Friday and Saturday I spent my days walking the exhibit halls of Natural Products Expo West, the annual conference celebrating the latest and greatest natural food, beauty and household products. In this part 1 of 2 series, I will share with you my favorite new products in the gluten-free food space, now a $2.6 billion market and growing strong, as it is estimated that it will grow by $2.8 billion in the next four years.
I concentrated this year on identifying more nutrient-dense gluten-free products and was happy to see many utilizing nuts, beans and whole grains as their primary ingredients, thereby adding much-needed fiber and micronutrients to the diet.
Canyon Bakehouse – Look out gluten free bakeries. This relatively newcomer was the talk of the town amongst the gluten free for their awesome sandwich breads, muffins, foccaccia and hamburger buns. For starters, their foccaccia, which is completely new to the space, is outstanding. It has a nice moist texture and olive oil, rosemary and thyme flavor. And while I might not remember what a gluten-containing muffin tastes like, I do believe I would have gladly eaten their cranberry crunch flavor prior to going gluten free. It is that good. What I like most about this brand is their commitment to using whole grains in their sandwich breads, resulting in two grams of fiber per slice.
Organic Falafel Chips by Flamous Brands – Oh, how I miss falafel. Real falafel should be gluten free, but unfortunately the falafel stands and packaged varieties usually contain it. These chips, made with non-GMO corn and beans (chickpeas, fava and/or black beans) taste strikingly similar to the real thing, thanks to a mix of 20 organic vegetables and spices. These whole grain corn and bean chips provide 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and only 6 grams of fat in a one ounce serving, making this snack a welcome addition to the nutrient-deficient chip aisle.
*The Good Bean – Speaking of beans, I was lucky to come across a brand new roasted chickpea snack that wasn’t even being exhibited at the show. I bumped into the two founders while walking the floor, one of which I worked with in the past, and become one of the first to sample this nutritious and tasty snack. They are whole chickpeas roasted with canola oil and herbs and spices and come in four flavors: sea salt, cracked pepper (my favorite); sweet cinnamon and; smoky chili and lime. The texture is a dryer, chewy version of the chickpea. One ¼ cup serving leaves both the taste buds and the tummy satisfied and provides 7 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of fat (none saturated) and 8% of the daily value for calcium and iron. I love this snack. My only reservation is the addition of brown rice syrup, which contributes added sugars. Perhaps they can find a way to use less.
*Yumnuts – The name says it all. This line of flavored cashews and almonds are yummed up with a light coating of flavorful ingredients that don’t add too much in the way of fat and calories. When plain old nuts just won’t satisfy, you can indulge in honey, toasted coconut, chocolate, sea salt, chili lime or spicy cajun cashews and chocolate, cinnamon or ginger orange almonds without the guilt. Everyone can find a palate pleaser, as the line spans from the sweet to the savory. And for all you chocolate lovers out there, the chocolate cashews and almonds are a better-for-you option when craving the classic salty-sweet pairing of chocolate and nuts.
*Betty Lou’s Gluten Free Dried Peanut Butter - All natural nut butters are delicious, nutritious and loaded with the heart-healthy fats we should be eating more of, so I was skeptical of this product that brought me back to the fat-fearing days of the 90’s. Why the need for a reduced fat peanut butter? Betty Lou herself gave me the answer. In addition to mixing with water and eating it as a nut butter, the powdered peanut mixture is a great way of adding real peanut flavor to recipes that only need the peanut flavor and not the rich, creamy texture. With 85% less fat per serving than regular peanut butter, this powdered version is a great addition to smoothies and hot cereals and a good option for making Thai peanut sauce and baked goods. Coconut sugar is added to the mixture. Thanks, Betty Lou, for enlightening me!
Julie’s Gluten Free Ice Cream Sandwiches – Hands down this was my favorite discovery at Expo West. I’m sure many of you know the item, but it was new to me so I’m sharing it with those who have been in the dark. While the previous items focused on nutrient-dense snacks, this item is all about making the taste buds happy. The line of ice cream sandwiches contain rich, creamy ice cream, made from organic ingredients, enclosed by two yummy gluten free sandwich cookies. They come in four flavors, two of which are new and just introduced at Expo West. The original flavors are Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sandwich Cookies and Lemon Yogurt with Vanilla Sandwich Cookies. The newcomers are Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Ginger Sandwich Cookies (my personal fave) and Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. All I can say is that I felt like a kid again eating these ice cream sandwiches…with not a gluten worry in the world.
* These items are not certified gluten free nor prepared in a dedicated facility. Please contact the manufacturer for full disclosure of manufacturing practices.
Stay tuned for The Best of Expo West Part 2, where I will share my naturally gluten free favorites.This entry was posted in Product Reviews and tagged almonds, Betty Lou's Powdered Peanut Butter, Canyon Bakehouse, cashews, chickpeas, Expo West, Falafel Chips, gluten free, gluten free breads, gluten free foccaccia, gluten free muffins, Julie's Gluten Free Ice Cream Sandwiches, The Good Bean, Yumnuts. Bookmark the permalink.← Triumph Dining’s 2011 Best of Gluten Free Winners – Part 1Eat Right with Color – Red, Orange, Yellow and Brown Foods →