A record setting 67,000 people attended the Natural Products Expo West this weekend. The Anaheim convention center could barely house the 3,000 exhibitors and getting through the whole expo was pretty much impossible (even if you arrived when doors opened and stayed all day).
This year’s show featured nearly 700 new attendees according to event host New Hope Natural Media. The group summarized the weekend’s events in a March 10th press release.
“The move toward natural, organic and healthy products is not a fad, but a societal shift that is poised to grow to $226 billion by 2018 with an annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton, today announced Natural Products Expo West concluded a record-breaking event March 6-9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in CA. The event grew five percent bringing together over 67,000 industry members, more than 2,600 exhibiting companies and the most first-time exhibitors in the event’s history. From food and beverage to supplements and beauty to household and pet products, the event provided a window into the many categories driving the growth of the global natural products industry.”
2. Vegetarian Plus Meals: This company specializes in frozen meat substitutes. They were sampling everything from vegan tuna to vegan lamb vindaloo. The tuna salad was the standout for me. It was the first time I’d tried vegan fish that didn’t have a weird rubbery texture. But really all of their “meats” were really tasty. The only downside is, almost all their products contain wheat so it won’t work for people with Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. I didn’t know about the wheat until after I’d tried four different samples. Needless to say, things did not end well for me.
3. Silver Hills Gluten Free Bread: I’m very picky about packaged gluten free bread. Most of the time they all taste like really thick cardboard, but the Silver Hills bread actually tasted like regular bread. The samples they had out were topped with coconut oil, which turned the bread into a nice light dessert. I fell deeper in love with this bread when I saw that it is certified organic, non GMO, vegan, and only 80 calories per slice.
4. Shasha Co. Lemon Snap Cookies: Cookies with prebiotics and probiotics? Nothing like eating cookies to help your digestion. The company also has two wheat free flavors made with spelt flour. I fell in love with the lemon snaps.
5. Vega Protein Bars and Powders: Vega is plant based and all their products are vegan. They are not non-GMO verified yet, but the labels do say they use non-GMO materials. I like them because the powders are gluten free and taste much better than most protein powders. The Vega One line also incorporates other essential vitamins to help maintain a balanced diet. For example, the Vega One smoothies have two servings of vegetables in each serving.
6. Black Bear Energy: This company uses B12 instead of relying on caffeine to give customers an energy boost. The concentrated B12 spray got me going in 20 minutes. I felt energized, but not jittery like when I have too much coffee. The creators of this line boast that they use the best forms of B12 (hydroxycobalamin & adenosylcobalamin). Apparently most B12 supplements use Cyano-B12, which contains trace amounts of cyanide. I can’t really verify how true their claims are, but I do know the spray and drink taste a lot better than the typical B12 supplement (have you ever tried the pills? They taste like vomit).
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