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Updated: September 8, 2023

Bring on the buckwheat: Maine food brands head to Philly for natural products trade show

Trade show floor Provided photo Maine will be well-represented at the Natural Products Expo East trade show later this month in Philadelphia. Shown here is the expo hall at last year's event.

Maine food brands from snacks to seafood are headed to the Natural Products Expo East Trade Show in Philadelphia later this month, along with representatives of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

Scheduled for Sept. 21-23, the event is touted by the organizer as the East Coast’s leading trade show for natural, organic and healthy products.

Maine participants include several members and alumni of the Maine Center for Entrepeneurs’ two Food Accelerator programs, called Cultivator and MarketShare.

"We are working closely with the show organizers to promote and showcase our Maine members' brands,” said Sue Hanson, the center’s program manager.

“Additionally, we are leveraging valuable B2B opportunities through our 'Make it Maine' cocktail reception, where key buyers in the natural and specialty foods sector will have the chance to discover and appreciate the incredible offerings from Maine's food producers."

Maine participants scheduled to participate in the Philadelphia event include Diggables, a Portland-based snack startup working to pioneer tasty, light and crispy buckwheat puffs from naturally gluten-free buckwheat. 

person holding up packages
Photo / Courtesy Diggables
Diggables is a new Portland-based snack brand.

“We will be introducing our brand to the Natural Products Expo East at a time when Diggables' attributes seem to be aligning with national trends – gluten-free, non-GMO, local sourcing, and supportive of sustainable farming practices and regenerative agriculture,” Toby Ahrens, founder of the three-person company, told Mainebiz.

“This is the first time Diggables will be exhibiting at Expo East,” he added. “It’s an exciting opportunity to present our unique healthy snack, engage with buyers face-to-face, and determine how best to supply and support their efforts. We also plan to take it all in and listen and learn from some of the other great companies that will be exhibiting there.”

Lewis Goldstein, CEO of Waterville-based Maine Crisp, is equally excited to debut his company’s new Better With Buckwheat healthy-snack brand.

Smiling man
Photo / Courtesy of Maine Crisp
Maine Crisp CEO Lewis Goldstein

“Our crisps will continue to be a key driver of our business, but we want to expand buckwheat to more snacking categories; the Better With Buckwheat brand allows us to do this,” he told Mainebiz. “Along with the new branding, we will introduce retailers and investors to our new Better With Buckwheat snacking crackers at Expo East."

Other participants

Besides Diggables and Maine Crisp, other Maine companies set to exhibit at the expo include Atlantic Sea Farms, Bristol Seafood and Simply Served, with additional participation from companies including Grandy Organics, Green Bee Soda, Ocean’s Balance, Papou’s Kitchen, Pineland Farms Dairy and Short Creek Farm.

This year's exhibition promises to be an exceptional showcase of innovation and sustainability within Maine's thriving food and beverage industry, according to the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs. .

On Sept. 22, a ‘Make it Maine’ Cocktail Reception hosted by Maine Center for Entrepreneurs at the expo will offer targeted buyers from leading grocers, retailers and distributors the chance to sample one-of-a-kind delicacies and meet Maine food-industry entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs Cultivator and MarketShare Food Accelerator Programs were established in 2018 with support from FocusMaine.

More information

Find out more about Natural Products Expo East here.

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