CHFA East Conference Highlights

Posted on: October 4th, 2017 by Shari Cogan

Our team at Felicity is thrilled to have been selected as the PR partner of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), Canada’s largest trade association dedicated to natural health and organic products. We’ll be working together to increase consumer engagement and trust in the sector.

On September 16, 2017, Felicity account lead Shari Cogan and president Amy Laski attended CHFA East, Canada’s largest trade-only conference for the natural health and organics industry, featuring more than 850 exhibits on a 100,000 square-foot show floor.

We asked five of Canada’s top natural health and nutrition experts to share their stand-out trends and learnings. We heard from:

Andrea Donsky: Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Founder & Editor of Naturallysavvy.com and co-author of UnJunk your Junk Food and the Label Lessons series. @naturallysavvy

Julie Daniluk: Registered Holistic Nutritionist, host of reality cooking show Healthy Gourmet, author of award-winning bestseller, Meals That Heal Inflammation, Slimming Meals That Heal and latest book, Hot Detox. @juliedaniluk

Marni Wasserman: Nutritionist and Chef, co-host of The Ultimate Health Podcast, author of Fermenting for Dummies and Plant-Based Diet For Dummies. @ultimatehealthpodcast @marniwasserman

Meghan Telpner: Nutritionist and author of UnDiet: Eat Your Way To Vibrant Health and most recently The UnDiet Cookbook filled with 130 gluten and dairy-free recipes, and includes an entire chapter on beauty care. @meghantelpner

Miranda Malisani: Holistic Nutritionist, media personality and owner of Eat It Forward Health Food Shop. www.eatitforward.ca and @eatitforward

Here’s what they had to say:

Q: What was the best part of this year’s CHFA East conference and trade show for you?

Andrea: The best part of the show is seeing all the new products that are available due to consumer demand. More and more people want healthier options and companies are listening.

Julie: The best part of the show is walking the CHFA trade floor to discover the cool new products. I also love connecting with all the retailers during my lecture. I remember what it feels like to be a retailer and keeping connected to the front line staff is always insightful and fun.

Marni: The best part is always connecting with colleagues in the health industry.

Meghan: It is an annual highlight as an opportunity to connect with the greater health food community. We appreciate how it draws the best brands and people from the industry. I love getting to meet and catch up with the makers and distributors of the goodies that make my recipe creation and teaching so fun and inspired. I also enjoy getting to meet so many graduates of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and my other online communities in person.

Miranda: The best part this year and always is connecting with the people behind the products. To hear their inspiration behind the product and passion for getting it into Canadian homes. This energy behind is as important as the nutrition in the product. Good vibes from creation to digestion!

Q: What were the top two health trends this year that stood out to you, and why?

Andrea: I loved seeing a variety of trends emerge including grain-free (Keto and Paleo inspired), essential oils and convenience foods targeting the millennial demographic.

Julie: Keto friendly products (high fat/low carb) and allergy avoidance are big trends that excite me this year. I like that new low carb choices are easier to digest with new sweeteners like monk fruit and yacon syrup.

Marni: For sure paleo and keto eating. I am seeing so many products that fit within this realm as people are looking for low carb, grain-free ways of eating. Many companies are coming out with new and innovative products that complement this, providing people with options when it comes to meals, snacks, pastas, breads, and more.

Meghan: I appreciated the growth in number of vendors in the organic section this year. That’s a huge shift and amazing to see. I noticed a lot of new fermented products, something that has been growing in popularity over the last few years. I love the use of medicinal mushrooms in teas and elixirs.. I also noticed a trend towards more bee products.

Miranda: There are so many more plant-based options for consumers. Collagen is popping up everywhere. It’s a personal fave of mine for glowing skin, stronger nails and longer hair!

Q: Did you learn about something new? What products/brands are you most excited about and why?

Andrea: I am always learning which is why I love this industry so much. I love essential oils and use them regularly. One company launched a new line of certified organic essential oils and lava bracelets that focus on specific intentions like ambition, serenity and perseverance.

Julie: I learned a lot about mushrooms and enjoyed the mushroom drinking chocolate blend. It was my favourite new adaptogen beverage at the show.

Marni: I learned that despite this being a health food show, you still have to do your own digging with every product and brand that is at the show. There are many products that seem natural, but at closer look have ingredients I would never want to consume. Whether it be added sugars, preservatives or other fillers.

Meghan: I learned that going to CHFA with a three-month old baby is a whole other adventure! It made me aware of how many incredible product options there are to make it easier to raise natural, healthy babies.

What trends are you noticing in the natural and organic space? What products would you like to see in-market? Comment below to share your thoughts.