Natural Products Expo East: Our Top 18 Favs!

by Sue Taggart

Well, with over 1,450 exhibitors to choose from, it was tough to narrow it down to 18, as well as impossible to visit every booth. So, rather than feature the more established brands, we thought we would bring you the newcomers….first time exhibitors, new products, emerging trends and some personal favorites.

However, a couple of shout outs. Thanks Topricin for your foot cream, we would never have been able to get through the two long days and evenings in high heels without it! Thanks to Good Groceries for the KAMUT® flatbreads to snack on, even though there were tons of food booths, these were a lifesaver. Fage, your fabulous Greek yogurt kept us going as did those amazing Medjool Dates. Blue Ribbon Products handed out the best grilled chicken “Simple Sliders” and Twiggy’s cupcakes little bite size morsels were yummy! Nova Oliva was the prettiest Olive Oil and Hugo Naturals won hands down for the best smelling booth…. herbs and flower petals were strewn across the floor and pots of Fall “mums” released their heady scents!

Kids products are always fun and Dolphin Organics and GoGo SqueeZ were no exception. Dolphin Organics was developed by Nigel and Ayo—parents of twin girls who wanted the best personal care products possible for their daughters. Nothing artificial—not even the preservatives. GoGo SqueeZ applesauce is a great natural on-the-go option for busy moms and their kids, 100% fruit, no refined sugar, artificial flavors or preservations it has five different flavor options—all yummy

Two stand out new beverages were Juve and IceBox Water. Move over acai, Maqui is the next “super berry” from the Patagonian region of Chile, available from JUVE Juice. Formulated from 100% all natural juices it packs a powerful antioxidant punch and it tastes great too. IceBox Water is straight from the Rustad Spring in Norway, and it’s packaged in a box—a much better biodegradable, carbon friendly option that significantly reduces landfill refuse.

Food, glorious food. There was so much to choose from. Chips and gluten-free offerings dominated the food aisles. In the end, we went for taste and innovation. Sophie’s Kitchen certainly came out tops for innovation with their new Vegan seafood line. Made from textured vegetable protein, it’s hard to tell the difference. Anyone allergic to seafood will appreciate the calamari, shrimp and prawn appetizers and entrees. Another innovative brand Just Bare had a line of natural chicken products that were traceable to the family farm it originated from. The farm code on each package lets a consumer go online to learn the location of the farm family and the specific product standards—pretty cool!

We love ancient grains and one of our all time favorites is KAMUT®, so to find an organic KAMUT® ONEBUN™ from Ozery Bakery made our day.

On to taste, Fruit Bliss, a two-day-old brand was a standout with their chocolate covered dried plums. All their dried fruits are preservative-free and taste wonderful but the plums with their dark chocolate coating—bliss! The Bakery On Main hit a home run with their new True Bar. When the first ingredient listed is almonds and you can recognize every ingredient listed then you know you are eating real food. The apricot, almond chai bar was fabulous and the Chia seeds are a great source of Omega 3. Kind were debuting their new Healthy Grains artisanal blends of whole grains and superfoods. Perfect bite-size clusters for snacking or as a breakfast “granola”.

The home section was really interesting. Fullcircle’s line of stylish, functional products made from sustainable and renewable resources were some of the coolest designs we’ve seen in a long time. Like scrub brushes with sleek, bamboo handles and sponges made from cellulose, a plant-based fiber. They even made pot scrubbers that are fully biodegrade!

Pure Glass Bottle – we all need a trusty reusable water bottle, although it’s often a struggle to find bottles that are BPA-free and don’t alter the taste. Glass bottles are preferred, but then pose the risk of dropping it and breaking it–until now! Pure Glass Bottle is a glass water bottle with a special coating to guarantee that if it is dropped it won’t shatter or cause a mess. It’s portable, reusable and environmentally friendly. This is definitely the water bottle I’ll be carrying around from now on.

Grab Green – While there are a lot of all-natural and eco-friendly laundry products on the market, we were really excited to learn about Grab Green and their 3-in-1 system which offers detergent, fabric softener and stain remover all in one pod–meaning no measuring or messes from pouring the detergent. Plus, all of the ingredients come from nature-based sources. They also dish detergent and all-purpose cleaners.

Veggie Fresh (a 2011 Ecovisionary Award Winner) helps you keep your fruits and vegetable fresher longer. You can keep it in the crisper bin in your refrigerator for up to 90 days, after that the clam shell and the “GreenMix” is 100% recyclable.

Our personal care favorites were Zum Bar from Indigo Wild. Their booth was fun and funky, featuring eye-popping goats milk soaps in a kaleidoscope of colors. Valera™, the first USDA Organic Certified natural female lubricant developed by Dr. Darlene Gaynor-Krupnick , board certified urologist. Along the same lines, we were also left intrigued by a new product called ON, which uses a combination of essential oils as a natural sexual enhancement for women. Then there was Vermont Soap with their natural and organic soap, gels and cleansers—a little “Old Fashioned Luxury”—reminds you of quaint country inns, deep bathtubs and fluffy robes–leaving you to reminisce of relaxing weekends in Vermont from your home.

So, it was great to see so many healthy, natural, organic, green and eco-friendly brands and to talk to the innovators, inventors, formulators and people that are passionate about their products and our planet.

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