Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo & Giveaway #GFAFExpo

Disclaimer: I was provided admittance to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois at no cost to me to facilitate this post on The Eclectic Element and the giveaway prize was provided free of charge from several different companies. All opinions and expressions below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated.

It's that time of year again. The time of gluten free goodness, of allergen friendly companies, of like-minded people and of learning and knowledge. And, of course, swag.

Lots and lots of swag.

The Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo is a place where people who suffer daily from food allergies and intolerances can go and connect with people and companies that can make their life just a little bit easier.

I was lucky enough to be able to go to Last Year's Expo and thankfully, this year, was chosen to attend again with my GF bestie, The Wholey Trinity, by my side!

The Arrival

Truth be told I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it. With everything that has been happening with my health and it being so unpredictable from day to day, I waited until the morning of to say yay or nay; I felt like someone had hit me with a mack truck when I woke up that morning but someone, somewhere must have been looking out for me because I was able to force the issue.

The conference bloggers got let in 45 minutes early to take a look around and get acquainted with our conference sponsor, Massel.

The national sales manager of Massel, Marc, took very good care of us bloggers! Before we were unleashed to mingle and gorge ourselves with a variety of food stuffs, Marc took some time to get to know us and introduce us to his great products. 

Massel offers gluten free and vegan bouillon cubes and seasoning for cooking. They're motto, "Quality you can taste," and just from sampling the select few things they had to offer at the expo, you can truly believe in that motto! Bloggers got to try their chicken stock, beef stock, and vegan beef/chicken stock (yes, it's a thing-a delicious thing). 

Massel and Marc even brought all the bloggers a gift in the form of a mysterious bright red box with a pretty yellow bow which we found out later was filled with a soup mug and Massel goodies!  

Hannah of The Wholey Trinity

After the meet-and-greet and the demonstration we were all set free! Just like last year there were 5 to 6 long rows packed full of companies and products just waiting to be explored, sampled, and learned about.

The Expo

We were only able to attend one day of this 2-day expo; let me advise you if you're ever able to attend and have the means to do so, stay for both days! Being let in at 9:45am to leaving at 4:00pm still wasn't enough time to see and do everything we wanted to see and do. 

We managed to do the best we could with what time we had though!

I saw a lot of familiar "faces" like the big names, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Kinnickinic, and Pamela's as well as many new names and faces, a good majority of which can be found locally around the Chicagoland/Illinois area all the way to a few states away.

Like last year the majority of companies that made an appearance where food related but there were some non-food related companies and products that captured my eye, one of which was a very neat up-and-coming product that tests your food for traces of gluten before you eat it. 

I also nearly bought myself a nice new allergen friendly sheet set in a cheerful color and would have, too, if not for the lack of money!

Reconnecting & New Friends

Of course I had one of my best friends by my side but it also felt good meeting new people and reconnecting with some familiar faces. 

I was thrilled to see my friend from Red Apple Lipstick again and she was as fun and lively as ever! She even helped me pick out a new lipstick that is next on my absolutely-must-buy list.

And of course we can't forget Yogi, GoPicnic's mascot who hasn't changed a bit since last year's expo.

The Recap

Until next year...

All in all I'd chalk this year's GFAF Expo up to a huge success! New companies and people met, reconnection with some old friends, tummies full of delicious and delectable goodies, and swag bags that filled the back seat of the car AND the trunk...

I already can't wait until next year! 

If you'd like to see more pictures of this year's expo you can do so on my Facebook.



Thanks to multiple gluten free* and allergen friendly companies at this year's expo, Hannah of The Wholey Trinity and I have come together to provide one of our readers the chance to feel like they were able to attend even if you didn't! 

A big thank you to these companies who donated to this fantastic goodie prize package:

I also have included some coupons, information, and samples from other companies I gathered, too, so you'll be receiving a box chocked full of a little bit of everything.

After you've entered my giveaway make sure to head over to The Wholey Trinity and enter hers!

{The Giveaway}

Gift Bag of Goodies from the GFAF Expo!! 

{The Rules}

1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

 2. NEW RULE--You MUST leave a 1 to 3 sentence comment on my post in order to be eligible for the giveaway. Short, one to two word answers will be deleted from the post and entries associated will be deleted from the giveaway.

3. Contest will run from Monday, June 17, 2015 through to Monday, July 1, 2015.

4. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

5. Open to US residents only--Sorry everyone else!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Not all products in the prize package are gluten free. Make sure to read all labels before consuming.

Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years or older and will run from Wednesday, June 17, 2015 12:00am CST until Wednesday, July 1, 2015 11:59 pm CST. The winner will be chosen through and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 24 hours (1 full day from when the winning email was sent) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.