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.





Connect: 




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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 Rafflecopter.com 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.








82 comments:

Kayley said...

I'd be most excited to try the Freedom Foods chocolate crunch cereal. I love a bit of chocolate in the morning and this seems like a good way to get it, although whether I commit to that trend would depend on how healthy it is. ;)

D Johnson said...

I would love to try the Pascha Chocolate. It's hard for me to find gluten free chocolate locally and I have read lots of great reviews on this brand, but have never tried it myself.

Peggy said...

I was told that I was sensitive to gluten. I am trying to learn about it and change my diet.

Kim said...

I'm super excited about Go Picnic. I have seen and heard a lot about their products, but I have yet to get the chance to try them. They look like they would be great to take to the ballfield, on the go or even to pack for lunches at school and work.
addictedtorodeo at gmail dot com
Ashley C

renata said...

What a fabulous review and prize package on gluten-free foods and thank you for introducing me to so many new nutritious gf brands as well! I'm very excited about the little GO Picnic Meal packages that seem perfect for both adults and kids for busy lives on the go! Great idea for school and work too. I'd love the sunbutter and crackers package.

April said...

I want to try the go picnic because it would be a great snack to take on the go or to the pool!

sweepmom said...

I am most excited to try the go picnic item. I have seen these in stores and have wanted to try them for some time now.

Unknown said...

I'd really like to try the Go Picnic Turkey Pepperoni and Cheese ready to eat meal. These would be great to bring to work, on a picnic, or to an outdoor movie (there are a ton where i live)! Easy, convenient, and GF!

- Judith

JaLisa Brown said...

I'm super excited about the Freedom Foods products!

bbrittbrat1398 said...

With two kids with food allergies. It's important to make sure to be aware to keep them safe. Brittney House

Beads App said...

Gluten free is important to me because both my husband and son can't eat gluten at all. It is so hard to find good tasting food or snacks that my 4 year old son will eat. Thank you for introducing us to many leads to try.

Ronda Rudnick said...

I have a lot of people in my family with food allergies and this would be a nice way to have something safe for them when they are at my house. I would love to try the Freedom Foods. This would make breakfast safe and easy for little kids.

puye said...

I would love to try the Pascha Chocolate.

agnesye@hotmail.com

tat2gurlzrock said...

I am most excited about Go Picnic and Pascha Chocolate! I have heard great things about both.Looks like you had fun!

Molli Reisman said...

allergy friendly is important to me, because i have 4 kids with food sensititives. people often try to help me by giving them litle snacks if they are impateint someplace, and no one really gets it!

Fizzgig said...

I'm most excited about Enjoy Life. I love that their products are completely allergen friendly. I can't have gluten, dairy, or almonds.. The almond part sucks, it's one of the main flour replacements for gluten free products so Enjoy Life is high up there on my list of favorite companies! Before I was gluten and dairy free I was essentially bedridden because my reactions were so bad. It took a couple of years to figure out what was going on.

chris z said...

im most excited to try the go picnic sunbutter and crackers I've been hearing about them a lot recently

Alison Tolar said...

I'm most excited to try the products from gopicnic. I have been hearing a lot about them lately, but I haven't tried them yet. I'm really curious and want to see if they taste as good as they sound.

Anonymous said...

From Donna Urey~

My brother in law just had heart surgery. They told him to eat a gluten free diet. These would be great for him to try so he can discover which he likes best!

Liz said...

Its important to me because my daughter cannot consume anything that contains gluten. She's been gluten sensitive for over 4 years now.

Love3570@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Why is gluten free important? Because I have a friend with Celiac's disease, not because of fad.

summerbrown said...

Gluten free/allergen friendly is very important to me and the health of my family.

ufg8trj said...

I would love to try them all especially the pascha chocolate and the GoPicnic

Stephanie Phelps said...

I am excited about the Go Picnic because I was just made aware that gluten were causing my health issues!

juliemurphy said...

I would like to get the cereal for my kids.

Kim Dee said...

