During the extended weekend of March 9 – 11th, I, along with 60,000 other people, attended Natural Products Expo West 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Expo West is where the natural products industry comes to show off their products and to meet up with distributors, buyers, sellers, and press. There are beauty products, supplements, house hold products, and tons and tons of food. In my 3 days at Expo West I managed to get through just about the entire show. I found so much fun stuff that I’ll have to do a few more posts to cover it all.
Here are my favorite NEW COMPANIES from Expo West. (In no particular order)
Qunioa gives Qrunch Burger its name and its crunch.
Qrunch Burger. Qrunch Burger is not your everyday veggie burger. The taste and texture alone make it a stand out. It’s super crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. This is a crazy good patty made out of quinoa, millet and veggies. They had an original and Italian seasoned one – I loved the Italian. Qrunch also happens to be free of every common allergen. We are talking gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, corn-free, wheat-free, egg-free and nut free. Basically anyone is free to eat these. I made sure I frequented the Qrunch booth whenever I was hungry at Expo. Look for them at your local store or ask your store to carry them.
Harmless Harvest coconut water.
Harmless Harvest is probably the company I was most excited to check out at Expo. From the never ending crowd around their booth, it was clear I wasn’t the only one. Harmless Harvest is the first raw and organic, ready to drink, coconut water. Prior to meeting the Harmless Harvest team I had no idea that other coconut waters were heated. No wonder all the other packaged coconut waters didn’t taste like real coconut water! Harmless Harvest sources their coconuts from small family farms in Thailand and uses a heatless high pressurization process to inhibit bacteria growth and make it safe. What this means is that it actually tastes like it is coming right out of the coconut AND it’s still raw so you aren’t going to miss out on any of coconut water’s amazing benefits. If you happen to see a bottle of pink coconut water by Harmless Harvest, don’t worry. The level of phenols in the water can make the water turn pink. Other companies add chemicals to stop this from happening. But pink is harmless, so HH let it be. Unfortunately the coconut water is packaged in plastic but that is the only option that can handle the high pressurization processing at this stage. This company cares about doing everything as sustainably as possible so I’m sure they will forgo plastic if another option arises.
One Degree organic foods. At Expo West, One Degree was debuting its line of veganic sprouted grain breads. From the field to the bakery, every step is vegan and organic – veganic. This is a company that is staying true to the meaning of organic and adding transparency so you can see it for yourself. On the front of every package is a square QR code so anyone with a smart phone or internet access can scan the code and see the entire life story of every ingredient used, down to the family farm on which it was grown. Pretty cool, right? Just when you think bread can’t get any more exciting, rumor has it they have a gluten-free option on the way.
Rumor has it they are working on a gluten-free bread.
Common Good bulk refill soap. Common Good is my favorite new non-food company. They provide refill stations at your grocery store where you can refill your own bottles of soaps and detergents. Think about how much less waste we would all have if we refilled our bottles instead of buying new ones, not to mention the manufacturing, labeling, shipping and everything that goes into getting a product onto the grocery store shelves and into your home. Right now the company has laundry, dish, hand and all purpose soaps and they also sell recyclable plastic bottles AND glass ones in case you forgot to save yours. If you want Common Good in your store, ask the store manager for it. And keep asking until they give you a bulk station.
In my dream store, all soaps are sold in bulk refill stations like this.
Hydroflask. Hydroflask isn’t a brand new company, but they are new to me and I think new to Expo West as well. Hydroflask makes stainless steel reusable bottles that have a double wall vacuum insulation. This means that your hot drink stays hot (up to 12 hours) without the bottle ever burning your hand and the cold stays cold (up to 24 hours!) without causing your bottle to sweat and get everything wet. These bottles are lightweight, durable, sweat-proof, freeze-proof, and recycleable. Hydroflask is also a member of 5% back, donating 5% of their gross profits to charity. They come in all shapes, sizes, including a food flask for soups or whatever you want to keep cold or hot. I’m loving this bottle so much I’m going to do a video review as well. Stay tuned.
I picked up the 18oz wide mouth. Check the website for more shapes and sizes.
Food for Lovers Vegan Queso.
Now also in "mild".
Okay, Food for Lovers was at Expo West last year debuting their vegan queso. But I think many of us still don’t know about this company so I’m adding them to this year’s list. Plus, this year they debuted their mild queso. Food for Lovers is brought to us by vegan Texans Chris and Crystal Tate, the sweetest couple around. Trust me, meeting them makes you love their queso even more. They love each other, they love animals and they love their queso. Lucky for us, they decided to share their vegan queso with us. Find them at Whole Foods or check their website for more retailers. FYI, there is another vegan queso on the market that just happened to be trusted with the Food For Lovers recipe. Chris and Crystal are now fighting this in court. Support this amazing couple and get yourself some Food for Lovers vegan queso.
Look for these new products at your local stores, or help the company out and ask your store to start carrying them. You might have to ask a few times but eventually the store will listen, especially if they are a small co-op or natural foods store.