Trade show has soy frankfurters, scented cremes


September 12, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Anybody who still thinks that eating healthy is equivalent to having your taste buds removed hasn't sampled Timber Crest Farms' dried tomato spice medley.

Just a taste will leave you wondering how they were able to cram 20 pounds of rich caponata-style relish flavoring into an 8-ounce jar.

And if you're a graduate of the no-fat-means-no-taste culinary institute, then it's time to chomp on a Soy Boy vegetarian hot dog made of soy protein, wheat gluten, herbs and other ingredients.

These were just a few of the tasty treats being served up at the Natural Products Expo East at the Baltimore Convention Center.

More than 500 manufacturers and distributors set up booths for a three-day annual trade show of the $4.6 billion natural foods and products industry. The trade show is limited to people in the industry.

But it's more than a food show. There were cosmetics and soap manufacturers proclaiming the lack of animal tests in the manufacturing process.

The juicer makers were out in force also serving up a wide assortment of blends, including carrots and apple, or apple and lemon with a touch of celery.

"The juicer was the No. 1 selling kitchen appliance last year," said James Pascotti, an account executive with Harrisburg, Pa.-based Omega Juicer. "Last Christmas we had a backlog of six to eight weeks."

As in the case of many other trade shows, there was a sizable contingent of small-scale entrepreneurs who started out of their kitchen or basement. Nadina's Cremes Inc. of Parkville was one of them.

Jill Nadine Clements started making her natural-scented body cremes, which she packages in small pottery jars in her Parkville kitchen, three years ago. She has recently been forced to come to the conclusion that she either needs a bigger kitchen or she had to move the business out of her home.

In the past year her moisturizer, massage, bath oil, hair conditioner and after shave products business has taken off. Ms. fTC Clements said the products are now in 500 stores across the country, up from 100 a year ago. Over the same period, she said, sales rose to $250,000 a year from $100,000.

Victor and Miriam Bennett, also of Baltimore, were at the show with their Really Raw Honey, a creamy white, unprocessed product that Food & Wine magazine featured in a roundup of the best-tasting natural products last year.

Albert Donnay of Dickeyville was promoting the Ecoworks Inc. line of long-lasting light bulbs and a smoke detector made without radioactive materials. Noting that his company's smoke detector retails for $29.95, about three times the price of conventional models, Mr. Donnay admitted to having difficulty getting Baltimore-area hardware stores to carry the product.

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