This year’s annual Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert has made one thing clear: healthy living and clean eating are not a fad, but a genuine interest. On that Sunday afternoon, every square inch of the Palais des Congrès’ massive exposition room was taken up by people, either visitors or vendors; a real sensory cacophony with a multitude of smells and sounds, in addition to the vibrant colours of the banners and products.
The Expo has every aspect of your healthy lifestyle covered, from naturopaths and all-natural beauty products to essential oil displays decorated with crystals. But the dominant category was definitely organic food, with countless stands offering fresh pressed juices, various plant-based oils, and a myriad of spices and granolas. While there, we had the opportunity to have a quick chat with two different companies: Prana Organic, a company that specializes in organic foods such as coca nibs and seeds, and Savonnerie des Diligences, a Quebec-based natural soap and body care company.
Maude, a representative for Prana Organic, explained that the company has been showing at the Expo for going-on ten years.
“It’s a great way to present our products to people who are all interested in the same lifestyle and to tell people about who we are and what we make,” she explained. Manger Santé has also proven to be helpful with interacting with customers and understanding the clientele’s needs. Judging from Prana’s stand, which was a tricked out vintage camper (“people easily recognize it by now,” said Maude) with plenty of space for customers to walk around and scope out the newest granola or nut mix, it was clear the company was one of the bigger ones working the Expo this year.
Caroline, at the Savonnerie des Diligences, explained that she started out as a loyal customer and fell so deeply in love with their products that she decided to work for them. “The people who come here are the types of customers we aim for, and usually they’ll already know about our products or have heard of them from someone. It’s a really great full-circle experience,” she explained. The company, which was presenting for the second time at the Expo, uses only natural products and the scent, Caroline said, is derived solely from essential oils, with absolutely nothing artificial added to the mixtures. Despite its stand being smaller than some of the others’, Savonnerie des Diligences nevertheless grabbed attention with its wood-plank stands and colourful packaging designed by artist Éric Chouteau (nature and camping were big themes this year).
Although different companies, both Maude and Caroline agreed that what customers want is organic and GMO-free products. Both women also explained that people are more informed about how they feed their bodies and have a genuine concern for not only staying healthy, but being more aware of what exactly goes into the items they’re purchasing. So while the green movement may have at first been dismissed as being just another hippie-driven joke, Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert, its partners, and its patrons are clearly proving that it’s beyond skepticism and sticking it to the man.
Photos by Ania Szneps (@doughboy.89).