The natural product and organic world took over Anaheim once again to take part in the 36th annual Natural Products Expo West & Engredea. In any way, shape or form that you measure it, the world's largest natural, organic and healthy products event had a record-setting expo.
Expo West hosted a record 77,000 attendees, more than 3,000 exhibiting companies, including more than 600 first-time exhibitors, proving that while not only growing as an industry, but the creativity is as noteworthy as ever.
Natural Products Expo West is always about taking the next step in the evolution of natural, organic and healthy products. While the market share continues to surge, the key word that was most often mentioned to take things to an even higher level was education. Not only educating people what to look for in labels, but the benefits of products, trying food that you might not have even heard of before, finding healthy alternatives to what you currently use. You can find all of these aspects of educating customers at Expo West and taking it to the general public and raising the awareness and education level will benefit everyone is so many ways.
You can begin with having to educate people that a clear soda not only can have the same flavor as a colored soda, but you are simply taking one more bad additive out of the product to benefit you. A staple of Expo West for several years has been Zevia along with CEO Paddy Spence. Zevia decided to take their healthy alternative to soda and improve it even more by removing coloring from all of its flavors.
"We started with natural sweeteners, but as we got into it we realized there were a whole bunch of other ingredients in soda that people didn't trust, artificial flavors, preservatives, gmo ingredients and the one I didn't know that is a huge concern is caramel color. We think of Zevia as a small change that people can make."
"I have two ways to think about it, number one as an individual I want to consume products that are safe and I want to in my career sell and promote products that are good for my family and the community around us," Paddy said. "There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur, there has never been a better time to be a disruptive emerging brand to the consumer today is looking for alternatives, they are saying I want an alternative, I want something that is for me."
Grainful is a shining example of what Expo West is all about, creating a product that no one would have ever thought of, bringing it to market and turning it into a tasty huge hit. Steel cut oats are known as a staple when it comes to breakfast, but Grainful co-founder and Chef Jeannine Sacco thought she could recreate the steel cut oats experience. Taking them to a savory level, Chef Jeannine created convenient meals that are gluten-free, whole grain and packed with protein and come in some great flavors such as creole spiced Jambalaya to Tomato Risotto. The Steel Cut Meals allow you to add meat and vegetables as you like to create meals around varieties as Tuscan Bean and Kale to Thai Curry. If you are expecting oatmeal, guess again. You are going to get creamy and hearty products that will give you more of a pasta feel and Grainful has a number of great recipe variations on their website for you to experiment with. For more information visit: Grainful
Big Slice created from an old family recipe some fantastic apple based pouch snacks that allow you to just tear open and eat. This year Big Slice added some great new products to their already tasty lineup. They created a lineup of Fit Big Slice options including; Fit Energy that is flavored with raspberry hibiscus and green coffee extract, vitality, honey berry chia to complete their 16 flavor lineup. If you are looking for a tasty twist to they typical apple, Big Slice is for you. For more information visit: Big Slice
Like many products that have become a success they were created out of wanting a change in their own life or home and then it just took off. Among Friends Baking Mixes are so close to the heart of founders Suzie Miller and Lizann Anderson that the names of each products include someone close to their heart such as their latest creations; Papa Tom’s Perfect Pancake mix and Cora’s Honey Cornbread mix. Bringing gluten-free baked treats into your home that are so simple anyone can use was what Among Friends was trying to accomplish and they did just that. Anytime you can taste a brownie or pancake and you can't tell if it is gluten-free, you know you are onto something. While all of the Among Friends products are great following the recipe as is, the great thing is that people have been adding their own twists to create recipes for the rest of us to venture out and try. Suzie and Lizann are so dedicated to their brand that if someone emails them with doubts on a certain product or if they are looking for a way to change it, they will take it to their own kitchen and perfect it. For more information visit: Among Friends
Always a favorite at Expo West, Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP came through with another winning flavor as they debuted their Sweet Barbeque Popcorn. While gourmet popcorn has become one of the hottest products in the snack industry, no one seems to wow popcorn lovers with the flavor that is packed in BOOMCHICKAPOP. BOOMCHICKAPOP snacks are Non-GMO Project verified, certified gluten-free and Kosher, and always made with simple, real ingredients, but the finished flavor is anything but simple. The sweet barbeque is not the typical barbeque that everyone uses, this is more of a sweet Kansas City rib joint barbeque sauce.
