Philly called, and we responded: Natural Products Expo East 2022 is officially here!
Stocked to the gills with camera equipment and free samples, our newly expanded press team combed row upon row of exhibitor booths in the 1000-strong (exhibitor) event, and as to the success of day one, we certainly can’t complain.
After just one day, we’ve already rubbed elbows with some of the biggest brands encamped in the Philadelphia Convention Center, while also making sure to hit the hidden gems we knew would be attending.
We’re far from done, but we ran a gamete today, including conversations and/or interviews with Liquid I.V., Supplant, Life Extension, and several other reputable brands in attendance.
1. Wishgarden Herbs
Sporting a broad variety of herbally infused wellness extracts with playfully potty-mouthed labels, Wishgarden Herbs was one of the first booths we visited at this expo.
“Head of Hype” Jamie McKeown explained to us how each liquid extract uses a carefully formulated blend of ingredients to enhance immunity, gut health, energy level, and other key components of wellness.
Still fresh from traveling across the country, we eagerly swilled down a few cups (compostable, of course) of “Kick-A**” Immune Activator and scooted our way to the next booth—thanks Jamie!
It certainly isn’t the first pasta alternative we’ve come across, but still, NuPasta piqued our press team’s interest for a couple of key reasons.
First, as Marketing Manager Jonathan Leung explained to us, NuPasta contains a fraction of the calories of standard (wheat-based) pasta—more than 80% fewer per serving—with three times as much fiber.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, this konjac-root-based pasta was by far the closest in taste and texture to standard pasta out of all the alternatives we’ve tried.
3. 4 Gauge
Downing a pre-workout drink from a shotgun-shell-themed can may look like a recipe for regret at first sight, but in contrast to the aggressive aesthetic, we were pleased to find a well-balanced ingredient list powering 4 Gauge’s pre-workout drinks.
Unlike most pre-workout drinks that load you up with a huge shot of caffeine while sneaking in artificial ingredients, 4 Gauge incorporates L-theanine, rhodiola rosea, creatine monohydrate, and a smaller amount of caffeine (150mg) among other ingredients to energize, build muscle, and aid in recovery.
If you’ve ever had the jitters and/or the “itchies” associated with poorly made pre-workout drinks, as Chief Fitness Officer Connor Southworth pointed out, 4 Gauge just may become your new swole-mate.
4. Lesser Evil
Self-deprecating humor aside, Lesser Evil playfully points out a major problem in the snack food industry: cheap, highly processed vegetable oils (and other unsavory ingredients) that can wreak havoc on your health.
Yes, Lesser Evil sells popcorn, snack puffs, cookies, and other typically indulgent selections, but as CEO Charles Coristine explained to our team, every snack is as clean as it is tasty.
Best of all, we couldn’t even tell the difference.
The powder and liquid electrolyte category is no joke at the moment, but even amidst the fierce competition, Biolyte makes a strong case for supremacy.
Their NSF-certified, physician-formulated electrolyte drinks were created to mimic hospital-grade IV fluid as closely as possible, containing a balanced selection of liver cleansers (milk thistle), energy boosters (vitamins B12, L-carnitine), and more.
Brian from the Biolyte booth was not shy about throwing shade on the sports drink giants out there, and after comparing ingredient lists, we get it.
Turning lead into gold is cool and all, but Supplant has mastered a much more altruistic form of alchemy—upcycling would-be discarded plant material into delicious chocolates.
As Joe Spence, Head of Marketing explained to us at the Supplant booth, Supplant uses plant fiber (cobs, husks, and stalks) to manufacture a low-calorie, lower-glycemic form of sugar.
With the help of Chef Thomas Keller, Supplant infuses this healthier sugar into chocolates and shortbreads—and yeah, they were delicious.
7. Om Mushroom Superfood
Quick to dispel mushroom-phobia with a selection of smooth and tasty wellness blends was Om Mushroom Superfoods, who would have fooled us (on the mushroom content) in a blind taste test.
“Our goal is for people to eat mushrooms every day,” said Om Mushroom Founder Sandra Carter, who treated us to some Master Blend Organic Mushroom Powder.
Each organic powder (they also have capsules, lattes, and hot chocolate) contains potent botanical adaptogens and a wealth of micronutrients.
