Expo West is where natural products and brands of all kinds come together to showcase their new products along with old favorites. The brands range from big names in natural foods, like Amy’s Kitchen, to the little guys just trying to get their product out there. I made a point to spend my weekend at the expo talking to as many brands as I could and seeing what’s out there.
The sheer size of the expo made it very clear that the consumer is asking for natural and organic products. Nearly any product you could think of was somehow represented at the expo, as well as plenty of products I had never even thought of. By the end of Expo West, I was stuffed full of food samples, and sherpa-ing bags full of snacks and personal products that intrigued me. I’ve compiled some of the ones that really stood out so you know what to look for in the stores soon.
Power Packed Foods
A true trend I noticed was packing more into foods. Snacks were loaded with healthy ingredients like kale, chia seeds, and superfoods to give an added benefit. Having your food do more for you sounds like a great idea.
This was one of my favorite booths at Expo West. Living Intentions had a variety of flavors of probiotic popcorn. Did you hear that? Probiotic popcorn. Seriously genius. Kids eat the popcorn, love it, and get some extra bacterial benefit without even knowing what hit them. This is the berry, but I was just as obsessed with the more savory flavors like Salsa Verde.
Larabar organic coming out soon. I was jumping up and down at this one! I’ve always LOVED Larabar and wished they would go organic…and now they have. Yes, that’s kale and cacao in the the same bar! It’s fabulous!
Kale and chia seeds were big at this year’s expo. Mamma Chia combined the two in a new Grateful Greens beverage along with a bunch of other superfoods. When you look at this product you think it’s going to taste like a green drink, but it doesn’t. I’m not a big fan of grass-tasting things, so this was a welcome surprise.
Chia seeds have been growing in popularity and they were in all sorts of places at the expo. True Chia puts them in coconut milk for a really delicious chia pudding of sorts. I had to try all the flavors, it was so good. This would be a VERY good item to put in a lunch bag for the kids.
I had my first Icelandic yogurt at the Expo and I loved it! This Icelandic yogurt sneaks in some chia as well. It makes for a protein packed whole milk yogurt, a good way to start the day.
You read that right: chocolate hummus. I was confused too but as a chocolate lover I can assure you this is worth a try. It is indeed hummus made from garbanzo beans, but is blended with dark chocolate. The dark chocolate coconut was my favorite. It’s great with pretzels or fruit, and with only 80 calories a serving it’s far more guiltless than other chocolate options.
Even these Zemas cookies are a clever (and yummy) disguise of ancient grains. They contain hemp, chia, and flax. They are also allergy-friendly. Right now I have them hidden from the kids. I’m not sharing.
And even more gluten free cookies because everyone wants a tasty cookie sometimes. These are Non GMO project verified too.
Better For You Basics all at Expo West
We all have products that we use all the time. They may not always be a healthy or natural brand, but we just need them in our lives. Trust me, we all have those things… (whispers softly to my hair dye “I’ll never let you go my baby.”) At Expo West there were some great swap outs and alternatives.
Hazelnut spreads have gotten some flack for their false claims as a healthy choice. These new hazelnut spreads from Nutiva offer 40% less sugar, a healthy dose of Omega-3s, and are organic. The dark chocolate was my favorite.
Coconut oil popcorn is already a great swap out, but you may be missing the buttery flavor. Nutiva has solved that problem with buttery flavor coconut oil.
These nut-free sandwiches are a great alternative to PB&J. Made with sunbutter and grape jelly instead of peanut butter and grape jelly, they are a safer choice for lunch boxes. They are also about to become Non GMO Project Verified so look for that soon!
This was the first jerky mix I had ever seen. It combines nuts, berries, and turkey jerky for a protein packed mix. They sent me an entire box worth of different flavors, and they are now a favorite. They also come in grassfed beef.
Another treat that kids and parents will love are these gum pops. I think Glee Gum is a fabulous company that gives parents a better choice when it comes to candy. We don’t want them hyped up on sugar all the time but it’s good to have better options. This is their new 100% natural alternative to the other bubblegum filled suckers.
I was lucky enough to try some of these Arctic Zero flavors. The brownie blast was by far my favorite with chunks of real brownie, and it was only 75 calories a serving. It’s also GMO and lactose free. Some varieties are also gluten free. If you have a sweet tooth this is a better option for you.
Over at the elli Quark bar we sampled some amazing flavors. This German Style quark, which is a dairy product similar to a soft cheese, is low in calories and fat but high in protein. I found it tastes like a mild, but creamier, Greek yogurt. And I got to meet their founder right there at the booth, and she was fabulous. Now this product is NOT non GMO verified, but I’m hoping they will become soon because the taste is amazing and I really want to eat it everyday.
Annie’s Homegrown showed three new organic cereals that will leave your breakfast GMO and persistent pesticide free. Now that Annie’s Homegrown has been acquired by General Mills, I’m seeing tons of new products and am excited consumers will have so many organic products to choose from now. The CEO of Annie’s told us in a press conference that week “Hold us accountable!” and so far, I’ve been impressed by their transition. #win
There were a lot of innovations and products at Expo West I had never come across before. From kegels to mosquitos, there was a product for almost everything.
These natural wipes are for when you need to get clean but you just can’t shower. We all know it happens. Whether your morning was filled with unexpected toddler meltdowns that prevented your shower, or the A/C was broken at work and you just can’t subject anyone to your BO, action wipes have you covered. They remove sweat, odor, and whatever else with just a wipe. I got to meet the owner and she was really interesting. This product originally became popular at Burning Man because no one showers there. That gave me a chuckle. I’ve still never been there.
Goddess Garden has combined sunscreen and firming cream to make a dual duty product. It will save time in your daily routine and ensure you’re not skipping the important step of protecting your face from the sun. Plus, who doesn’t want firmer skin?
The Intimina Kegel Smart helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and measure your pelvic strength. It’s a unique tool for women who’ve had children and need to regain strength or bladder control.
Olives may not seem that innovative, but these olive snacks from Gaea and Mediterranean Organic are in bags, instead of toxic BPA lined cans like they are often found. They’re flavorful and ready to eat right out of the bag.
Parakito has essential oil based mosquito repellant. These are refillable bands you can wear to keep mosquitos away naturally. Deet is nasty stuff so I’m always encouraging people to go with natural options.
These coffee pods take the waste out of single serve coffee. Each little pod is completely biodegradable after you brew a delicious and organic cup of coffee. They are compatible with most single cup brewers already out there, and a very smart solution to the huge amount of waste those types of machines have encouraged.
We were also impressed with these natural and organic chicken sausages. Not only were the flavors unique and appealing, these are made without a casing. They’re completely skinless thanks to an special processing method. Another thing we loved about Bilinski’s sausages is they are made with just a few ingredients, chicken, real fruits and vegetables, and seasoning.
This is merely a blip of all the products we saw in our time at The Natural Products Expo West. This year they had over 77,000 people at Expo West, and I have a feeling there will be even more next year. Keep an eye out for these products in stores and use your voice and your dollars to let brands know you want more natural and organic products. Clearly they’re listening because Expo West was packed with products and people all passionate about safer and healthier products.