Natural Products Expo West 2022 is in the books.
After missing two years of in-person events and exhibits, Expo West returned strong with thousands of brands and an estimated 80,000 attendees.
The noticeable excitement exuding from both attendees and exhibitors was contagious, contributing to a high-energy atmosphere that offered as much hype as it did samples.
Below, we highlight some of the brands we spoke to that had clean products, impressive displays, and fascinating stories.
A well-known and beloved brand for its clean, paleo offerings, Primal Kitchen had a bustling booth with a delicious display of its dressings, condiments, sauces, and more.
“We have, and I can say this with certainty, the world’s greatest tasting ketchup!”– Mark Sisson, Founder of Primal Kitchen
Primal Kitchen uses ingredients like avocado oil, collagen, or apple cider vinegar, while completely avoiding artificial flavors, added sugars, and chemical preservatives.
We even spoke to founder Mark Sisson who highlighted his best-selling Organic Unsweetened Ketchup.
“We have, and I can say this with certainty, the world’s greatest tasting ketchup,” said Sisson. “It is completely organic, unsweetened, all-natural, and tastes phenomenal.”
JUST Egg, a plant-based egg brand, was doling out samples from every inch of their large, yellow corner booth.
We tried JUST Egg Sous Vide and a scrambled egg dish with mushrooms and bell peppers, both of which tasted excellent and nearly fooled our taste buds.
JUST Egg makes their “eggs” using mung beans, a legume that scrambles and fluffs like an egg and is significantly more sustainable to cultivate compared to raising chickens.
In the same plant-based meat vein is The Very Good Butchers, a brand whose packaging (and product names) might fool you into thinking you’re buying actual meat.
The Very Good Butchers exhibit portrayed that of a deli shop, which displayed their impressively packaged meat look-a-likes and samples.
Speaking with Kevin Callaghan, Director of Sales for the US, he told us about the brand’s product lineup, including their upcoming products: “Right now we’re focusing on our plant-based ribs, which we’re launching this June. It’s jackfruit-based with pea protein.”
“We have 20 fast-casual lobster roll restaurants across the United States,” said Adam Late, VP of Sales. “And we’re also selling our products to our third-party customers such as Whole Foods and Sprouts.”
Late also told us about the company’s B Corp certification, which demonstrates the brand’s commitment to social and environmental good.
In 2021, Luke’s went through B Corp recertification and raised their score to become the highest scoring B Corp-certified restaurant group in the nation.
The number one grower of Medjool dates in both the US and Canada, Arizona-based Natural Delights relies on a uniquely suited “micro-climate” to produce high-quality dates with just sunshine and water.
Their growing region—the Bard Valley (at the California/Arizona border)—is watered by the Lower Colorado River, providing natural irrigation to complement the consistently high temperatures.
We spoke with a few key members of the Natural Delights team, including Neil, Rachel, and Natalia—who oversee North American sales, national grocery accounts, and digital marketing, respectively—to learn more about the brand and their products.
“Medjool dates are considered the queen of dates for their size and moisture content,” Neil explained to us.
When asked about their top sellers, the Natural Delights team indicated their straight-up “commodity” dates as well as their slightly more embellished coconut date rolls.
Sporting a growing catalog of unabashedly silly and delicious flavors like Cookie Monsta, Dunk On ‘Em, Fairy Dust, and more, Doughp Cookie Dough’s booth seemed to pull in a lot of u-turns from the foot traffic, and for good reason.
“We’re all about breaking the stigma of mental health and addiction recovery, and we donate a portion of every purchase to the cause.”– Kelsey Moreira, Founder & Fearless Leader of Doughp
Their high-quality cookie dough can be safely consumed raw or baked, so there’s no need to stave off that all-too-familiar temptation we’ve all had.
We had the pleasure of speaking with founder Kelsey, who clued us in on the uplifting story behind the company.
“I started the company after I got sober in 2015 and rediscovered my love of baking,” she said, adding, “We’re all about breaking the stigma of mental health and addiction recovery, and we donate a portion of every purchase to the cause.”
Blessed seemingly out of nowhere with a 1200-pound bounty of walnuts picked by her father on his Lake County, CA farm, Courtney Carini and her fellow co-owner David Wolfe used this “seed fund” to start Crazy Go Nuts in 2013.
The brand offers a growing selection of walnut snacks, from plain walnuts to walnut butters, maple walnuts, coconut walnuts, and several more varieties, all based out of their manufacturing operation in Fresno, CA.
“We launched our brand in 2013 with two people and an apartment,” co-owner David Wolfe told us at his booth, then going on to explain how the brand has infiltrated a vast network of retail outlets across the country, including Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, and more.
Merging sound dietary principles with convenient and tasty plant-based nutrition bars, GoMacro was a booth we simply couldn’t pass up.
Founder Amelia Kirchoff and her daughter started GoMacro in 2004 after Amelia overcame breast cancer with the help of a plant-based diet, and they’ve been using their Wisconsin family farm to create their bars ever since.
All of the bars, including versions for kids, were on immaculate display at the GoMacro booth.
The friendly faces at GoMacro had already run out of some flavors when we arrived, and after sampling a couple of bars ourselves, we knew why.
Those among our editorial team looking to steer their young kids away from a less healthy brand of mac and cheese (you know who you are) have found great success with Banza, a brand that produces delicious chickpea-based pasta, macaroni, pizza, and more.
According to Banza, chickpeas are not only much healthier for you than bread and/or meat, but they have the potential to drastically improve greenhouse gas emissions if embraced as meat alternatives on a larger scale.
At the Banza booth, we were greeted with friendliness and the familiar aroma of pizza (made with chickpea-based crust, of course), which we sampled and found more than satisfactory.
When the scent of fresh cookies hit our collective noses, we found out exactly where it was coming from: the flannel-donning people from Kodiak Cakes.
“People want indulgence, but it’s a guilt-free indulgence. They can have whole grains and protein, so people love it.”– Boman Farrer, Associate Director of Marketing at Kodiak Cakes
The cookies are a new product launch as we learned from Boman Farrer, the Associate Director Marketing, and he told us why the cookies—as well as Kodiak Cakes’ other products—have made such an impression.
“People want indulgence, but it’s a guilt-free indulgence,” said Farrer. “They can have whole grains and protein, so people love it.”
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