Expo West – the land of free food samples, overeating, socializing, and high anxiety levels. For those of you who don’t know, “Expo West” is the Natural Products Expo that is held twice a year: once in the West (Anaheim, CA) and once in the East (Baltimore, MD). It is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event and pulls over 85,000 attendees from around the world. These four days are jam-packed as attendees try to see as many booths as possible in the extremely overcrowded trade show floors. While I’ve now been to Expo East twice, this was my first West experience. Sweet Jesus, this thing is massive. Three years ago, I vividly remember constantly refreshing my IG feed to stay up-to-date with all of the posts that food bloggers were sharing from their trip and feeling extreme jealousy that I wasn’t able to be there due to my current job. As my first self-employed March rolled around, I knew it was the year I’d finally get my butt to California.
Expo is amazing; it provides you with an opportunity to try a bunch of new brands, products from brands you know and love, connect with the people behind these companies, and spend time with other like-minded individuals in your space. However, let’s be honest here, it is overwhelming as fuck. I mean that in the best possible way, but holy sensory overload. In such a large space, it is amazing how crammed you can still feel. Each year, there are some key words that seem to be the focus of majority of the attending booths. The prior two Expo Easts, I’d say gut health and probiotics were the focus. This year, these were my main takeaways:
- Beverages are a huge thing. Whether it is teas, flavored waters, elixers, or tonics, there were more beverages than I ever could’ve imagined
- CBD everything. Any product you can think of and it’s a safe bet that a brand within Expo was showcasing a CBD infused version of it.
- No surprise, but everyone is obsessed with Keto. I still am not sold on the idea, but everyone is slapping the “Keto approved” label on their products
- Focus on including herbs into a variety of products
- Collagen is still a focus for many brands
I made an effort to stop by the booths of all of my favorite brands and some new ones I had my eyes on in order to recap exciting new launches for all of you. Below is a round-up of my favorite new products I tried and a shout-out to some of my forever favorites.
The New Barn Almond Dips – New Barn is expanding into other dairy alternative products with their almond based dips. Similar to hummus, with 5 flavors, my favorite was the Habanero. Releasing soon
Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce – PK continues to create delicious sauces with ingredients I approve of and this is no different. Currently available for sale
Naturally Clean Eats Oatmeal Raisin Bar – These are some of my favorite bars out there and this new flavor is an absolute home-run. Releasing in May
Emmy’s Organics Chocolate Covered Cookies – a new spin on their already delicious cookies, these chocolate covered versions come in 2 flavors: peanut butter and mint – my personal favorite. As someone who doesn’t stomach agave well, I’m ecstatic to announce these do not contain that ingredient. Release mid-April in Whole Foods
Imuraya Chocolate DF & GF Mochi – Like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. Not necessarily clean ingredients, but I couldn’t not share this one with you all. Available for sale on their website
Taste Republic Cauliflower Linguine – A GF pasta that finally mimics the real thing and is made with wholesome ingredients. Available on their site but currently sold out.
The Honest Stand Plant Based Dips – Plant based dips that are delicious hot or cold and really mimic the real thing. My favorite was the Mild Nacho Dip. Available for sale on their site
Siete Hard Taco Shells – As if I needed another reason to love them, Siete did it again. Now you can do both soft and hard shells for your #FFTacoTuesday dinners! I was able to find them in my local Whole Foods, but they are not on their website yet so official release is TBD.
Flying Embers Hard Kombucha Ginger & Oak – A great beer alternative, especially for those of us that are GF. Tasted delicious and gave a great buzz. Currently only available for sale only on the West Coast but coming to the East Coast by the end of March 2019
Crazy Richards PB Wholly Rollies – Frozen protein balls made with extremely limited ingredients in 3 flavors (PB & Strawberry, PB & Cacao, and Cinnamon Oatmeal – my favorite). Releasing on website soon and hopefully in stores by May.
Chosen Foods Infused Avocado Oil Sprays – 9 new flavors of my favorite sprayable avocado oil that are currently available for sale on their site. They also showcased a new guacamole and avocado spread that will be released soon.
Georgia Grinders Hazelnut Butter – As if I needed another nut butter to love, this one has officially stolen my heart. Available for sale on their site
Simple Mills Brownie Mix – Similar to all Simple Mills products, this one does not let you down. A fudgey, gooey, tasty brownie that is GF and lacks no flavor. Available for sale on their site
Hu Kitchen Gems – Not like I need another reason to consume more chocolate or love Hu more, but now instead of cutting up their bars to bake with, they created perfect little morsels. Releasing Summer 2019.
This Bar Saves Lives Collagen Bites – I am always behind brands that give back, so I love this brand’s model of every time you make a purchase they send a packet of life saving food to a child in need. Plus, the new collagen bite bars are delicious and come in 3 flavors, my favorite was the “detox” because of the minty hint. Releasing soon.
Pukka Organic Latte Turmeric Gold – A delicious pre-made version of my night cap turmeric latte that I make. Very flavorful and filled with ingredients I approve of. Currently only available in the UK but coming to the US soon.
Vital Farms Ghee Butter – From a company I trust due to their absolute transparency, I am very excited about their new product as ghee is something I cook with daily. Available now in select stores
Better Booch – Premium, small craft, kombucha with lower amounts of sugar than most brands. Currently doing a rebrand but will be available soon
Do Anything Sauce – Used for either sauces, marinades, or spreads, these combinations are made with real, organic, non-GMO ingredients and focus on the most important thing: vegetables. I personally loved the creamy butternut squash and the cauliflower alfredo. Available for sale on their site
Banza Rice – Similar to their delicious GF pasta, this rice is made of chickpeas and is scary similar. Available for sale on their site
Barnana PB Cup Banana Bites – Little balls of heaven combining three of my favorite things: banana, peanut butter, and chocolate. Available for sale on their site
Purely Elizabeth – Releasing 2 new grain-free granola flavors (cinnamon peanut butter and vanilla almond butter – my favorite) along with two other products that I did not try – crunchy snack bars and cauliflower oats. Releasing in June 2019.
SweetPotaTOASTS – an easy freezer option for one of my favorite GF breakfasts. Available for sale on their site
Culina – Dairy free yogurt in the most adorable little ceramic pot containers with delicious flavors. Unfortunately not available in the East Coast yet.
Vital Proteins Collagen Water – Available in 5 flavors, I personally am a fan of the original. An easy way to get your collagen in if you are on the go and unable to carry the powder with you. Available for sale on their site
Fody Foods – Although I am no longer following the Low-FODMAP diet, this is a brand that created the concept I dreamed of (and seriously considered pursuing): garlic & onion free products. Available for sale on their site
Sunwink Sparkling Herbal Tonic – A bubbly drink blended with herbal extracts aimed to be a part of your daily routine. My favorite flavor was the detox ginger. Available for sale on their site
Not new, but brands I saw that I love
Nona Lim – recently obsessed with the Turmeric Chicken Bone Broth
Beekeeper’s Naturals – the B.Chill honey (still my favorite hemp product) and Propolis spray (for when I am traveling / feel I’m getting sick) are my two favorites
MatchaBar – my favorite Matcha powder to use at home
Van Leeuwen – if you know me, then you know how much I love this god damn ice cream. I had the pleasure of meeting (and hugging) the co-founder and I now can die happy.
Lavva Yogurt – my favorite dairy free yogurt with A+ ingredients
Bulletproof – the best option for filling coffee on the go and protein-packed, filling, delicious bars
Pop & Bottle – almond milk lattes with no added sweeteners. I specifically love the golden turmeric flavor