I had the wonderful opportunity of attending and speaking at the Natural Products Expo East show last week in Baltimore. While smaller than it's counterpart Expo West, which takes place in Anaheim in March, this show is all about the good food community. Good food manufacturers exhibiting their latest and greatest products, and stakeholders having important discussions about how to be a part of the solution to making our food environment better, both through the education programming portion of the Expo as well as in countless dinners, events and networking get-togethers before and after the show.
Ideologically, there were so many rich discussions I want to share and these thoughts will come in another blog post. Here, I want to share my top three product finds at Expo East. Normally, I identify a trend theme and share my favorite finds that fit within that theme. For this show, I am sharing three products that I was attracted to for their value propositions and which delivered on my expectations for great taste, whole ingredients and good nutrition.
Anita's Coconut Milk Yogurt
I have to avoid dairy and have been delighted by SOME of the more recent dairy-free yogurts on the market, most of which are nut based. However, coconut milk-based yogurts haven't impressed me much so far...until I tasted Anita's. This is a truly creamy dairy-free yogurt. There is nothing gelatinous or fake feeling about it. The plain flavor contains nothing but coconut milk, coconut water and live active cultures. No sweeteners are needed because the sweet flavor of the coconut comes through. The flavored varieties--Blueberry Chia and Mango--contain organic coconut sugar as a sweetener.
Crazy Go Nuts Walnuts Snacks and Butters
There is no denying the health benefits of walnuts. The amount of research showing their rich nutrition profile, including being a plant-based source of omega-3 fats, continues to pile up. But many do not consider walnuts a snacking nut, just a cooking and baking nut. I have always begged to differ, but Crazy Go Nuts is making it a reality. Their variety of sweet and savory snacking walnuts and nut butters offers a flavor profile for everyone. One of my favorite aspects of the brand is their packaging, which provides recommendations for how to use the walnuts and walnut butters in your favorite dishes. For example, their Rosemary and Himalayan Pink Salt variety recommends incorporating into cheese plates, vegetable platters and stuffing and roast chicken recipes.
Cham Cold Brew Tea
I've enjoyed a hot cup (or large mug) of tea every single morning since I was about 12 years old. And I order an iced tea when I can count on a fresh-brewed, high quality tea. Very few bottled iced tea brands have impressed me so far. When I came to the Cham booth and saw the sign for cold brew tea I was skeptical, especially since I'm not a coffee drinker and haven't experienced the cold brew obsession. WOW! Cham cold brew iced teas are clean tasting with no bitter after taste. They are made from water, tea leaves, lemon and raw honey, which is the last ingredient of the statement. I generally avoid sweetened iced teas, but the honey is used sparingly and the taste is not cloyingly sweet or funky tasting due to an artificial sweetener. Their black tea-based Ginger Palmer is the only variety that also contains stevia. Love that they share where the tea leaves are sourced from.