5 Finds at Natural Products Expo

Our team hit the floor of Natural Products Expo West recently at the Anaheim Convention Center. We listened, learned and tasted from businesses around the world comprising 2,700 booths showcasing specialty foods and healthy living products. We were enlightened. See the five trends that stood out to our team.

Trend 1:  Healthy, minimal ingredient, low-sugar energy bars featuring a variety of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits.

Simply Smart Bar is an energy bar company out of Michigan. Their great bars are low in sugar, include pea protein, flax seeds and chia. The bars are soft and chewy with a crunch and a delight to eat.

Bearded Brothers from Austin make raw, vegan and gluten-free energy bars packaged in compostable wrapping. They use ingredients like organic dates, vanilla rice protein, organic chia and dried blueberries. These are perfect as travel snacks, hiking and post-workout bars. They provide sustainable energy to burn throughout the day.

Trend 2:  You may have noticed quinoa milk in your grocery store at some point last year. Quinoa has accelerated as an ingredient of choice powering many goods. Quinoa--a perfect protein--is being picked up in everything from energy bars and crackers to chocolates and desserts. 

Suzie’s Quinoamilk Beverage from Brooklyn is a popular one with rich flavor. They're now in grocery stores nationwide. This milk goes well in smoothies, over oatmeal in your matcha tea and more. The unsweetened vanilla is a favorite.

Trend 3:  Vegan chocolates are going mainstream. Most chocolate on the market that has more than 60% cacao is considered vegan since it's dairy free. But now artisan chocolatiers are capitalizing on the vegan trend and marketing their products as such. Most importantly, the taste of dairy-free chocolate is outstanding. Vegan chocolate accentuates the natural essence of cacao and has a richer flavor.

Hu vegan chocolate bars from Brooklyn are a delicious treat incorporating quinoa and almond butters to get your protein, B vitamins and to satisfy snack cravings.

Trend 4:  Chickpea and edamame snacks are becoming huge. Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are now a healthy snack rage, which isn't surprising. We enjoy this as a regular snack when traveling throughout South Asia. Even Dunkin' Donuts in India uses Chickpea flour. 

This might be one of our favorites for the health power of the garbanzo, flavor and versatility. Chickpeas combine an excellent blend of plant-based protein and fiber. Combined with the edamame, these snacks are a healthier option than more processed foods.

Chickpeas are on the rise as an ingredient in mainstream baked goods, including munchies. And we'll continue to see more. Here is one recipe from Cheeky Kitchen that is now on our list to try: Chocolate Vegan Doughnuts. 

Biena Chickpea Snacks are popular on the East Coast and may show up on the West Coast soon. Love it!

Cruncha Ma-Me has mastered the edamame snack with a bunch of flavors.

Trend 5:  Vegan meats are proliferating. Many food manufacturers are now seeing the value of creating delicious meat replacement products. You may have heard of Gardein™ or had the Gardein Buffalo Wings--virtually indistinguishable from chicken wings in flavor and texture. Meat replacements have grown more sophisticated, providing an option in flavor and texture that is similar to meat and poultry. 

Just Like Meat by Maisen out of Japan, has formulated a product with two main ingredients in their faux meats: soy and brown rice. They are flavorful and a close texture match to meat. If you're ready to go meat-free this is an exciting starting point.

Products like these listed here relied on minimalism, simplicity and naturally-based nutrition--no supplements. Fewer ingredients, a superfood as a foundation, and plant-based offerings make these trends and products the shining stars of the show and ones to enjoy now.

Discoveries such as these are what Treatmo is all about and what makes food shopping fun and interesting. Check out the growing Treatmo Market in the app. Are you a small business with a product that fits? Contact us today. Oscar [@] treatmo.com