I'd be most excited to try the Freedom Foods cereals. They just sound delicious! I've been wanting to try them but the price makes me continue walking. If i tried it first I might reconsider and buy it next time I pass it in the store :)

Velder Dixon said...

i allergic to many things

kellyr78 said...

I would like to try the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter because I think it will be great on a bagel.

lana simanovicki said...

I'm excited to try the go picnic because it's hard to find things gluten free that my 8 year old daughter likes

Connie Campbell said...

Everything looks delicious! Hopefully I win and get to try them all!

Patty Woodland said...

We try to eat a very healthy diet here on the farm. Neither one of us has any real food issues - we just want to keep our food clean. I think the Pascha chocolate appeals most 'cause it's chocolate ;)

Ellen said...

My daughter is gluten intolerant. Living a gluten free lifestyle is important to us so we can include her in the same meals we eat.

Elizabeth Parker said...

I have stomach issues, and I'd like to try eating more gluten-free foods. I've tried Udi's and some others in the past and they seem to help a bit.

Teresa R said...

I really love Swerve, and was so excited to see it included above! I am low-carb, so I eat a lot of gluten free food. It really helps to make me feel better and not sluggish!

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

I am allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. They hide these in so many foods and dont specivy.

Annamarie Voss said...

I am most excited to try the GoPicnic Sunbutter and crackers, I also checked out there website and they have other snack kits that I would love to try. It's so important to have healthy snacks on hand in case you need something in a hurry or on the road.

Amelia w said...

My family isn't totally gluten free but I suspect it as a culprit with some of my daughter's issues. We are trying to eliminate as much as we can!

Stacy said...

I personally am not gluten free, but I have family members that are, so I love sharing things with them. I am vegan, and although that is not an allergy, I have been vegan for 15 years now so when I do accidentally have dairy (which is VERY rare, but it happens) I get violently ill, so I can definitely relate to people that do have allergies.

blew415 said...

Pascha Chocolate, seems like it would taste good

Emily N. said...

I want to try the Pascha Chocolate because I love sampling different chocolate brands.

Adriana Saucedo said...

I would love to try pasha chocolate.

Journeys of The Zoo said...

So great to see all the products and interest in these types of products. It wasn't always that way. Fortunately, we don't have food limitations in our household but I feel for those that do. This is becoming something of an annual event for you.

Besos Sarah.
Journeys of The Zoo

Christy Maurer said...

I'm most excited for GoPicnic! We love this brand!

LhasaLuma said...

I love the kinnikinnik stuff most of the time so I would love to try any new stuff from them :D

LhasaLuma said...

I love the kinnikinnik stuff most of the time so I would love to try any new stuff from them :D This looks like it was so fun! I love free samples. Sorry for duplicate comment, just saw you wanted longer comments.

mitchkat said...

everything looks good, im excited to try those cocoa crunch.

Amanda C. said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I'd love to try the Freedom cereals. Just starting to learn about gluten free foods and testing to see what works best for me.

ladydi115 said...

gluten and allergen friendly is important to me because I am gluten intolerant and also having to follow a low fodmap diet. It's important to be able to find foods that are safe to eat and won't cause me horrible digestive distress. I am always looking for new products that can expand my limited diet. Thanks.

A Martin said...

I am most excited to try the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter!

Madeline B said...

I'd love to try the Pascha Chocolate because I love chocolate and like buying fair trade items.

G said...

I would love to try the GoPicnic brand as an easy lunch anywhere anytime and they sound like a delicious combination of glutenfree healthy foods. Thank you for highlighting so many glutenfree brands and menu choices!
-Georgi

Julie Waldron said...

It's so important to have allergen friendly foods in our house. Our daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

Anonymous said...

While I don't suffer from a gluten or food allergy myself, there are several members of my extended family who do, and they have made me more aware of the issue. When we have family gatherings, I make it a point to have healthy and tasty items for them as well. We have a family reunion coming up this summer, and I'd love to have these brands to share with them!
-Heather R

Danielle said...

We have several friends and family members with food and gluten allergies and sensitivities. I would love to win to have some options on hand when they are visiting us.

Melissa A. said...

