|So sad this is among best photos with both of us from the trip|
I’m sitting on the plane. My magazine binge is complete (Food & Wine’s “The New Healthy” issue good but Bon Appetit’s Culture even better), inbox has been cleaned out, the book I’m reading at a lull and it’s not yet time for a snack…so I thought I’d tell you a little about Expo West. Expo West is this massive Natural Foods Show; all the big players have booths and events and rookie players or new food companies come to get a jump-start. People spend days at this show. Carolyn and I were determined to see it all in one day and 23, 000+ steps later we did.
If I were to pick out a few trends or things we saw a lot of I’d say jerky is a big deal. These new offerings are a world away from Slim Jim. If you don’t think you’re the jerky type I’d do some taste testing. Carolyn said she felt many more products geared toward men and I’d agree. “Mancakes” is an example of this (get it man + pancakes?). We saw some tea but coffee, particularly jazzed up coffee, was everywhere. There was coffee mixed with other ingredients (maca and guarana) and also coffee blended with nut milks. And our favorite of course….lattes on tap.
There was a whole lotta kombucha happening but many of the newer brands had more sugar than the Heathade and Synergy we covet. In terms of other beverages, a few of our favorite companies have come out with unsweetened versions. We’re saving our winner for May and our Pre-Summer Squeeze program (so good, sorry to tease). In terms of sweeteners, monk fruit is making a name for itself. It’s zero calories and has no aftertaste. To be honest, I haven’t monkfruited a lot and initially dismissed it so I have to do some tasting.
And for anyone who said gluten free was a fad, read this study and take our word for it, it’s bigger than ever. And I’m not talking gluten free treats or gluten free crap but gluten free meal items like our beloved Banza. See their new packaging?
Carolyn and I were determined not to over sample. We tried to divide and conquer- Carolyn would taste sweet and I’d cover savory. We ended up both tasting both. I refuse to really ponder what I ingested but there was gluten free pizza (sample size but it was 9:30 am), Banza’s new mac and cheese, every coffee product offered, apple cider vinegar and more. Did I mention we walked 10 miles? I said to Carolyn we’d need to do it again to make up for our excessive testing.
Oh and the nastiest item of the day was definitely a nutrition bar made from crickets (not Exo…those are fine) and flavored with matcha. It had the worst aftertaste and we felt ill but as we rounded the corner Hu Kitchen to the rescue, a chocolate chaser makes every better.
Which of these trends or categories would you like to hear more about? Would you eat products made from crickets (you will likely see more…protein)? What’s your favorite magazine or podcast these days?