Expo East 2019 Recap

Earlier this week I headed off to Baltimore for a few days of socializing with my food blogger and friends, walking the floors of Expo East, checking out new products, and eating all of the samples. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what this is, it is the Natural Products Expo that is held twice a year: once in Anaheim, CA (West) and once in Baltimore, MD (East… although moving to Philadelphia next year!). It is the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products event and pulls attendees from around the world who are interested in learning as much about the products in this industry as possible. The convention center is packed with brands (think drinks, snacks, meat distributors, beauty, lifestyle, etc) showcasing their products and new releases to lots of investors, influencers, and buyers (grocery stores, online merchants, airlines, etc.). It is a really eye-opening experience and provides great opportunity to see new products and connect with brands, but boy is it overwhelming. Personally, I much prefer Expo East vs West due to the smaller size and ability to actually converse with others, but both of them provide great insight into upcoming trends.

Here are the main takeaways I took from the products at this year’s show:

  1. Keto is still a thing, but less of an obsession

  2. There is still a large focus on the beverage industry and mocktails seem to be a growing industry

  3. CBD is everywhere; and I mean everywhere

  4. Collagen is less of a “hot word” and more of a staple ingredient in a lot of products

  5. Everything seems to be “puffed” – chickpeas, corn, peas, etc. There is an ongoing effort to make snacks that are comparable to a healthier Cheeto of sorts

  6. The dairy alternative industry is continuing to boom

  7. Beef jerky! Everyone freaking loves it (and I’m here for it)

  8. “Healthy” ice cream is a product a ton of brands are on a mission to create

  9. Bars bars bars. Everyone is on a mission to create a snack on-the-go in bar format

Now that you’re basically up to date with everything I saw at the show, I want to take some time to highlight some of my favorite finds, both from new brands I just found and ones I’ve loved for a long time.

Simple Mills almond flour bars: I am a huge fan of all Simple Mills products and these bars are no exception. They are a perfect snack for on-the-go or a tasty post meal treat. Personally, I loved the carrot cake

Country Archer jalapeno beef stick: as I said, beef jerky & sticks are a huge focus at this year’s show. These are made with 100% grass-fed meat and a very small handful of other clean ingredients. They have tons of flavors of different meats available, but this one was my favorite

Elmhurst oat creamers: one of my favorite dairy-alternative brands made with clean ingredients and no fillers launched these Oat creamers and they are perfect to add to your morning coffee

Minna: a newfound love of mine, this sparkling tea is the perfect mid-day pick me up or mocktail option. There are three flavors, but the lime hibiscus tea is a personal favorite

Vital Farms pasture-raised ghee butter squeeze bottle: as a long-time ghee fan, this new serving bottle is a great way to avoid that slimy spoon situation I’m so used to after scooping some out to cook with. Plus, made from animals that I feel comfortable consuming given their farming practices

Hawthorne Valley sauerkraut: this is one of my favorite sauerkraut brands and a staple in my kitchen as I add it to just about everything. I personally love the turmeric version, but I tried the crudito and may have converted my favorite flavor

Freak Flag Foods carrot pesto: this new sauce company had some wild, incredibly delicious, and clean sauces with a vegetable focus. I tried a bunch, but this carrot pesto was my personal favorite

Whoa! Dough edible cookie dough bars: a new dessert-tasting bar featuring clean ingredients and less than 9 grams of sugar. I enjoyed mine right at the show, but was told they are also delicious after spending some time in the oven to “bake”

Bulletproof ghee coffee: I love a good bulletproof style coffee with ghee and MCT oil and I was so excited that they were using the Vital Farms ghee in their coffee at the show

Pukka organic latte turmeric glow: this, mixed together with some warm nut milk, is my version of the perfect night cap

Saalt: I was surprised to see this at Expo, but as I mentioned there are some lifestyle brands showcasing their products as well. This is a menstrual cup that I just began using and have become a big fan of

Pure Batch cookies: a mother-daughter run company out of Hillsborough, NJ (right next to home!) has some delicious cookie and brownies made with great ingredients. I loved them last year and am so impressed with their recent rebrand

Swapples cinnamon waffles: these gluten-free waffles are made with clean ingredients and hidden vegetables and I am absolutely obsessed with the cinnamon flavor

Emmy’s Organics chocolate covered coconut bites: these little clouds of heaven take the incredible Emmy’s cookie (made by a serious boss lady who I love) and cover it with a thin decadent layer of chocolate. Coming in three flavors (mint, vanilla bean, and peanut butter) and proving impossible for me to pick my favorite

P.S. Snacks edible cookie dough & pudding: a brand I’ve come to know and love with an incredible founder just redid the formula for their edible cookie dough and launched the new line of puddings. They are both not only a delicious treat, but made with clean ingredients and hidden vegetables

Siete jalapeno lime chips: a personal favorite brand and a staple in my kitchen, I love this new flavor. They also launched a “restaurant style” version that are a bit stiffer and less likely to break when dipped in a guacamole/salsa/etc and are personally approved

Ithaca craft hummus kalamata olive: since I’ve been putting olives & hummus on just about everything in my life lately, this is the perfect combination for my lunch and dinner bowls. Super thick, creamy, and flavorful

Primal Kitchen dairy-free vodka sauce: a great new clean pasta sauce that warms the soul