Expo West 2009- Vegan buzz

expo west Just back from the annual 2009 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

Some background: The Expo is a HUGE supply show held to allow manufacturers to introduce their products to the distributors.  Companies spend tons of money on this event in the hopes that stores will pick their products up and begin selling them.  The product developers and company founders are often on hand to speak with attendees about their products.

I found the show itself confusing to navigate this year as the “vegetarian” delineated section from last year was gone and the well-known veg*n company booths were scattered all over.  Additionally, due to rough economic times, many companies scaled back this year (or even did not show up).

Yet I was thrilled to see that more products than ever are going vegan and displaying the “V” logo.
Last year the buzzwords seem to be  “Organic” and “Eco-friendly”, and while those two words were evident this year, while walking the isles I kept hearing the word “vegan” and was surprised to see the word printed on many company signs and brochures.

All this being said, there were only a few new products that really impressed me. One to look out for in stores is Turtle Mountain’s So-Delicious Coconut Yogurt.  Since I found out I’m soy intolerant, this is great news since I miss morning yogurt & like coconut. Even better, they have a new line of Purely Decadent made with coconut rather than soy,…  hooray for Coconut Ice Cream!!! (link) – taste awesome!

If you’re a vegan, and you have never heard of “Salvia Hispanica L”, listen here.   A variety of the ‘chia seed’, and similar in some ways to other super-foods (quinoa, ameranth, etc), it’s said to have amazing properties: 30% more anti-oxidants than blueberries, 6x more calcium than milk, 25% more fiber than flax, 8x more omega 3 than salmon, -more. I’m amazed that I’ve never heard of this, as a 20+year vegan.  So there’s are a number of companies selling this product, but the one who turned me on to it at the show is called “Salba”  (link) While most of their products are vegan, kosher, non-gmo,… they do also still sell some products with gelatin-caps. The products I tried I the show were their new bars, -very edible. Seems like they might not yet be in stores, but look out for them if you like to have a dietary boost when on the go.  Alternately, consider adding them to salads, and your own recipes.

In my next post, I’ll introduce a product that will be out soon which might just change the way the world thinks about cheese.

Expo West website: http://expowest.com

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