Highlights From The 2017 Natural Products Expo West

March 25th, 2017 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health


You know you’re at Expo when . . . your friend the vegan power lifter is double-fisting two 35-lb jackfruits while a bunch of people snap Instagrams and Boomerangs. Huzzah!

Sooooo Expo! Expo West is the largest “natural living” trade show in the world; a 4-day extravaganza of healthy food, bath/body/beauty, supplements/wellness, cleaning/home, and any other eco-lifestyle product you can imagine, and it all takes place every March at the Anaheim convention center. It’s a bit of a shangri-la for those of us in the healthy-living community, and it’s always a totally wild, totally overwhelming, totally exciting adventure.

Whenever I go to Expo, I try to think of some creative or clever “angle” for my write-up. Should I forecast future health trends? Focus on new kid-friendly foods? Or maybe, like I was thinking of doing this year, write a think piece on the way that the health community is changing, returning to its crunchy “granola” roots.

But then, I also always feel like that’s kind of not what people really want? Like, on the years that I don’t get to go to Expo and all my friends are there, I’m not posting on social media asking them for their thoughtful analysis of the health and wellness industry. No . . .

I just want food pics! I want to know what’s new and I want to get excited about eating it!!

So this year, for this blog, that’s just what I’m doing. I’m sharing all the super awesome exciting delicious new vegan eats, because there’s a lot of them and it’s raaaaad! No lofty think pieces or fancy-pants analysis. I ate yummy food, and it’s coming soon to a grocers near you! So let me tell you what I loved the very most . . .


So can I just say? Follow Your Heart is KILL. ING. IT.

I grew up on this brand so they will always have a special place in my heart, but in the past few years they’ve completely upped their game with a series of seriously ground-breaking products being released on the regular. I mean, Vegenaise is my all-time favorite vegan mayo, and I love their cheeses – especially their block and sliced cheeses – and their gluten-free bread is the *best*. But apparently that’s only the beginning.


This new line of soy-free yogurts is awesome, and with fun uncommon flavors like piña colada, key lime, and strawberry rhubarb, they totally remind me of those Yoplaits from the 80s that came in a million different flavor combinations. I loved those! And these are the same — super fun and a nice departure from the old standards.


For those of you who already love the VeganEgg, you might be excite to learn that the product will soon be released in a liquid form! Just pour and go, easy peasy.


And the glorious pièce de résistance: ROCKET CAKES! Probably (okay definitely) my favorite new food find from Expo 2017, this is gluten free vegan pancake batter that comes ready to squeeze onto the griddle, just open and pour, no mixing no mess. And they are good.


From a big brand, to a baby brand — this was one of my favorite discoveries in the “New Vendors” exhibit hall. Elmhurst “milked nuts” offers a line of nut milks that are free of the gums, thickeners, emulsifiers, and other additives that are so common in plant-based milks. Each variety (almond, cashew, hazelnut, and walnut mmmm) is just water, nuts, cane sugar, and salt. And they’re sooooo delicious!


So like I said, Vegenaise has long been my favorite vegan mayo, which is why I was always reticent to try Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, the new kid on the mayo block. But . . . WOW. This stuff is amazing! It uses aquafaba (whipped chickpea liquid), which gives an incredibly light and fluffy texture. Try the chipotle, it’s A++.


And speaking of mayo, the folks at Field Roast/Chao have an expansive new range of products, from Chao mayo and butter, to various mac ‘n cheeses (!!!), to fun frozen meat subs like buffalo tenders and mini corn dogs! Alas, they are gluten-full, so I wasn’t able to try them myself. However, I have it on good authority that the entire line is deeeeelicious.


I’m not one of those pumpkin spice people, but DANG these new cheesecakes were awesome.


Another favorite find from the “New Vendors” hall, these buffalo nut wings are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted and I could eat the whole bag in one sitting. Buffalo walnuts??! Why didn’t I think of that!


And finally, helloooo gluten-free ice cream sandwich cookies from Coconut Bliss! I’m thinking these will become a permanent fixture in my freezer, come summer.


And that’s it! The best of the [Expo] west, in my very humble opinion.

So now I’m curious — what are YOU most excited about? Something I’ve posted here? Something you saw in the flurry of Instagram photos that bloggers were posting from Expo? Or maybe . . . a thoughtful analysis of the health and wellness industry, eh? Lemme know!

  • http://lightweighteats.com/ Michaela@The Lightweight Eats

    Yes! This is exactly what I wanted. My husband is pumped about the key lime yogurt (and probably the pumpkin spice cheezecake that I’m going to tell him about when he wakes up from his nap). I’m SO EXCITED about corn dogs. I’ve never been a huge mayo person, so those aren’t super interesting to me. The FYH vegan egg is still on our list to try, but it’s $$$uper expensive!! Maybe a birthday treat at some point, but we’re getting on well with vegan baking without it, and it doesn’t have the nutritional profile of eggs, so it’s not a great substitute for things like omelets in my opinion.

  • Amey Mathews

    so awesome! thank you! I’ve never been to Expo and every year I am filled with FOMO and I read every instagram post and dream of the day when these new and exciting products will find their way to little ol’ santa cruz. I love reading about your favorites (you are correct in your assessment, that this is exactly the information I wanted!) ha ha. I am super excited about the cookie ice cream sandwiches — why has this been an absence in the vegan ice cream market for so long!? And didn’t realize they are gf, which is even better because I can share with my gf pals! xo

  • Kati

    So cool! Are there any vegan substitutes that you like even though you weren’t a fan of the non-vegan version? Mayo’s always grossed me out but whipped chick pea liquid and chipotles are something I could get into