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Bugging out at SN's wellness event

Crickets aren't the kind of thing you typically like to hear at a speaking engagement but in this case, it was totally apprporiate. The topic came up as New Hope Natural Media's Eric Pierce reveiwed the forces at work around a renewed consumer appetite for protein — and the ways creative product manufacturers are prepared to provide it — during a session at SN's inaugural education track held Wednesday at Natural Products Expo East here in Baltimore.

Crickets — specifically, flour made of the ground insects — is the choice of the manufactuer of the Exo protein bar, Pierce noted. Exo is an exhibitor at Expo East and maybe someday soon, a supplier to mainstream supermarkets. Pierce in a session focused on emerging trends in food used data illustrating that such products are gaining audiences, which though small can be influential customers for retailers to court.

It was hardly the only insight to be had at the event, which also featured a lively presentation of the results of SN Whole Health's annual consumer health and wellness survey by "Supermarket Guru" Phil Lempert; a look at how a focus on health and wellness at Wakefern Food Corp. has transformed the ShopRite brand; and a panel in which experts from Acosta Sales and Marketing and KeHe distributors plotted the path for emerging products from inspiration to supermarket shelves.

Not to toot our own horn, but it was all pretty good stuff. Not a cricket could be heard.

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