Last Saturday I attended the Gluten free and allergen friendly expo in Secaucus, New Jersey. It ended up being kind of a stressful day because we were going to spend the night, upstate New York, to get the kids to see the fall foliage at the Catskill Mountains. This, the trip to the expo and an early afternoon swimming lesson for the kids made up for the whole Saturday!
Running and always trying to make the most productive visit to the expo I ended up missing some sponsors but overall I think it was a great experience and I ended up getting to know a lot more brands that are selling products belonging to these sensitive categories.
I arrived pretty soon at the expo which was perfect to get a first impression of the place. It was a big indoor event and it seemed to be pretty organized, where the stands were grouped by "sensitivity" - you had the nut-free aisle, the gluten-free aisle and so on.
The first thing that caught my attention was the big line to go in but as soon as the goodie bags were delivered each one of us could go to whatever aisle we chose. Starting to browse and to know new brands is one of the most exciting things that I love doing and, through the blog, I really enjoy doing that in a friendly environment where I can talk directly to people, not just by email or Instagram message!
The goodie bags got filled over and over because I'll tell you something: these brands are not joking around. They really prepare themselves in order to give people a taste of their products. Every brand had a great variety of samples and items to taste. Of course I got to the point where I couldn't eat anything more and I'd just accept the offers to take home and try them out later!
At the end of the day I got home with all these amazing products and, hopefully, I'll be working with some of the brands to let you know more about their products and their safe options: nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free or whatever the case may be.
At our house none of us has any allergies but my kids are always attentive if we have someone over and have safe snacks to offer them. They became very aware of the allergy situation at school where they need to have school safe snacks in order to keep their friends and teachers safe. On the other hand I always like to try everything as I'm a curious person by nature! Also, I try to have some vegetarian meals once in a while, switch from dairy to non-dairy and skip on gluten sometimes because I feel it helps me feel better and healthier!
In the picture bellow you can have a notion of the brands and products that were for grabs at the expo and I'm sure you'll find some of them that you haven't even heard of, right?
I was surprised by an offer that didn't have anything to do with food but that had everything to do with children and allergies - the children's books! I think it's the most interesting idea ever: to get kids' attention through stories and characters that they can identify themselves with. "The No Biggie Bunch" is a series of books with funny and curious characters that try to fit in the stories the allergy theme and alert children to situations that allergic kids may be exposed to. For example, in one of the books, the "Trade-or-Treat Halloween" all the children who have allergies collect the treats that they know they can't have and put them in a box in their room: in the morning they'll have something that they had chosen earlier (and agreed with the parents, of course!) given by their parents and the treats will eventually be donated. Please, check the book here (affiliate link):
My kids are loving the books and they are really well written and the illustrations are amazing! In fact, there's much more to allergies than food! There are other titles available like these:
Moving on to the food items!
I found some familiar brands that we can find in almost any supermarket, like Schar (I tried the bread samples that they gave out and they are great either just like they come out of the package or toasted!) or Hilary's. I've had one of their burgers, the veggie one, and I tried the bean burger at the expo an loved it - a spicy kick to eat and really great texture.
Surprisingly enough, maybe because I'm not gluten-free most of the brands were new to me! I found myself surrounded by new products, new snacks items, new chocolate alternatives, it was a very tasty morning, I can tell you that!
Lots of options on the BFree bread products stand. I hope to be able to show you their line of products, in the near future, through a partnership with the brand to create brand awareness. This was a busy morning and I'm betting they sold out because the line went on forever!
Gratify was also there, with their full line of snacks. The brand offers salty and sweet options and I was just really full and couldn't try all those amazing looking pretzels covered in milk and yogurt! They look amazing, though! These gluten-free snacks will probably be on the blog, as well, so you can get to know all of this great tasting snacks.
Naturalvert really does know how to choose people to represent them on a fair! These two gentlemen were the most nice people over there. Smiling to whoever was passing along and getting the word out about the brand and its products they really did a great job! Hope to get some more info on these great snacks very soon!
These chocolate based snacks are sooo good! I've tried three of the buttercups flavors and I'm decided to look them up to see where I can buy them. Certified gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan it's all I need to know to call it a "good for you" snack!
The GoMacro stand was really showing off their flavor options by sampling all of their snack bars' flavors. They also had some samples to bring home and I'm still hoping to snack on them and letting you know what I think about the product. Anything that it's in a bar shape is good for me: practical, portable and essential for any mom or dad on-the-go! I've seen these bars at the supermarket where I live so I guess they'll start to get in my shopping list from now on!
"Path of Life" is a fairly recent food brand. They offer frozen options that make our life or, in this case, dinner time easy by getting a healthy meal on the table in less than 10 minutes. I tried the quinoa with feta cheese and it really was delicious, I wouldn't say it had come out of a box! I'm really curious to know something more about the brand and they really did a great job displaying all their products so that everybody could understand what the brand was about.
These chickpea snacks are something out of this world! Really, I was truly impressed even so because when my son tried it at home he really though it was just candy, nothing good! I told him what it was and he was like "oh, I really like this healthy snack"! The chocolate one is so addictive that I'm almost afraid of buying it! Anyway, check the product here, on Amazon (you can get this variety pack with 4 flavors: chocolate covered, cinnamon, sesame and honey, hot and spicy!):
Lunderb Family Farms had a very complete stand and they were even cooking the arancini on the spot! It was delicious, hot, creamy and super tasty...I'm hoping to find it in stores but they told me it was going to start being delivered next week! Try it, it's a treat! They also have chips, rice cakes, rice and a lot of different products, all gluten-free!
Munk Pack is a gluten-free and vegan snack company. They had the oatmeal cookies to sample and the oatmeal fruit squeezes in different varieties to try out. Nothing like a bit of oats to fuel you through the day! These are very practical for on-the-go situations and the squeezes are a mess-free option which is always a plus for me!
There were a lot more brands out there and I'll drop some more pictures for you to get an idea but I was really sorry that I couldn't stay longer and talk to everyone. I had a great time and knew a lot of very nice people that are all trying to make this world a safer place for us and for out children.
What are you favorite gluten-free and allergen friendly brands?