I recently attended the Organic Food Show in Chicago and was quite impressed by the number of organic food companies that were there. This show is for retailers only and not open to the general public. While we don’t carry food products on our website, I thought it would be a great opportunity to go and actually see what was available. Well, it took me nearly six hours just to get through it all. I also had the chance to speak directly to food manufacturers about using alternative (non-allergenic) ingredients in their products.
While sugar cane is the predominant sweetener used in most organic products, there seems to be more interest in using alternative sweeteners. That’s great news for those of us who need to avoid cane sugar. I found a number of companies that have started using agave sweetener, including one company, Organicville, that makes ketchup with the sweetener. It was excellent. You can find them at Organicville.
There were a number of organic baby food companies represented. After tasting three different brands, my clear favorite was Maddy’s Organic Meals. Maddy’s is a new company that uses only the freshest/ripest ingredients to make their baby purees. None of their produce is frozen before the pureeing process, and their food combinations were quite clever. You can find them at Maddy’s Organic Meals. As a parent of an allergic child, I look for products like these that are packed with flavor and only contain a few ingredients.
Below I’ve listed some of my additional finds that may be helpful.
From Nature With Love
If you have an allergic child who doesn’t tolerate lotions well, and you’re not quite certain what they’re reacting to, this is the place for you. At From Nature With Love, you can actually purchase the individual ingredients that are used to make personal care products. I was able to pick up a small container of shea butter to try out on my daughter. So far, it doesn’t seem to be causing any reactions. They do sell direct to the consumer.
This is a new Chicago-based company with a great cracker made from various grains. They’ve actually got three different types to choose from. While two out of three varieties come with nuts, they’ve got separate trays they can use to make nut-free ones. The crackers are organic, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy free, and they taste good too.
If you’re looking for candy that doesn’t contain dyes or other allergens, this is the place for you. The folks at Pure Fun use both brown rice syrup and cane sugar to sweeten their organic candies which come in all sorts of great flavors. My daughters loved the samples that I brought home for them. Checkout their website when you’ve got a moment. It’s beautiful, and my daughters loved the sing-a-long songs in the activities section.
Black Wing Meats
If you’re on a rotational diet or looking for other types of organic game meat, you should try Black Wing meats. They carry organic ostrich, bison, buffalo, elk and quail meats to name a few. I tried the ostrich meat which was quite good. They sell direct to consumers, and their prices are slightly above wholesale. When I found them, I told them that I was on a rotational diet, and they knew immediately what I was talking about. It turns out they cater to those with special dietary needs. In addition, they carry a dog and cat non-allergy pet formula. The owner told me that once an allergic pet is on this formula for two weeks, the allergies disappear.
Buds For Baby
This is an Australian company with a nice line of skin care products for babies/kids. I was interested most in their sunscreen and first aid lotions. Both of these products contain few ingredients, all natural and all organic, of course. They’ve apparently seen good results when using their first aid lotion on kids with eczema. The only problem I’ve encountered is trying to order them. A company rep told me that the line was now available in California, but I wasn’t able to confirm this information on their website. I’ve sent off an email, we’ll see what their response is.
One last note, I couldn’t believe the number of flavored water and smoothie companies. If you’re thinking about starting your own flavored water or smoothie company, you may want to think twice. The market is saturated.
Here’s to good eating. Have a great week.
May 6, 2008