A wonderland of products designed to be healthier, organic or suitable for any dietary need met a large audience at Natural Products Expo West www.expowest.com, held last month in Anaheim, Calif. Every year the convention presents the latest innovations designed to please taste buds and those demanding healthy alternatives to snack or ready made foods. “Consumers are looking to incorporate good tasting foods that are healthy instead of dieting,” says Numi Tea CEO Ahmed Rahim. Cookies, bars, chocolate, bread, hot food, snacks of every description were presented in sample sizes to try.
More than 63,00 industry members, primarily retailers, and 2,428 exhibiting companies broke records for the 33rd annual event. Gluten free, allergen free, non-dairy products, and vegan offerings were also notable trends. Tours, seminars, dinners, receptions and music rounded out the event.
Sun Lite Whipped Roasted Sunflower Kernal Spread Creamy
This sunflower butter is a delicious peanut butter substitute, great out of the jar with a spoon (if you also eat the peanut butter with a spoon right out of the jar) and will do nicely if you or a loved one has a peanut allergy. It’s also gluten and dairy free and processed in a dedicated facility free of those allergens.
Fully Functional Cookies
The idea behind these tasty bites is to add purpose to cookies. Awaken Baked is pretty self explanatory—espresso cookies with a mix of coffee and chocolate to keep you functioning on all cylinders. The Snap Back has detoxifiers like cayenne pepper, black strap molasses and ginger, you guessed it: a ginger snap cookie. Tough Cookieis meant to be enjoyed post workout with peanut butter plus extra protein. The Cherry Bomb is gluten free and the Great Full is made with sweet potato, cranberry and oatmeal to provide antioxidants.
Order online – the best way is the sample 5 pack for $15 to see which you like best. If you already have a purpose, other than yuminess, for your cookie consumption, then go straight to that one.
Numi Savory Tea
Kudos to the creative minds at Numi Tea, CEO Ahmed Rahim for one, for coming up with such an original concept: tea plus vegetables. The appeal to the health conscious is obvious, yet whether the demand reaches a broader audience of tea drinkers remains to be seen. Launched just three months ago, the tea combines organic vegetables, herbs, decaf tea and spices for a taste that blurs the line between tea and soup. Depending on the flavor and your palate, you may notice tea with barely a hint of the vegetable or spice, such as the tomato mint. Others have noticeable amounts of both, such as the Carrot Curry in which the sweet note of carrot underlines a hint of heat from the curry. Other flavors include Broccoli Cilantro, Fennel Spice, Spinach Chive and Beet Cabbage.
“Numi has a history and culture of being innovative. We were the first to the U.S. market with Rooibos, Honeybush, and Flowering Tea. So we wanted to disrupt the tea category. Savory flavored foods are very popular, and veggies are very much on trend. The Savory Tea blends are based on recipes enjoyed from around the world,” says Rahim.
The gluten-free trend shows no signs of slowing, rather the opposite. Many more comsumers than the estimated one in 133 people who have celiac disease and 7% who are gluten–sensitive, are choosing to cut back on wheat and other products containing gluten. Gluten-free has acquired a halo effect as a healthier choice in bread or pasta according to Canyon Bakehouse founder and president Josh Skow.
When Skow’s wife Christi was diagnosed with celiac, they decided to create bread that tastes good, instead of the dry, sawdust-like products on the market. They have succeeded where others simply have not. Among the delicious flavors are Whole Grain White, 7-Grain, Cinnamon Raisin, Hamburger Buns and Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia.
Another factor driving demand, “When one family member goes gluten-free, often the whole family does.” Skow points out. “If you think about what percentage of an ordinary person’s diet is made up of breads, it makes sense that not being able to eat a traditional bread would have an impact on daily life,” said Skow, President of Canyon Bakehouse. “We wanted to offer a gluten-free bread that was soft, delicious and nutritious.”