Where can you find hundreds of gluten/allergen friendly products in one spot? Why the GFAF Expo, of course! It is a tasting mecca of the gluten free world. Here you will find both the tried and true products as well as items brand new to the market and maybe not even in stores yet, but they are available online!
I had the opportunity to be a blogger for the expo this year, which was great, because I was going anyway.
So here’s what you missed!
The expo took place at the Meadowlands Expo Center. The parking was free, which made me happy. The hall was large enough to accommodate all the exhibitors and the crowds that made this their Saturday and Sunday destination.
Each attendee received a tote bag containing a few free items and coupons. There was plenty space left in the bag to add other free samples as well as purchases.
The bloggers were treated to a breakfast by BFree including bagels, fruit, coffee and juice. They also gave us a gift bag with 2 packages of full size wraps and a cutting tool.
Presenters gave helpful lectures on topics ranging from gluten free cooking tips to where to start, digestive issues, as well as creating a healthy diet.
Many of the vendors were quite generous with their samples. Some even gave samples to take home which is very helpful when it comes time to blog about it. One or two ran out of product, which was disappointing.
There were cards on the table listing the allergens in their products. This was very helpful when it came to tasting. There were many items I wasn’t able to try because they contained dairy and it was easy to spot those.
There were too many exhibitors to list here. Below are several companies listed along with a brief description. You’ll have to come out next year and discover all the others. If you want to know who all the exhibitors were this link will take you to them.
I’ll do product reviews in separate posts because it’s information overload for one post.
There were some services and organizations, such as Brain Balance Centers. They provide personalized solutions for children with various academic, social or behavioral issues. They also provide professional development seminars to teachers/schools. Also among the organizations represented were the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia, Cigna offered health screenings. Country Kitchen Center offers gf lifestyle coaching and culinary classes. There were many others.
Several vendors were selling books and housewares.
A few companies were selling bath / body products and supplements. Purehaven called attention to the toxic ingredients in conventional body products. They offered healthier alternatives. Nubian Heritage has a line of natural lotions, soaps and deodorants. Eclair Naturals also has a line of natural soaps and lotions. Sundown Naturals featured their line of supplements and vitamins.
The remainder of the booths were food products. Some were well known companies, some were start ups with products only available online at this point and others were smaller companies available in limited areas. We enjoyed many of the products, others we weren’t too crazy about- We’ll touch on that in other posts.
It’s a good opportunity to speak to creators of products or their representatives to find out more about the product. Below are some companies that were represented….
Bagels, rolls, wraps and bread. I believe they said Walmart was beginning to carry their products.
Bread and Pizza- although they do carry other products
Snack bars, chocolate chips, cookies, lentil chips
Bakery items such as muffins, cookies, bread also packaged snacks.
Muffins, waffles, veggie cakes
Gluten and dairy free pizza and “cheesecake”
Gluten free and vegan goldfish type crackers
Pizza and snack bites
Had a cornucopia of items with several freebies
3 of our favorites in no particular order include Enjoy Life (they’ve been a favorite for years), RP’s Pasta Company, and Everybody Eats. There were many more. As for our other favorites, you’ll have to wait until the reviews come out.
Ran into these sweet little gluten-free friends of mine.
These are all the free samples for the two days we attended. Gonna need to dig out the pants with an elastic waistband for this….
Since the point of my blog is nutrition and healthy habits, would I say that everything here was healthy and nutritious? No, I wouldn’t. But it was all gluten free as well as free from many common allergens. If you or your child struggle with these issues, this type of a resource is a blessing to have. I will discuss how items stack up with my nutritional views when I review them.
If you missed it, make a point to come out next year! I’m glad I made the effort.
Because everyone wants something that tastes good…