The Gluten-free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF Expo), is a wonderful small event to attend if your're new to gluten-free living. While not so beneficial for veterans, it's a safe place to learn about some big name and small name brands, companies, and maybe even learn something new at the speaking sessions they hold throughout the weekend long expo. This was my second time ever going to the GFAF Expo, this years as an official blog ambassador. While it was smaller than 2 years ago (not sure why), there were still a few highlights and some fun products I want to share with you all!
Of course I had to stop by my favorite pretzel people and snag some coupons 😉
My mom and I were excited to finally be able to buy some of Jennifer's Way amazing gluten-free and allergy-free baked goodies! From bagels to buns to breads, she has it all. Her quality Brooklyn based bakery is a gluten-free and vegan foodie's dream come true!
More bagels! Hey there Sweet Notes! Our super local New Jersey company, making safe bagels for all! (Still have never tried one myself though!)
Maybe my number 1 highlight was getting to meet my favorite chickpea-loving people, BANZA! The whole team is so cool, down to earth, and you can just feel the passion and love they have for their company! Banza for life!
I really failed at taking pictures during the expo, but of course I snapped a few shots of some of the "swag". Some things I can't eat, but it's still fun to gather up some products 😛 Massel was the sponsor for the bloggers, a vegan gluten-free bouillon company. Stocked up on some Lesser Evil popcorn (of course!), bread slices from Three Bakers, Viki's Granola, Mediterranean Snacks new Bean Stalks, a bunch of snack bars from Nature's Path and Enjoy Life.
Three stand out brands I didn't get pictures of, were:
Pure Genius - Awesome gluten-free, vegan, nut-free sweets and treats! Think brownies and blondies made with beans!
Izzi B's Allergen-Free Bakery - Amazing baked good everyone can enjoy! They even cater and they have gingerbread building kits! Haha! Yes!
I Heart Keenwah - The quinoa snack people came out with a new snack...quinoa puffs! They look fantastic! They're also a really sweet small company and the founder was telling me about making those quinoa bites in his kitchen at the start!
Bread Empire - Buddha Bread! Okay, I can't eat these as they contain dairy and eggs, but my mom stocked up and loved the bread! Paola, the founder, spoke to us for such a long time about what lead her to create a lovely gluten-free bread company and she was so sweet (giving us this free bag!). If you do eat dairy and eggs, I'm going to urge you to try out the Budda Bread! Cute little gluten-free buns of joy!
Freedom Foods - I just adore Freedom Foods and their amazing allergy-free cereals! Tropic O's are the best, but they came out with some new ones called Fruit Rainbow Rocks (like a healthy fruity pebble!). We also snagged some of the Maple Crunch cereal as well 😉
Jennifer's Way - Of course my mom couldn't leave without picking up new bagels to try! They look fantastic! I wanted some of the sesame hamburger buns, but that will have to wait 😛
My Dad's Cookies - My mom is beyond obsessed with their cookies! The black and white are her favorite. Another brand I can't eat, but if you can/do, go for it! They are such a friendly company as well.
All the small brands and companies there were fabulous as they had the actual owners there running the booths. The big brands like Udi's and Glutino (haha, and the scripted representatives for Cheerios...which are now being recalled nation wide!), really weren't knowledgeable about their companies what-so-ever (the reps they had didn't even know what blogging was). Also the Nature's Path reps handing out samples of their pumpkin flax granola which is not gluten-free. You can read about that huge mishap here. However, some other great companies I was glad to meet were Kahn's Kitchen (got a hug from Jason!), Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread (amazing "just add water" mixes), Otto's Cassava Flour, and Swerve (amazing "sugar-free" sweeteners).
All in all, it was a nice quick little expo. I was done navigating the floor in 2-3 hours. Someone the brands that said they would be there weren't and there really were less companies than 2 years ago. But again, if you're local to the tri-state area or one of the other many cities the expo goes to, it's a great option for those new to gluten-free and other allergy living.
So tell me:
+ Have you ever been to a specialty expo? Food or otherwise? Let me tell you, Natural Products Expo West is happening this year...it must!
+ Small companies > big names. Am I right? YES!Strength and Sunshine Twitter: @RebeccaGF666 Instagram: rebeccagf666 Pinterest: RebeccaGF666 Bloglovin’: Strength and Sunshine Google+: Rebecca Pytell