Hey there, it’s Peter-your favorite writer on all things alcoholic, coffee, and the tastiest food from greater Los Angeles. Normally, I wouldn’t start a story with an intro about myself but when the Natural Product Expo came to town in early March, I was intrigued. Why? Because it’s a total 360 from what I am used to. Like cocktails, happy hour, and the fattiest bacon you can find is what I typically write about. But every year around March, my Facebook friends would share their picture of their goodie bag contents. From teas to ice cream, vitamins to facial products, there was a wide spectrum of samples to be had. To see what all the hoopla was all about this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to see some of the new products.
First of all, this convention is big. REAL BIG. The Natural Product Expo uses the hashtag #ExpoWest for a reason. People from all over the Western US unite all together in the convention hall. I saw people with badges from Arizona, Utah, and Colorado just to name a few. It was, to say the least, a bit crowded on the first day. I would compare the bumper to bumper shoulder bumps to that of popular Comic-Con convention in San Diego, sans the cosplay attire. After all, this was the “World largest natural, organic and healthy products event” with over 80,000 attendees this year according to Expo West’s website.
The people who attends the Natural Product Expo every year are a mix of retailers, suppliers, vendors, brokers, packagers, and everyone involved in the packaging process. There are definitely more people involved in the product pipeline, but unfortunately I just didn’t get the chance to see all of the 3,100 exhibitors in this four-day expo held at Anaheim Convention Center.
Walking down the exhibit aisle and everywhere you turn, every product here seems to be a combination of Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan, Kosher, and something good for you. Chances are, if one of these buzz-words exists on the packaging of your favorite product, you’ll most likely find it here.
At first, reading to labels to the products seemed a little foreign to me. As an avid eater of dining out, it was difficult to stop and see what interested me. But as an avid coffee, beer, and cocktail drinker, surprisingly I found some of these products below fit for my taste buds.
Regrained-Nutritional bars made from the leftover grains in the mash when brewing beer. Typically thrown away or used as animal feed, there is an abundance of these grains and Regrained was able to make tasty beer flaored supergrain bars as a result.
Tillamook-The farmer-owned dairy co-op in Tillamook, Oregon with products all things dairy (yogurt, butter, sour cream, cheese, and ice cream) featured one of their extra creamy collaborations with another one of my favorite Oregon Coffee Shop, Stumptown. Really delicious but you should taste it for yourself. Do try to make it to their visitor’s center in the city of Tillamook (Currently under renovation but has a temporary visitors center, but will reopen the bigger and better version in a year and a half according to the staffs)
Kettle Brand Potato Chips-One of my favorite potato chips vendors has now crossed paths with some of my favorite cocktails, Moscow Mule and Bloody Mary. I believe the Moscow Mule is already on the shelves of your favorite retailers but keep your eyes out for the Bloody Mary version within the next 3 months according to Kettle’s staff.
Applegate-This natural and organic meat company features animals humanly raised with no antibiotics in their products. The result? Just really tasty everyday meats and one of the most popular booths at Expo West. Personally, I walked by Applegate’s booth every single day I was at the event. There was always something tasty and different and their bacon brownies takes the cake. (Or in this case, my favorite booth). Adjascent to Applegate was a virtual reality version of “At The Fork,” a documentary about husbandry and wife and how farm animals are raised for consumption. If you really would like to see where you meat comes from, this film will give you a better understanding of raising animals and along with an ethical eating lifestyle.
Kikusui Sake-One of the cleanest tasting Sake’s known for their clear blue bottle has just gone cleaner with an organic version. The “organic rice in naturally fertilized soil” and no additives or preservatives makes this organic version one of the most popular brands found here in the states.
At the end of my 4-day exhibit tour in Anaheim convention, not only did I walked out with a full bag of samples but I also walked away with knowledge to better myself. As I educated myself during my visit here, I understand there are definitely better choices that can be made that will impact a tastier and healthier lifestyle.
Thanks for a fun time and making my first visit an easy one Expo West! This was definitely one of the funnest event I’ve been to seeing products that was fit for me, even though I’m not “fit”. Just goes to show you there is something for everyone here at this Expo. Make sure you bookmark dates below for next year.
Natural Products Expo
March 9-11, 2018
Anaheim Convention Center
800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802