s coming soon. Unfortunately, Albany seems to be late to the game as far as new food items go, but hey, it’s good to know, maybe I can have some influence on the community to get the food here sooner, fingers crossed.
Amazing #sassyapproved trends:
Not all trends were necessary ones I loved or agreed with, but these were ones that had me far more excited than a normal person would be at a food expo. Here are some of my favorit food trends:
- Cold brew everything. While cold brew has been growing in popularity the past year or so, it is now in EVERYTHING. I love cold brew because it isn’t as bitter as coffee, but it’s strong in caffeine and taste.
Early favorite(s): Chameleon Cold Brew & Rise Brewing
- Kombucha in cans. I mean kombucha itself was a huge trend but now kombucha is being put in cans and I love it because it’s far more convenient AND at a more reasonable serving size for most.
Early favorite: Brew Dr. Kombucha,
- Unsweetened beverage options. I love this because so many people want something other than water to hydrate with, and companies are realizing their higher sugar beverages are suffering.
Early favorite: Sound Tea
- Nut/seed butter with minimal added sugars. I mean, I’m a sucker for any nut/seed butter
Early favorite(s): 88 Acres, Barney Butter & HomePlate PB
- Grass-Fed & Regenerative Farming. Aka the people who are leading the charge in dealing with sustainability and quality of food.
Early favorite(s): Old World Naturals Deli Meat & Maple Hill Creamery
- Oat milk. I don’t know why but oat milk is so smooth and tasty and blends so nicely in a latte.
Early favorite: Oatly
- Even healthier convenient performance foods. I work with athletes who work full-time jobs and are also training. While I try my best to give them real food that’s also convenient, I sometimes fall short and we rely on not-so-real-food foods. I saw a trend of healthier convenience foods and I’m hopeful for them.
Early favorite: Swapples
Trends I’m still unsure about and/or have no interest in:
Look, I can’t love everything, you know?! Here are some trends I’m semi-over and or not-so-sure about:
- Keto. I understand that Keto works for some. But marketing it as a fad diet with fad food items for people to consume. I don’t know, just not convinced yet.
- Vegan/Plant-Based. I’m mostly hating on the items that are obviously vegan/plant-based that are now promoting that they are so. It’s like promoting water is gluten-free…duh.
- CBD Oil. Such a new trend that I have not had time to read the research on (if there is any?) so I’m more just not comfortable with recommending yet. TBD on this trend. The cbd trends & popularity seem to be increasing almost exponentially, so I can assume that many people are definitely getting good use out of such products and are noticing the purported benefits that come with taking it.
- Cashews. Well, okay I’m okay with this trend for everyone but I have stomach issues related to cashews so let me tell you, it made me sad to turn down a few treats because they had cashews or cashew-milk in them.
How To Navigate Expo East
If you ever head to Expo East, be prepared to be overwhelmed. I’d recommend going at least 2 days as you will spend the first day lost, dazed, and confused.
- Dress nice but comfortable. You don’t want to look like a slob but you will do a lot of walking and will go inside and out and probably sweat. I wore jeans & a nice shirt/tank each day with comfy shoes.
- Bring business cards. While it’s 2018, it’s still nice to hand out your card so people know you’re legit 😉
- Don’t eat a big breakfast BUT don’t go hungry. It’s a delicate balance. You will get sick of eating protein-rich everything but you don’t want to go in full or starving, choose wisely.
- Come prepared to carry heavy bags. Many brands can ship you stuff (if you have a need) but otherwise, bring your biceps and get ready to schlep some free samples around.
- Don’t take all the water offered to you. I mean, stay hydrated, but water is heavy, bring a reusable water bottle and decline all the water bottles offered to you, you have other food items to carry.
- Bring/Find a friend. It helps when you are taking all the free samples (you know to not feel ridiculous) and to have someone to take pictures with of course.
Alright, I need to go clean off my kitchen table. Stay tuned for more posts here and on Instagram to show off some Expo items! What trends are you most excited about?