I continue to have a love/hate relationship with the Natural Foods Expo. Being the largest food show in the world with 350,000 square feet of exhibitor space, close to 3000 exhibitors and 100,000 attendees it is more than challenging to navigate the crowds not to mention having to arrive 2 hours before the doors open just to get a parking space.
Jeffrey and I reluctantly go so I can talk to the food vendors for the products I frequently recommend, get the pulse on new items and a feel for all new food trends.
The themes are still non-gmo, gluten free, and now soy-free. Probiotics were laced in everything imaginable from gummy bears, to chocolate to water. Nut butters, bars, chocolate, and tea in every imaginable form, consistency and shape abound around every corner.
It’s curious to me that many vendors are still not all that friendly and equipped with knowledge of the contents of their products so the ones I’ve included were opposite of that and willing to share products, answer any of my questions and take feedback positively.
Jeffrey found the Love Bottle, which is an eco-friendly vessel that is PBA-free, reusable, customizable, and made in the USA. Their mission is to “spread the love,” and help the environment by preventing landfills from being filled with plastic bottles. It is a cool bottle to bring with you filled with water or your favorite beverage, and they sell carriers to assist with transporting.
As probiotics are the hit, I was on the hunt for one that contained 50-billion bacteria per capsule. Live probiotics are much more effective, but the freeze-dried ones are great for travel and if you want to avoid drinking the beverage ones. A company called Renew Life provided the answer with their product, and they were fun and friendly to talk to in addition lots of great information. Carlson also has a new freeze-dried 25 -billion probiotic supplement and as you know, I am a big fan of their fish oil.
I was able to meet friends from my favorite chocolate bar company Alter Eco. Sam Shisler was more than happy to answer my questions. Their 85% dark chocolate blackout bar is the best one I’ve ever tasted outside of Switzerland and is gluten-free, soy free, non-gmo and organic all in one. The best news besides the taste is that it won’t break your pocket as so many dark chocolate bars are exorbitantly priced; this one is not and has great shelf life as well.
Kelapo is an awesome coconut oil and I absolutely love their coconut oil spray. It has a great clean taste and has many uses for all your culinary needs, and we’ve utilized it for multiple recipes. All Kelapo products are made from extra-virgin fresh coconut meat and far exceeds other coconut oils.
When I was in Berlin last year we discovered this wonderful tea called LOV Organic. How happy we were to find you could purchase this amazing tea in the US. Apparently in Scandinavian countries, “lov” means “leaf,” and they really do put love in their tea. Their best seller is Lov is Zen, and it’s the best organic herbal tea we have yet to find.
If you want a tasty marinade for your favorite BBQ, Bone Suckin’ Sauce is made with only molasses, spices and no MSG. It contains 5 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon so you’ll still have to watch the amount but the flavor is clean and they use authentic spices and flavoring. Pat Ford is one of the friendliest guys around and very generous with their products.
Although there are a plethora of Greek yogurts on the market I found a flavorful one free of anything detrimental and full of taste. Green Mountain Creamery’s full fat Greek plain yogurt has a great taste and much less sour than other plain yogurts so it’s a nice addition to the yogurt market.
And finally we found a treat for those who have a sweet tooth. There is a new kid on the block with respect to organic ice-cream with all natural great ingredients. Humboldt Creamery has 5 flavors of ice-cream, made from cows that are pasture-raised all year round. Just stick to a ½ cup serving and you’ll be fine on the carbohydrate front.
Although many of the products at the Natural Foods Expo are anything but natural, laced with multiple ingredients, faux sweeteners and high in carbs, it’s still fun to see the new products and trends.
Though food products are continually evolving to try to grasp the most in vogue trend, it is still essential to remember that consuming real whole foods that your grandmother would recognize work best for your DNA, body and health. Having said that, maybe next year I will avoid the 350,000 square feet of crowds, parking challenges and stick to the Farmer’s market and the natural foods in my own refrigerator – but I have the next year to decide. But then again, it is a true adult trick or treat day once a year.