Expo West 2017 Recap- Q&A with LMS Accounts Director, Lauren Jones
We apologize for any cravings this post may cause
Whether you have been eating organic for years or still don’t know what GMO stands for, there is no question that this year’s Natural Foods Expo West featured delicious snacks that anyone would love. Expo West is the industry’s largest trade show for natural food, exhibiting both established and up-and-coming food and beverage brands. We sat down with our very own Lauren Jones to get the scoop on all of the amazing brands in attendance at the event:
What are some trends you are noticing in the direction that healthy snacks and beverages are heading?
Matcha and Cold Brew were everywhere — a healthier alternative to energy/caffeine on the go! My favorites from Expo were MatchaBar and HeyDay Cold-Brewed. Bone Broth and plant based foods and beverages were another major trend. I was very impressed with Ripple Milks. They’re made from peas, but taste great! I’ll be looking for their products in my grocery store, for sure. Lastly, Popcorn was everywhere too in so many fun flavors!
Over 3,000 natural and organic companies exhibited at Expo West this year. If you could only take 3 of these items home with you, what would they be?
That’s tough! Outside of our clients whose products I love, I was a big fan of Hippeas Chickpea Puffs, Good Seed Hemp Seed Burgers, and Dry Sparkling Sodas.
What was the most surprising or unusual food or beverage at this year’s expo?
Wilde Snacks Chicken Chips — they are always ahead of the curve with their products and this is another example. The chips were delicious and made from thinly sliced chicken breast meat!
What would you recommend for someone looking a healthy alternative for a sweet snack?
K’ul Chocolate Bars. They’ve created some really tasty bars that you don’t have to feel guilty about! I kept wanting to go back for more of their samples.
What would you recommend for someone looking for a filling/protein-packed option?
Chef’s Cut Jerky! They just released new flavors and snack sticks. They also have some more great new products in the pipeline for this year!
Getting kids excited about eating healthy can be hard! Did Expo West expose you to any options that you found to be particularly kid friendly?
Yes! So many brands have come up with ways to disguise veggies or other healthy ingredients in delicious products. Banana Joe Chips are made from bananas but have incorporated fun flavors like Hickory BBQ and Thai Sweet Chili. They still have as much crunch as a regular potato chip, too. Honestly, kids probably like them better!
Many of the food and beverage choices at Expo West featured
eye-catching packaging and designs filled with bright colors or unusual shapes. What brand would you say has the most innovative or creative packaging?
MatchaBar with their clever comedian tweets! SmashMallow’s branding is so cute! They’ve done a great job and it really invites you to pick up the product.
The organic food and beverage industry is rapidly growing and penetrating the mainstream food market. Why do you think this is?
People are becoming more and more invested in their health and seeking out companies who not only make good tasting or well-packaged products, but also ones that are thinking of health and discovering innovative ways to better our eating habits. Consumers today have so much access to products- nothing is out of reach!- so companies are having to up their game to provide something that is new and exciting, while also being health conscious.
Did any of the brands featured at Expo West have a particularly interesting background story or cause?
The Soulfull Project makes hot cereals and for each one that is purchased, they donate one to a food bank local to your area! Serving for Serving. I loved how they localized it to the consumer so that they can make an impact on their own community simply through their product choice.
Empact Bars are also another emerging brand with a mission to EMpower women to make an imPACT (EMPACT) by partnering with non-profit organizations that support women and girls.
For those of us who aren’t quite used to eating organic,
what food and/or beverage would you recommend that we try?
There are so many amazing organic products out now that you can start with anything! If you’re looking for a beverage that is a better option for you but still packs a ton of flavor, the CORE Organic line is great. They have really fun flavors like Watermelon Lemonade and Peach Mango — all infused with organic juices.
Nom Nom Nom
From matcha to chicken chips to marshmallow’s, this year’s expo had it all! There is nothing we love more than delicious snacks made with natural ingredients that you don’t have to feel guilty about munching on. Next time you’re feeling hungry, try something from one of the amazing brand’s featured at Expo West for a healthy and satisfying choice.
To learn more about how we help brands like the one’s at Expo West, check us out!