So, a record breaking 67,000 people attended this year’s Expo West in Aneheim, March 7-9. We can certainly believe it, having battled our way around 2,600 booths–we didn’t get to see them all, but the intrepid band of eco-seekers did their best. We were sampling, snacking, chatting and interviewing along the way to bring you our favorite18 best and new products and a few favorites we just couldn’t leave out!
One thing we noticed was the overwhelming amount of food brands on display…more snacks than ever before and more attention to real food ingredients. Today’s health conscience consumers are looking for convenience and brands have stepped up to the challenge of making nutritious, clean food more accessible and convenient. Consumers are also driving the demand for labeling transparency with regard to claims and certifications for non-GMO, organic and accurate nutritional information. And the variety of foods for special dietary concerns was impressive—gluten-free, vegan, paleo, organic—every special diet community was well represented.
In the press room we got to sample some really nice products Three Happy Cows yogurt vanilla was a standout, and Good Foods Guacamole
kept us coming back for more. Sencha Naturals Green Tea+C effervescent drink mix is a new favorite, a great tasting whole food immune support beverage. And then there were a couple that we weren’t so fond of, like the ghost pepper chips that just weren’t labeled clearly enough (at least for those who aren’t really familiar with what ghost pepper is) that lead to us literally drinking out of a semi-melted pint of ice cream to cool the burn—true story!
Walking the show, Chobani got our attention with their yogurt creations that were on par with what they serve up in their Soho store in New York City—fig, honey, walnut was yummy! We just loved the Kind new grain bars—Dark Chocolate Chunk was amazing. Tyrrells English Potato Chips are an all time favorite.
We seem to be on a food roll, so let’s keep going….
Arctic Zero – For those who are big in to protein shakes, this will become the best thing you’ve seen since sliced bread: Arctic Zero Frozen Protein Pints. Arctic Zero is a natural, high-protein, low-calorie frozen dessert. We were able to sample the three new flavors that launched at the show – Sea Salt Caramel, Coconut and Orange Cream. Arctic Zero Pints are Low calorie: 150 calories per pint, High protein: 12 grams per pint, High fiber: 8 grams per pint, Gluten free, GMO free, Low glycemic and Lactose intolerant friendly.
Bare Coconut Chips – As we mentioned before, coconut was one of the hot trends of the show. Everywhere you looked there was some form of coconut, whether it be water, oil or chips. But it was the Bare Coconut Chips that really caught our attention. They are the perfect snack, or great for a topping on yogurt. Bare also has Apple Chips for some additional variety!
Blue Hill Yogurt — Anyone who has been to Blue Hill restaurant or farm can attest that it is basically a culinary mecca, which is why it was no surprise to learn they are the ones behind this unique and delicious yogurt. These yogurts are savory with rich flavors including: beet, parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash and tomato. They are perfect for eating straight from the cup, or getting creative in the kitchen.
Evol Foods — Evol Foods is one of the fastest growing brands in the natural/organic entrée category, with burritos, quesadillas, frozen single-serve and multi-serve meals. Having sampled their Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli, we know why they are growing so fast! Evol use no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers. All the grains, vegetables and oils that are used are non-GMO. The proteins—chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheese—all come from US family farms and are raised on a vegetarian diet without the use of antibiotics. Their packaging has a story all of it’s own too. Evol use only 100% recyclable cardboard for their boxes and containers and strive to have over 35% post-consumer waste content. The bowls they use are compostable made from 100% reclaimed resources—it’s the pulp remainders of sugar cane and bamboo that would otherwise be burned.
Goodie Girl Tribeca – It was the packaging that stopped us in our tracks to stop at the Good Girl Cookies booth, but we were then blown away by the cookies, which claim to be just the right amount of wrong. All of the cookies are gluten-free, but by tasting you wouldn’t even know it. They come in Crunchy Chaos, Quinoa Chocolate Chip, Thin Mints (our favorite!!!), Double Trouble Chocolate, Peanut Butter Pandemonium and Oatmeal Raisin. Yummo!
Halo Top Creamery — You know those times when you sit down with a pint and ice cream only planning to have a little, and next thing you know its all gone and you spend the rest of the day feeling horrible (and probably sick to your stomach). Halo Top is the answer to this conundrum! With only 280 calories in a pint, this delightfully light and delicious ice cream, is healthier for you and omg, so good–however, we recommend still only having one serving size at a time. Also, by the way, it was a melted pint of Halo Top Lemon Cake Ice Cream that we happened to have in our hotel room during the aforementioned ghost pepper chip incident.
The Lovely Candy Co — For those of you with a sweet tooth, the Lovely Candy Co has you covered. The husband and wife team of Mike and Jackie set out to make a brand of consciously crafted candies with real ingredients, gluten-free and non-GMO. But most of all—the candy had to be really, really good! The delicious caramels are made with rbst free dairy, the fruit chews are vegan and made with real fruit bits and the fudge rolls don’t pull your teeth out. These super yummy chewy candies are truly lovely.
Novo Mel Brazilian Honey — Our visit to the Bee Brazil exhibit was really an education. Without bees, life on earth as we know it would be over. It seems that the busy little Brazilian bees are not troubled by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), as they are in other areas. Certainly the lack of pesticides and the sustainable habitat is the perfect environment for them. The honey they produce was really exceptional. The Wildflower Honey was our personal favorite—delicate floral overtones and wonderfully smooth and sweet. The apiculture activity in Brazil contributes to protecting our planet, something we all can appreciate.
