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Meet more of the brands we met at Expo West 2023 (click here for part 1)!
How can a supplement boost and protect your body’s collagen, elastin, and other skin-supporting compounds without actually providing any of these nutrients?
In the case of Biosil, which is one such supplement, it’s all about supporting your body’s ability to produce these compounds on its own.
As Biosil Education Specialist Jodi Sanders explained to our team, the use of CHOSA (choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid) in Biosil does just this by stimulating specialized cells called fibroblasts to generate certain forms of collagen, among other pro-skin-health mechanisms.
Orthosilicic acid does most of the work in terms of collagen production, but the choline helps to keep this compound as absorbable as possible.
“The choline provides easy access into your cells via choline transport channels, so it’s very bioavailable,” Jodi explained.
And the research on orthosilicic acid confirms Jodi’s claims of a collagen-boosting effect. We see you, Biosil!
Most of us know all too well that cringey feeling that follows a plastic (or glass) container of food being knocked off the table—thanks, cats.
Even so, U Konserve President Jon Fox just smiled as he hucked his Bounce Box at the floor of the expo hall.
This resilient food container—an area we don’t typically cover—is worth a shoutout for several reasons.
First, the Bounce Box is not plastic at all, but 100% silicone. In addition to the fridge, it’s safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave, freezer, and even the oven (up to 425 degrees).
The biggest draw for us—and surely, many parents out there—was the 100% leak-proof, dual-locking seal. Chuck it, drop it, whatever—the lid isn’t giving.
“It’s called a Bounce Box because it’s basically indestructible,” Jon remarked.
Of course, nothing’s going to keep that casserole together after pulling a couple Gs, but you can’t stop entropy.
For every other ill that can befall an unsuspecting container of leftovers, we’ll turn to B-certified U Konserve and their innovative food containers.
It always makes for a solid first impression when you can speak with the name behind the brand on the first encounter, as was the case with Purely Elizabeth.
Helping to redeem the often (nutritionally) abused institution of breakfast cereal, Purely Elizabeth sticks staunchly to best-in-class ingredients that provide plenty of nutritional value.
In the words of Purely Elizabeth CEO and Founder Elizabeth Stein, the cereals are “Made with vitamin D, sweetened with coconut sugar, baked with coconut oil .. and they’re delicious.”
She also went on to explain her company’s use of ancient grains and superfood seeds to punch up flavor and texture in a nutritionally substantive way.
In addition to better-for-you cereals, Purely Elizabeth also makes granola (including grain-free/keto options), fiber-packed oatmeal, and more.
We’ve encountered many brands that update their existing offerings based on customer feedback, but Taste Republic itself was created in response to just one customer.
As Senior Director of Marketing Andy Allcock explained, the traditional pasta maker behind the brand (Founder Peter Robertson) was pushed out of his comfort zone by a loyal customer who was suddenly confronted with those two words that keep all Italians awake at night: Celiac’s Disease.
Not content to allow even one customer to go without the majesty of delicious pasta, Peter immediately went to work, engineering a gluten-free pasta that he refused to compromise on in terms of taste.
“We won’t launch it unless we believe it tastes the same as traditional pasta,” Andy said as we tried the tortellini, eventually nodding in agreement to each other.
The result was a very popular product that spun off into its own brand, eventually becoming the Taste Republic we know today.
Made with brown rice flour, cauliflower, and other wheat alternatives, Taste Republic’s Tortelloni, Linguini, and Fusilli (to name a few options) really do come extremely close to the taste and texture of standard pasta.
It’s corny, but we have to say it: buon appetito!
For those unfamiliar, the plight of parents with sick and/or not sleeping babies is defined by a number of pain points.
Most pharmacists do not recommend any medications for babies who are only a few months old, and even if your child does meet the cutoff, the options on the table are often riddled with questionable (or at least mysterious) ingredients and additives.
This is where Oilogic Care comes in with their pediatrician-tested, cruelty-free, and essential-oil-based baby and kid solutions.
As Worth Anne Herrell, Managing Partner of Ignite Brands (Oilogic’s parent company) explained, “All of our formulas use essential oils and plant-based ingredients so mom can feel good about what she’s applying to baby, and also, it’s great for kids as young as 3 months old.”
She also filled us in on the most popular product lines at Oilogic, including the slumber and sleep line (including a vapor bath, linen mist, and chest rub) as well as the stuffy nose and cough line.
Having gone through more than one fruitless pharmacy run, our team salutes Oilogic for bringing gentle and high-quality products to an underserved group.
It certainly wasn’t the first time we heard an electrolyte drink brand touting their mixes as equal to an IV drip in potency, but Cure Hydration stands out from other premium hydration brands we’ve interviewed for one major reason: ingredient quality.