Gaea, the leading international manufacturer of Greek olive oil, was teaming up with its Chief Wellness Officer Vicky Vlachonis and author to share the benefits of olive oil. In addition to sharing her insight into olive oil, Vicky was also sharing tips from her book "The Body Doesn't Lie" which covers such topics as how to end chronic pain and the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Vicky focuses on finding the underlying cause to pain as opposed to a short-term treatment and she also discusses the benefits of a proper diet and how the stomach is in many ways a second brain. Vicky also talked about starting your day with a shot of olive oil and how beneficial that is and using olive oil in a variety of ways in your diet beyond simply as a cooking oil or a salad dressing. When discussing Gaea and olive oil in general, Vicky was quick to point out that all olive oils are not created equal and you might not know where everything in a certain bottle might originate from. That is what sets Gaea apart from others, each bottle has a label that tells you the date of bottling and where it comes from.
Our favorite alternative to typical and unhealthy pasta, Gabriella’s Kitchen and skinnypasta™ was wowing Expo West with their healthy pasta alternatives. skinnypasta™ starts off with fresh, natural, high-quality ingredients and are handmade with an artisanal Italian pasta machine. skinnypasta™ contains no GMO, no additives and no preservatives. skinnypasta™ has a pasta for everyone, high protein fresh pasta that is enriched with vegetarian protein, gluten-free prepared entrees that are made free of wheat, corn and soy. Then there is the fantastic penne superfood made with teff. If you don't know what teff is you aren't alone, it is an ancient grain that’s high in protein and gluten-free, creating the perfect pasta. Whether you are looking for a pasta for your kitchen or for a quick and easy lunch such as the incredibly tasty vegetable lasagna, skinnypasta™ is a must for your kitchen. With all of the flawed pasta alternatives out there, skinnypasta™ is one that got it right. For more information visit: skinnypasta™
SujaOrganic Crushed Raspberry Probiotic Water won the 2016 “Best of West: Press Award.” For more information visit: SujaOrganic
While there seems to be a bar for everyone and every flavor, Expo West found a new entry into the field. The unique and tasty Wild Zora. Tagging itself as The Original Meat & Veggie Bar® this might sound like an odd combination when it comes to flavor and texture for a bar, but it works perfectly. Co-founder Zora Tabin created Wild Zora created these bars at her kitchen table and perfected her recipes using organic vegetables and grass-fed, free-range meat that contains no added hormones, antibiotics or nitrates. Each bar is soft and tender and full of flavors such as Chili Beef Bars with Kale, Apricot, Cayenne Pepper. A healthy snack for the middle of the day and perfect for kids. For more information visit: Wild Zora
Some of the other products that caught our eye and are certainly worth a try include; FORTO, a shot version of coffee, the two ounce to-go cup of coffee is made with organic certified Arabica coffee and contains the natural energy of two cups of coffee and comes in some tasty flavors including caramel. Viki's Granola is unlike any other granola you have ever tasted. Created with 100% ALL NATURAL, Gluten-Free ingredients, whatever flavor you eat, you can taste what is on the label. Banana Walnut and the Apple Cinnamon versions, well you are not going to have to go looking for those main ingredients and the apple alone in the Apple Cinnamon makes this worth trying. If you are looking for the most unique ice cream to hit the market maybe ever, you have to try Brio. Great ice cream that was created with a little bit of creative genius to create the only ice cream that shoudl be in your freezer. Starting with organic milk, smart sweeteners, probiotics, smart fats, antioxidants and more. Yes you get great flavor, vanilla caramel, dark chocolate and some other great flavors that will change the way you look at ice cream. Chef Maneet Chauhan (as seen on “Chopped”) was attending Expo West as the Royal Basmati Rice Brand Ambassador and was serving up recipes to Expo West attendees, such as her Royal Basmati Rice Phirnee Truffles and a Saffron Royal Basmati, Kale and Pomegranate Salad.
Natural Products Expo West was a huge success once again in terms of pure numbers, but the true success comes in forms that can't be measured. While bringing people from all over the United States and further, Expo West is the place that brings the organic and natural products together for one massive celebration. A family environment has been created at Expo West and the importance of that is that it is all about the people. Expo West is all about looking to make the world a better place, bringing new products and ideas to the public and creating a spot in the retail world that continues to grow to the point where organics are no longer a niche, but a leader in the retail industry.