Super Eats Kale + Chia Chips — Ok, ok it’s pretty obvious that Super Eats is jumping on to the trends of chia and kale — but lets be real, it’s two of our favorite things right now, and besides that, these kale chips are unlike any you’ve had before. These are the first “dippable” or “dorito” style chips as they are a full, crunchy chip that is shaped like a corn chip. They have a variety of flavors, including cheddar, sea salt, ranch, chili lime and tomato basil–we recommend the ranch!! http://www.supereats.com/collections/kale-chia-chips
As we walked the aisles, it was evident that Coconut Water was still showing strong, in fact coconut was everywhere but here are some new beverage items that stood out:
We certainly did keep drinking these wonderfully reviving bottles of organic energy! Delicious flavors like Black Tea with Ginseng and Peach; White Tea with Ginseng, cherry and Acai; Green Tea with Ginseng, Pomegranate and Acai; and Lemongrass Tea with Orange Juice, Ginseng and Ginger. Free from articficial colors, flavors and sweeteners, the fusion of the purest teas, revitalizing fruits and the “zing” from ginseng all combine for a refreshingly healthy lift.
Mamma Chia — We are slightly obsessed with Mamma Chia right now, grabbing up bottles of the vitality drink every chance we get–and we may have made few (read: a lot) of visits to their booth at the show. You can get your Mamma Chia fix by either the squeeze packs or vitality drinks, both of which combine chia seeds with natural ingredients, and as the chia is filling, makes for a healthy snack. And if you didn’t already know, chia seeds are a great way to get your recommended omega 3 dosage! http://www.mammachia.com/chia-squeeze/
One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to stay hydrated. And we found the perfect way to do that. Nuun All Day Drink Tabs are such an easy, convenient and delicious way to make sure you drink enough water. With zero sugar, and an all-natural blend of 17 vitamins and minerals, you can avoid the crash from sugar and caffeine but still enjoy great tasting fruity flavors: Grapefruit Orange, Tangerine Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate and Grape Raspberry. It is so easy to carry around (especially when traveling) to add to water anytime, anywhere. Electrolyte enhanced, Nunn is a very healthy alternative to soda, There is also a super energized version for athletes looking to replenish fluid and electrolytes, while boosting mental focus and converting food into energy.
We lingered in the personal care section, trying the creams and lotions and here are some products that got our attention.
You don’t get more personal than this…yes, it is for those very personal female regions! Founder Stacy Lyon is all about taking the stigma out of feminine hygiene and talking about the health and wellbeing of a woman’s intimate area. The line is paraben-free, fragrance-free, pH balanced and works gently to naturally cleanse and remove bacteria that causes odor. A woman’s vagina and the skin around it are some of the most absorbent parts of the female body, so why coat then in harsh chemicals that can irritate and damage the skin? We also loved the tag line “Gentle care for down there®”.
We did cover Giovanni’s 2chic, part of their Eco Chic Hair Collection, from the last show, but we just had to mention the great new product they just launched…a hair towelette. What a terrific idea! The towelette, which is formulated with Avocado and Olive Oils, delivers the same styling power as the Ultra-Moist Super Potion yet in this convenient single-use sachet. It’s perfect for that ultimate “hair touch-up” on the go! Not only does it take care of annoying fly-away strands for a silky, sleek finish, it’s a perfect “pick-me-up” for tired, dull tresses when there’s no time between work and a night out to tweak your do. And, it has a soft, sexy fragrance too.
Nellie’s All Natural – It is the home cleaning section that we can get lost in for hours at Natural Products Expos, but we have to say that this year, there weren’t a lot of standouts, except for of course Nellie’s All-Natural! This line offers goods for the kitchen and laundry room. The line is of course all-natural and the packaging is pretty awesome.
And then there’s something for the “little ones.”
Apart from the totally adorable new packaging, Babyganics is a brand that grew out of a lifelong friendship. Keith and Kevin found that when they had families of their own they shared a “grown up” mission. With a lot of input from their wives and other parents they went about creating a baby-safe world. From skincare, sun protection, cleaning products…it was all about discovering what like-minded people wanted for their families. Creating their own list of natural and safe ingredients based on Natural Product Standards as well as EU and US lists of ingredients to avoid—parabens, phthalates, known toxins, endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, etc., the list is ever changing based on the latest scientific studies.
Every Babyganics product has to pass the real parent test. They ask “Is this something we’d confidently use around or on our own babies?” If you see it on the shelf, the answer was “Yes.”
The Honest Co. – We have of course been fans of The Honest Company for a while now, having interviewed both Chris and Jessica, as well as attended Jessica’s book launch in NYC, so we were excited to stop by the booth and see what was new. The line has impressively expanded in the last couple of months to include not only items for the little ones, but also household goods. But we were especially excited for the new Baby Arrival Gift Set, Bath time Gift Set and Housewarming Gift Set. https://www.honest.com/amazing-gift-sets/baby-arrival-gift-set
Battling left-over congestion from a cold and the long flight to CA, we went in search of some natural relief and came across :
Known as the Xylitol experts, Xlear Nasal Spray is a combination of Xylitol and saline that soothes and moisturizes the sinus and nasal passages. It’s an all-natural product that is hyper-osmotic, which means it draws moisture and keeps the nasal passages and sinuses more moist and clean than saline alone. Dry airways are easily irritated and extremely vulnerable to attack from external contaminants. None of the Xlear Nasal Spray products contain chemical antihistamines or decongestants. It worked like a charm and the flight back to New York was congestion free!
Estimated to hit $226 billion in sales by the year 2018, the natural and organic products marketplace is booming. We really needed three more days to get around all the booths, but we hope you like our 18 favs!