8. Life Extension
Our very first stop at Expo East 2022 was an edifying one, as Life Extension Education Scientist Dr. Vanessa Pavey and crew gave us a thorough breakdown of Life Extension’s research-heavy wellness product catalog.
From sugar-free collagen gummies to dozens of wellness-boosting tablets, powders, and more, Life Extension is very diligent in supporting each selection with hard science.
And they aren’t just “classroom smart” either, as they followed the number one rule of choosing which samples to give out at events: always lead with gummies.
9. Liquid I.V.
Combining the science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) with delicious flavors ranging from passionfruit to pina colada, Liquid I.V. provides you with the ultimate hydration of an IV drip—no hospital required.
Describing to us the magic of CTT and how Liquid I.V. hydrates you faster than water alone was Matt Perez, Sales Marketing Coordinator, who told us how the precise ratios of sugar and electrolytes—sodium and potassium—deliver hydration to your cells twice as fast as chugging a bottle of water would.
And they’re pumping out new flavors left and right, with the Tart Green Apple Probiotic Kombucha being one of the newest Liquid I.V. varieties to hit the shelves—yep, powdered kombucha is now a thing, and we’re here for it.
Our next stop was Enzymedica, where the enthusiasm and nutritional know-how of Silvia Solaun, the East Coast Director, could not be matched.
With clever analogies about our digestive tracts (just ask her about uptown, midtown, and downtown!), Silvia explains the science of digestive enzymes and gut-supporting supplements in an easy-to-understand and relatable way.
Enzymedica has been leading the pack of digestive supplements for 23 years, with digestive enzymes designed to help you break down just about anything—goodbye, bloated belly from too much dairy and gluten.
Even more important than helping us eat more cheese, Enzymedica is an approved partner with the Autism Hope Alliance.
As many people don’t know that children with autism are significantly more likely to experience food intolerances or an inability to break down certain foods properly, Enzymedica is working to raise awareness and heal the world’s digestion simultaneously.
11. Olbas Herbal Remedies
Originating in Basel, Switzerland, Olbas Herbal Remedies have been relieving aches and pains, enhancing breathing, and calming coughs and sore throats for over 100 years. (FYI, OLBAS is an acronym for Oleum Basileum, or “Oil from Basel.”)
During our visit, we met with Karen Page, National Sales Manager, who shared with us the “Power to Breathe” that comes with the Olbas Inhaler—and our editor-in-chief would certainly agree with that tagline, as he may or may not be addicted to the aromatic and cooling vapors found in the peppermint and menthol inhaler.
Last but definitely not least—don’t miss out on the incredible massages offered at Olbas Herbal Remedies (some of our team members sure took advantage!)
The future of gut health is here with Ombre—an at-home, easy-to-use microbiome test that provides personalized diet and probiotic recommendations.
Sharing with us all the deets were Liza Jacobus (VP of Operations) and Kimberly Griffith (Microbiome Specialist, Head of Science), with the latter being the research-loving mastermind behind all of Ombre’s evidence-backed probiotic supplements.
If you’ve ever wanted a probiotic specifically targeted for heart health, mood enhancement, immunity, and more, Ombre is the one-stop shop for both strain-specific probiotics and unique microbiome reports made just for you.
Xlear has been a leading manufacturer of products based around xylitol—a natural sugar alcohol—since 2000, back when most people thought the only word starting with “xy” was “xylophone.”
Lois Mizdal, the Vice President of Sales of Xlear, extolled to us the benefits of xylitol—and informed us how to say their brand name correctly (Psst, it’s pronounced “Clear,” so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we did).
Some notable products we checked out today at the Xlear booth were their Original Xylitol Nasal Spray and some of the oral care product line, which is branded as Spry. Thanks, Lois!
14. Oats Overnight
If you want the creaminess of overnight oats without having to do any of the work, Oats Overnight is your dream come true.
You don’t even need a spoon to enjoy it—just add water, let it do its thing for four hours or more, and feel free to drink your protein-packed breakfast while on the go, smoothie-style.
Loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, real fruit, and 20 grams of protein per serving—not to mention unique and enticing flavors like Caramel Macchiato, S’mores, and Maple Pancakes—Oats Overnight gets a yes and a yum from us.