Jasberry CEO and co-founder Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak summed up the pure merchandise trade succinctly when he said, “It is actually essential for us to be right here to inform our story and to additionally let individuals understand how a model can empower change on this planet.”
Dejkraisak’s remarks got here instantly after he gained the grand prize on the 2023 Pure Merchandise Expo East Pitch Slam, a “Shark Tank”-style competitors through which rising CPG entrepreneurs pitch their manufacturers to a stay viewers of professional judges and their friends. Hosted and conceived by Naturally Community, this 12 months’s occasion was bittersweet as a result of it was the ultimate version at New Hope Community’s Pure Merchandise Expo East present, which introduced Sept. 20 that it was ending its run after virtually 40 years. (Concurrently, New Hope introduced a plan to launch Newtopia Now in August 2024 in Savannah, Georgia.)
For attendees and exhibitors like Dejkraisak, Expo East and Pitch Slam may also help change their lives and others key to enriching the ecosystem.
“We wish to change the well being of the farmer’s life and to the planet,” stated Dejkraisak, whose product, Jasberry, is an natural superfood black rice sourced from greater than 2,500 small-scale farms in Thailand. The signature superfood black rice has additionally been milled into pre-cooked rice flour to be used as a substitute for white flour. It might be used to create gluten-free cookies, bread, doughnuts and waffles.
Dejkraisak additionally believes Jasberry’s story is essential as a result of its product is sustainable sufficient to feed actually hundreds of thousands of individuals in a more healthy method.
“Greater than half the [people on the] planet eats white rice every single day,” he defined. “But, the rice leads to malnutrition, diabetes. There are 500 million rice farmers around the globe, the poorest farmers on this planet, and rice additionally releases methane fuel, so it is dangerous for the planet … We have to ignite that change as a result of it’s actually hundreds of thousands and billions of individuals’s lives on the road.”
Whereas Dejkraisak’s Jasberry was the grand prize winner with a mission, comparable sentiments have been expressed all through Expo East throughout its four-day run at Pennsylvania Conference Heart in Philadelphia. From greater than 1,200 distributors in the principle corridor to the extra informal setting of Harvest Pageant that includes a whole lot of recent and rising manufacturers to members of the newly established Grownup Non-Alcoholic Beverage Affiliation Pavilion to scores of insightful training classes, the occasion was ripe with innovation.
Expo East newcomer GoTeff launched teff, an Ethiopian tremendous grain that’s been round for greater than 4,000 years, at Harvest Pageant. There have been candy and savory variations on show, together with Blueberry Vanilla, Strawberry Coconut and Chickpea Garlic. The sweeter variations have been sweetened with dates, and so they’re meant to be loved as snacks, chilly cereal or as a topper on salads or yogurt.
Within the Sizzling Merchandise aisle, the Center Jap-inspired Candy Tahini debuted its latest product: nondairy frozen desserts made with sesame butter and oatmilk to present it the creamy, clean texture of conventional ice cream. Flavors consisted of Darkish Chocolate with Halvan Crumbs, Cinnamon Date and Cardamon Pistachio.
With a decrease water footprint than most nut milks, Elari Tigernut Root Milk goals to be probably the most sustainable plant-based choices out there. For this product, the plentiful tiger nuts—which are literally root greens and grown underground—are sourced from Nigeria. To make them into milk, they’re floor into powder, which prompts a pleasant nutty taste and mildly candy style, then water is added to create the “milk.”
Lastly, it’s no secret that a number of the largest trade improvements are within the beverage sector. Partly driving this explosion is Gen Z’s a lot documented aversion to alcoholic drinks. That’s why Expo East launched a brand new beverage pavilion this 12 months anchored by Grownup Non-Alcoholic Beverage Affiliation on the present. Choices various: They included alcohol-removed wines and glowing wines; ready-to-drink canned and bottled cocktails; and spirit-free spirits. Whereas all used pure substances for coloration and taste, many contained sugar and sweeteners in excessive content material. A few of the manufacturers set to launch merchandise quickly with zero or low sugar included Hella, Parch and Recess.
Here is to seeing what Newtopia Now will carry to the trade when it debuts in 2024.
A lifelong Chicagoan, Audarshia Townsend is a veteran meals and beverage journalist who serves because the content material director for Meals & Beverage Insider. She additionally seems usually on native and nationwide media shops to debate meals and beverage developments. When Townsend’s not on the eats beat, she’s an avid yogi and meditation practitioner.