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First Impressions

First Impressions

untitled.JPGAnd we're off! I've been walking the food section of the Expo East show floor here for the past couple hours now, sampling and chatting and feeling, as usual, fairly overwhelmed by all the hoopla. There's a lot still to come, but I can go ahead and give some first impressions.

- Functional beverages are going strong, and now we're starting to see more "infused" drinks. Hank's Gourmet just debuted a new line in slim, energy-drink sized cans, and Owater has come out with infused water. Hank's president Bill Dunman told me this new approach cuts out a lot of the confusing and potentially misleading scientific claims behind many functional drinks. Rather than talk about how a beverage will enhance your immunity, it seems, just say it's been infused and let the consumer take it from there.

- The humanization of pet products continues. Now I'm seeing holistic dog and cat food -- even a yogurt for dogs, courtesy of Yoghund. Pet supplements also continue to evolve. I hope to have more on that later.

- Several companies have bagged granola at the show. I noticed this at All Things Organic back in April, and it continues now. In a show full of functional this and enhanced that, it's interesting to see a retro product like this.

- A couple kids' food companies are offering meals and snacks with secret helpings of fruits and vegetables. This follows in line with Jessica Seinfeld's sneak-it-in cooking approach, which dodges the "yuck!" factor by offering undercover nutrition. Whether this is good parenting is another question altogether.