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|Last week we attended the Natural Products Expo East (ExpoEast.com), the largest natural and organic products trade show and conference on the east coast (its sister show, Expo West in Anaheim, is even larger). Among the 25,000 other attendees and 1,790 exhibits, just 25% or so of the exhibitors are in the food industry, but much of the food there is healthy and exciting (the rest of the products are dietary supplements,|
|organic personal and household care products, clothing and home furnishings). According to The Natural Foods Merchandiser’s 2007 Market Overview, the natural and organic products industry is growing at 9.7%, with more than $56 billion in consumer sales (the food segment is growing at about 15%, and topped $15 billion in sales). What’s happening in natural foods? The energy bar was ubiquitous: So many bars, so little time! So many beverages, too: In one burgeoning category, fruit juices, it seemed as if the different brands of pomegranate and açaí juices could stretch from coast to coast. The organic baby food category has grown even more, too. This year, many more products targeted to older kids were evident, from Wild Waters vitamin-enhanced waters to Can Do Kids nutrition/energy bars. People with gluten allergies can eat better now too, thanks to a large variety of really delicious bread products made from flaxseed and other flours. While people with celiac disease can’t eat spelt, some people who have simpler wheat allergies can—and so can the rest of us. Spelt is truly delicious—the next time you see spelt bread or burger rolls, try them! What we love about this show is that we nibble from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and never get, well, ill, because all of the food is so good for you. Try that at any other food show—by noon you’re begging for mercy and by 2 p.m. you can’t eat another bite. The newest of new ideas was a probiotic juice from Next Foods called Verb: Good Belly. Get 20 million probiotic bacteria in every serving of organic fruit juice (VerbDaily.com). The patented probiotics are proven to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You’ll read about what we loved in the November issue of THE NIBBLE, and we’ll be reviewing our favorites in our January “healthy gourmet” issue.|
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