By blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!
Last week was the huge food trade show in L.A. called Natural Products Expo West – one of my absolute favorite work-related events. This year there were 80,000 attendees, making it the world’s largest natural products event! One downside: Uber surcharges ;). After its inception in 1981, it has continued to grow and now attracts over 3,000 companies in the “natural” industry space with representation from 113 countries.
I love this expo for so many reasons, including learning about up and coming trends, new research, new companies, and new product offerings about to hit the shelves. This year I saw LOTS of bone broth, chickpeas in the form of chips and more, paleo this-and-that, plus plenty of regulars like bars and cold brews, and finally many different types of ‘booch, which is short for kombucha. And today I want to share with you some cool new products, including real food snacks, that I’m personally excited to see in stores soon. Please note it may take some time for these products to be readily available, but be on the lookout in the coming months.
You know we are constantly on the hunt for good, clean on-the-go snacks, and sometimes I feel like I need to be a detective in this area since there are so many that include artificial and processed ingredients. The good news? You won’t find any of that in Made in Nature’s Figgy Pops. They’re delicious little bites of goodness made from a blend of organic figs, dried fruit, nuts or seeds, and yummy flavorings like coconut, cinnamon, or cocoa. Chances are good that you’ve seen the big bags at Costco, Whole Foods Market, and other stores, but this year they’re debuting single serving packages which are super for lunch boxes, post workout snacks, and especially for kids on-the-go after school snacks. My personal fave: new flavors that are filled with almond and cashew butter. Talk about a party in your mouth :).
Maple Hill Creamery Maple Kefir
Fermented foods are a hot topic these days, and kefir is no exception. Kefir is a fermented milk drink which is rich in probiotics – another hot topic these days. Kefir contains lots of vitamins and minerals, but unfortunately, most brands contain lots of added sugar, too, which is why I was so excited to see Maple Hill Creamery’s Kefir sweetened only with maple syrup. There are minimal ingredients in this kefir, including certified organic 100% grass-fed pasteurized whole milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract along with live and active cultures. My kids love kefir, so I’m stoked to let them try this new, clean version.
UnReal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
Okay, okay … so I realize that candy is a treat full of sugar and therefore a once-in-a-while thing. But if I’m being honest, it happens at my house (and I’m guessing yours, too). And for that reason, we’re big fans of UnReal’s candy that’s free of GMOs and artificial ingredients – including food dyes (a definite no-no on our list).
UnReal has a few different products coming to a store near you on March 30th, but there are two that I’m personally SUPER excited about: Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups and Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems. I have an intolerance to peanut butter, so the almond butter is huge for me. And back in the day, I loved crispy M & M’s. Yes, it’s true. While I don’t eat them anymore, this is a great alternative when I’m jonesing for something sweet. Oh, and P.S. – either of these could be an option for those who give candy on Easter, wink-wink.
Chosen Foods Mayo
You have likely heard us mention various products from Chosen Foods in the past, and this year I was so excited to see some more innovative products that I know will become staples. We love their clean avocado oil mayo, and now they’re kicking it up a notch with a (get this) Wasabi Mayo (helllooo homemade spicy tuna) and also a coconut oil mayo. Talk about a match made in heaven!
One of the things I love about this trade show is discovering new brands I’m not familiar with. Such is the case with The Maple Guild, who apparently uses a steam process to convert the maple sap, which is supposed to create a lighter product. Now I know nothing about making syrup from sap, but I do know that their products tasted amazing and are unique to boot. We’re talking maple vinegar, spreadable organic maple cream, and variations of this where it’s combined with tahini in one version, hazelnut and chocolate in another, and chocolate and peanut butter in a third. These were wicked good.
New Barn Almond Milk
So you probably know that Lisa and her family drink whole milk, and so does my family, by the way. But I’ve been lactose intolerant most of my life, so I need dairy-free options that are free of all the extra additives – no thank you! So this is one product I found and LOVE and want to tell you about. And no, they are not a sponsor!
For anyone who has tried almond milk, the taste is generally not the best or the ingredients are not that great. Well, let me tell you that the team at New Barn got it right. The taste is beYOND amazing and here are the ingredients: organic almond milk (spring water, organic almonds), organic maple syrup, organic acacia gum, sea salt.
I’m super psyched to find this almond milk and the other real food snacks I mentioned above, too. Which one are you most excited to learn about?