It’s that time of year again! Fall means back to school, cooler days, darker evenings, pumpkin spice and for those of us in the nutrition industry, it means heading to the 4 day Canadian Health Food Association Expo East in Toronto.

For 4 days we have the luxury of lapping up a myriad of lectures on a variety of health topics and biz speak, as well as touring 100,000 square feet of space packed with over 800 exhibitors sharing their products with us. We have the opportunity to taste test every salsa, hummus, chipotle vegetable dip and vegan-bacon substitute available. We get to gander at every non-GMO corn tortilla chip, every green smoothie, every compression stocking, every water filtration system and every beeswax candle.

We always go to the CHFA on an empty stomach because there’s no shortage of delectable samples to try. Sure we might get a little bit of nausea from the ultra-mega-dose of vitamins and minerals we receive over a 12 hour period, but it does help to keep our energy going.

 Alas, as much as the food is delicious, it’s not really why Shelly and I are here. As a natural health product dispensary, we’re not really in the business of selling food, though it is paramount that we know what food is available, and where to find it for our patients and customers. The real reason we attend the CHFA is to hunt out new and innovative natural health products that either improve upon our existing inventory of products, offer better value, or introduce new features and benefits that satisfy the needs of our patients and customers.

While we remain diligent at researching products year-round, the CHFA acts as a particularly good jump-off point to see thousands of products at once, all under a single roof from hundreds of competitors. The CHFA has helped our product mix to constantly evolve and grow; to accommodate better products, and to eliminate products that are redundant or obsolete. Of course, better products means greater health outcomes for our customers and patients, and better value pricing ensures that affordability is always respected.

Last but not least are the lovely faces we get to see every year at the CHFA. While we have the pleasure of seeing many industry folk all year, in many cases this is our chance to breathe in the passion and excitement that everyone shares at these trade shows. If there is one aspect of this industry that remains constant, it’s the people that it attracts and the people it keeps for decade after decade. The sparkle in the eye of the lady that praises the wonders of matcha green tea, the wisdom of the wise man who travelled barefoot through the rainforests with a group of shamans to gather information on medical mushrooms, or the triathlete that is so enthusiastic about his pre-workout blend that you swear his head is about the explode if he doesn’t take a breath. We attend the CHFA for the products, but it’s the people that bring the show alive.

The CHFA runs this week(end) from September 15 to September 18 and when it’s over and we process everything we’ve seen and heard, we’ll be sure to disseminate it and share our discoveries with you right here in our blog.