“We’re doing it all with plant-based, premium natural ingredients and no added sugar,” their team informed us.
The ingredient lists for their electrolyte drink mixes back up this claim with ingredients like coconut powder, pink himalayan salt, organic flavoring, and more.
The coconut alone provides a healthy shot of electrolytes, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium, alongside antioxidants and other beneficial additions.
Cure Hydration is soon to add Lemonade and Strawberry Kiwi (launching in April of this year, we hear) to their collection of electrolyte and energy drinks, so if either of those is your jam, you’ll still have a few months for a trial run before that summer heat hits.
Definitely claiming the “hyped vibes” award for this year’s expo (as far as we’re concerned) is the Mingle Mocktails team, who hailed us from several booths over by brandishing disco balls and inviting us to party with them.
As it turns out, their jovial vibe fit the products, as the Mingle Mocktails mission is to keep the party going for those abstaining from alcohol with a suite of non-alcoholic Mojitos, Margaritas, Cosmos, Moscow Mules, and more.
VP of Sales Sara Koeniger explained to us that, in addition to the lack of alcohol, Mingle products one-up their alcoholic counterparts significantly in the realm of sugar and calories.
“On each can and box, we have a calorie and sugar comparison so that you know you’re making a better choice,” Sara said. “Our Margarita has 95% less sugar than a traditional margarita and 85% less calories.”
A sobering contrast indeed. Cheers!
Leveraging the research-supported skincare benefits of hemp, Veg Out Organics offers a 9-step skincare routine in the form of a plant-based topical product line.
As Maghan Spinos of the Veg Out Organics team informed us, Veg Out is well ahead of the CBD-white-labeler wave, deriving their hemp directly from a 20-acre hemp farm in Virginia Beach.
“You are getting the purest form of CBD and CBG in anything that you have from our 9-step skincare routine,” Maghan explained.
In addition to the CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol), Veg Out’s Lip Balm, Magnesium Body Lotion, Massage Oil and more use aloe vera, organic shea butter, essential oils (all of these are organic) and more high-quality topical ingredients.
If you’re new to CBD, don’t worry—a topical product especially is not going to give you an unwanted buzz. What it will do in the case of Veg Out—aided by their strong supporting cast of organic botanicals—is soothe and nourish your skin.
With its name roughly translating to mean a woman from the Tours region of the Loire Valley, this French company is a family business making some of the highest-quality culinary oils around.
La Tourangelle came to the U.S. 20 years ago, settling in Woodland, California, where they take the best nuts and seeds grown under healthy farming practices and produce oils with minimal processing.
The French- and California-based company uses a centuries-old tradition of roasting and pressing nuts into delicious oils—and their 150-year-old mill is keeping this tradition alive.
We were lucky enough to speak with La Tourangelle Founder and CEO Matthieu Kohlmeyer, who explained to our team how you can tell if an oil is made with good-quality ingredients—and the answer is simple: it tastes good!
Another key component of high-quality oils is that you can actually taste the fruit or nut it’s made of—your avocado oil should taste like avocados, for example.
Overly processed oils or ones that come from low-quality ingredients will taste as such—but La Tourangelle’s artisanal oils made from walnut, avocado, olive, black truffle, and more speak for themselves.
Bone broth is an excellent way to get your essential amino acids in—and Bare Bones is now making it even easier with their Instant Bone Broth Sticks.
As Ryan Harvey (who founded Bare Bones with his wife, Katherine, in 2013) explained, the instant bone broth can be taken anywhere, it’s shelf-stable and easy to travel with, and can even be used as a seasoning packet—we were especially excited about the Ramen flavor.
With no sugar, 10g of protein, and 50 calories per stick, Bare Bones is making it even easier to reap the benefits of bone broth—which include improved gut, immune, and skin health, BTW.
But if you’re into regular, already-liquified bone broth, Bare Bones has that, too, with flavors including Grass-Fed Beef, Rosemary and Lemon Chicken, and Organic Turkey.
As the name suggests, Lemon Perfect is the perfect lemon-filled drink to quash thirst and provide antioxidants at the same time.
As Director of Brand Marketing Richa Anand told us, every bottle has half of an organic lemon squeezed in, is full of vitamin C, and only contains five calories each.
Rather than dumping in the sugar, Lemon Perfect uses a bit of erythritol to sweeten up their lemony drinks.
We loved the Original Lemon for a healthier twist on classic lemonade, but other flavors include Dragon Fruit Mango, Pineapple Coconut, and Peach Raspberry.
Harmless Harvest is a leader in the coconut water space—and now, thanks to their goal of getting to zero coconut waste by 2025, they have moved into the yogurt and smoothie world, too.