Gluten free/allergen friendly is an important topic to me because I closely watch how much gluten I intake. Some of my family members, like my mom, are gluten free so I like to offer gluten free options for snacks.

Jenna Y said...

I am excited to try the Go Picnic items. These seem like a convenient option for my on the go lifestyle!

Melissa said...

i really want to try the Go Picnic stuff!

bettycd said...

I'd like to try I M Healthy soynut butter - my daughter has sensitivities and friends with issues. As such, it is a wonderful opportunity to try multiple products out. We can order online, but it is costly to order various products and find they will not be eaten

lemonlaurie said...

The cake mixes because my son Lucas is Autistic.

Kristine t said...

I'd like to try all the goodies with chocolate! I have such a sweet tooth!

LesleyfromWI said...

I am excited to try the Go Picnic. Would be nice when we go hiking

iggysaysno said...

This is important to my because I'm allergic to dairy.

Cori Westphal said...

My family isn't gluten free, but my sons best friend is. And he spends a lot of time at our house. It's so frustrating trying to find things he can eat, that we can all enjoy. I love that the selection of gluten free goodies is growing every time I go to the store!

Rose Santuci-Sofranko said...

One of my sisters needs to eat gluten free foods and I'd like to win this for her. Thanks and God bless! ILuvTheEucharist @ aol.com

Linda Bradshaw said...

My daughter has issues and we are now learning about the whole gluten free thing. We are also having to switch from milk too. I am new to this whole thing now. Definitely would love to try these.

Denise said...

A friend's daughter has Celiac disease and I like to enter giveaways for gluten-free products when I see them so I can pass them along if I win. Thanks!

Jeremy Bryars said...

My roommate loves these types of products and I look for them everywhere I go. Thank for looking out for the gluten free community.

Racquelle Robinson said...

I'd really like to try the Go Picnic Turkey Pepperoni and Cheese ready to eat meal. These would be great to bring on the go.

Carrie Miyake said...

My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed as having a gluten allergy, she is also now allergic to peanuts, mushrooms, lactose and a few other ingredients. Living in an area of the country where there is not alot of access to quality (or tasty) gluten and allergen free products, this package would be a great gift to her.

Pam Flynn said...

I would love to try Massel gluten free and vegan bouillon cubes and seasoning for cooking. I'll bet they taste good.

Pam Flynn said...

I can't wait to try Massel gluten free and vegan bouillon cubes and seasoning for cooking. They look really good.

Desiree Grubbs said...

I am most excited to try out Gopicnic.
They are a brand I see a lot and have only heard good things about.
We don't have any allergies in our household, but we try to avoid gluten anyway due to side effects that it causes in our bodies.

Jessica Rose said...

Most excited about the go picnic! Im pretty busy most days so having something already prepared handy is a life saver :D

chickie717 said...

This is an important topic to me because my son-in-law has health problems and has changed his diet and we have also have tried to have less gluten in our diets.

Kathryn C said...

most eager to try anything from Honey Acres- I understand they make some excellent gluten free candies & chocolates

KC
kacor7@hotmail.com

Daniel H said...

I am most excited to try the freedom foods products. There is someone in the family that likes cereal but is unable to enjoy it due to gluten.

Anonymous said...

I would love to try the Soyjoy bars. I have seen them and the flavors look good! I really would love to try these! furrymaiden@gmail.com

Candie L said...

I like the Pascha Chocolate. Thank you

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

Laurie Nykaza said...

I would love to try the Pascha Chocolate always looking for one with great taste so I would love to try some.

Cheryl Reinhardt said...

Gluten is a concern to me... I have Fibromyalgia and wonder if some of that can be related in some way. I am glad to see new gluten free products entering the market, I am hoping health wise it will be a good thing for Americans.
californiapoppys@yahoo.com

Randi Sampson said...

My daughter has horrible eczema which we have found is made worse by gluten, so she is gluten free, but we also suspect that she has additional food allergies as well. I also had many food allergies myself as a child!

Kit-Kat said...

Gluten free and allergy type food is important to me because my husband can't have dairy. I just love having gluten free food because one of my friends can only eat gluten free and she has made and got some really yummy food.