Hello again, Andrew here with another update from The Goods: Inside Nature's Bakery. With Nature’s Bakery being a young all natural snack food company, we weren’t sure what to expect as 1st time exhibitor at the Natural Products Expo Event in Baltimore, Maryland. It didn’t look like much when we were setting up on Wednesday. There were crates, pallets of products, empty spaces, forklifts, hand trucks and union works everywhere.
However, when the exhibit hall opened on Thursday at 10am, the convention center sprang to life. There were lines of people outside, promoters on the street passing out show magazines and free swag like Kombucha Tea, gluten-free brownies, and chocolate samples that contained collagen that was supposed to be great for your skin.
To kick start the show on Thursday, Bob’s Red Mill, hired a jazz style band procession that marched up and down the isles playing tunes like you’d hear in New Orleans. The music was upbeat and made you want to dance a jig. If you wanted, you could even get a picture with Bob, who is a well recognized figure in the Natural Foods industry.
One of the attendees told me there were over 20,000 attendees, 400 new natural products brands and around 1000 established brands this year at the Natural Products Expo East. Some of the better-known brands were Chobani Greek Yogurt, Go Raw, Plum and Kind Bar. Their booths were beautiful, had hanging signs, lights, meeting rooms, and sometimes two stories. I really liked the Marley Coffee Booth.
Being our first exhibit at a tradeshow as a company, we opted for function with a 10 x 10 pop-up. During the event, we had a really consistent flow of people visiting our booth and we handed out hundreds of samples of our delicious stone ground all natural fig bars – all flavors, raspberry fig, blueberry fig, peach apricot fig, apple-cinnamon fig, vanilla raspberry and vanilla fig.
The Nature’s Bakery booth was located to the right of a company out of Henderson, Nevada called EX Drinks (www.exdrinks.com), EX being short for Extreme. Really cool guys. I had a chance to sample their drinks during the event, my personal favorite was the EX Chillout drink. The booth to the left of us was a company out of Brooklyn, New York that made a vegan version of the type of meat you find traditionally in Greek Gyros – it was called Seitan (pronounced: S’Eye’Tan).
We made friends with was a small company out of South Burlington Vermont, located across the isle from us called, Wholesome Cravings (www.wholesomecravings.com). They offered a line of packaged gluten-free protein bar mix. The samples were absolutely delicious, their brand was really well designed and the owners, Monica and Bageshree, were really nice and a lot of fun.
This was definitely a must-do-again, event. Not just for the fact that we had an amazing response and feedback on our fig bar products, but there was a great positive energy you couldn’t ignore on the show floor from people who truly believed in their products. Everyone from the exhibitors to convention center staff to attendees were all very pleasant.
I look forward to Natural Products Expo in 2013 on the West Coast in March, but will definitely sign us back up for the Natural Products Expo East again.
Stay tuned for more updates from The Goods: Inside Nature's Bakery. Until next time – stay active, make conscious healthy living choices and enjoy what life has to offer.