As CEO Ben Mand told us, Harmless Harvest is a brand built on purpose—they don’t just want to provide good coconut water, but they also want to ensure that everyone along the supply chain, from farmers to consumers, benefits from these products.
Harmless Harvest does this by ethically sourcing organic Nam Hom coconuts from Thailand and cold-filtering them to get the best-tasting and highest-quality coconut water.
Now, they are also pureeing and culturing the coconut meat to make dairy-free yogurt—both spoonable and drinkable varieties—as well as blending it up to craft delicious smoothies (mango and chocolate were our team’s personal favorites).
Keep up the good work, Harmless Harvest team!
Natural Stacks provides premium, targeted supplements to help people build better brains—and like most good founding stories, theirs has a personal touch.
As founder Roy Krebs told us, he started Natural Stacks when his grandfather was experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia—and his own brain health wasn’t exactly feeling top-notch, either.
When Roy couldn’t find the kinds of targeted brain health supplements he wanted, he created them instead.
Now, Natural Stacks offers best-selling products like their Brain Food line, which targets various neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, in addition to supplements designed to support sleep, focus, memory, mood, and energy.
Plus, they are the world’s first Open Source supplement company, meaning they focus on high transparency, ingredient traceability, third-party lab testing, and full-label disclosure.
If you’ve ever had one (or three) too many during a fun night out, you know that the next day is not so fun—but that’s something More Labs aims to help.
This LA-based brand carries functional shots to boost productivity and wellness, including their flagship Morning Recovery shot.
Loaded with liver-supporting and hydration-boosting ingredients like milk thistle, prickly pear extract, red ginseng, and electrolytes, Morning Recovery is clinically proven to improve symptoms after drinking.
Yep, they’ve even got the data to back it up—in a clinical study, Morning Recovery users had up to 80% improvement in headaches, heart-pounding, concentration, and clumsiness after drinking.
Even if you aren’t a big drinker, More Labs also has the Liquid Focus shot to enhance cognition and Dream Well to help you sleep better.
As CEO Josh Groff explained to us at Expo West, “We’re really a productivity company, so we’re trying to boost productivity in all parts of our life by using science-backed supplements.”
Founded by Finnish-born and 13th-generation mushroom forager Tero Isokauppila in 2012, Four Sigmatic was one of the first brands to popularize functional mushrooms.
From their beginnings of providing elixirs of chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane mushroom, Four Sigmatic is now putting the ‘shrooms into more everyday and accessible beverages, including coffee, protein powders, and coffee creamers.
The benefits of functional mushrooms are not unfounded, with more and more research on these fantastic fungi constantly emerging.
Danielle Ryan Broida, Registered Herbalist and Associate Brand Manager of Innovation at Four Sigmatic, told us about the benefits of functional mushrooms, which range from stress reduction to cognitive enhancement to immune health.
Some of their newest products are the Cacao Coconut and Vanilla Coconut coffee creamers and the Super Powders, which include the berry- and cordyceps-rich Perform, the blueberry-lavender Chill, and the prebiotic-loaded Gut Health powder.
(P.S., in case you’re wondering where the name comes from, here’s the nerdy-but-amazing answer: Four Sigmatic comes from a statistical bell curve of all foods, where superfoods are four sigmas, or standard deviations, above the average food, making “Four Sigmatic” foods some of the most nutrient-dense and beneficial.)
It’s safe to say that Waka Coffee is disrupting the instant coffee industry—gone are the days of bland, watery powdered cups that somewhat resemble coffee.
The idea came to founder David Kovalevski when he realized that neither his expensive coffee shop habit nor making coffee in his cramped NYC kitchen would cut it anymore—he needed something simple and quick, but still delicious.
Using 100% freeze-dried Arabica beans, this instant coffee is a step (or twenty) above traditional instant coffees, which tend to use the inferior Robusta beans that are roasted from spray-dried batches.
But they aren’t only in the coffee game—Waka also provides delicious and high-quality instant teas.
As Greg Schatell, VP of Sales, told us, Waka provides convenience without sacrificing quality and taste—and after sampling it, we totally agreed.
When you hear the words “meat stick,” many people might think of Slim Jims or other questionable gas station snacks—but CHOMPS is here to change that.
With 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range poultry, and no sugar or weird fillers, CHOMPS makes high-protein, healthy snacking easy and delicious.
Director of e-Commerce Kaitlyn Kobida explained that CHOMPS sticks are gluten-free, keto, and Paleo, containing no sugar and 9-10g of protein per stick.
While the grass-fed beef is one of their flagship products, they now have nine flavors—including the new Taco-Seasoned Beef and Habanero Beef—and even cute mini-sized Chomplings for those of us with smaller appetites.
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