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ANAHEIM, Calif. May, 2013—Gluten-free products and natural snacks are ubiquitous at Natural Products Expo West and the products listed here are some tasty choices. Humanely produced eggs made an appearance this year with deliberate efforts to educate consumers on how hens are handled.

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Happy Eggs

The hens laying Happy Eggs live on farms in Arkansas with access to pasture, trees, sand, and grass to roam around on. Each farm consists of four acres on which the hens are able to scratch and peck in the dirt, forage for bugs, eat grass and flap their wings. Each also has a barn where they sleep at night.

California was chosen as a starting point for the product because Proposition 2, passed in 2008, will ban the use of battery cages by 2015.

In contrast to Happy Eggs, hens laying organic eggs are raised inside a barn, receive organic feed and may move about indoors, only some have limited access to outdoor space. Cage free eggs come from hens also free to move, eat and drink but completely indoors. However, according to Happy Eggs, 95% of eggs are produced by hens living with only 8 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches of space in wire battery cages.

Happy Eggs cost more than conventional eggs at $4.99 a dozen, but are reportedly better for you with higher amounts of some vitamins as well as lower amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat . The hens are certified humanely raised and handled.

Swurves

Crispy, accordion folded, curly crisps, Swurves’ salty savory spices seem to cluster in the furrows adding to their appeal. A nibber’s delight in Savory, Asian Fusion or Tuscan Kitchen, Swurves have the piquant, crunchy elements of chips but about 25% fewer calories. Snackers will find these in grocery stores soon.

Edamame crunch bars

Combining dry roasted edamame, sea salt and chocolate turns out to be a very good idea. Edamame Crunch Bars hit the sweet spot with rich chocolate goodness balanced by a hint of salt and crispy texture. These blissful creations launched by Seapoint Farms in collaboration with the PRAIM Group come in dark and milk chocolate.

Balance Bar Dark

These energy bars have an appealing chewy texture and dark chocolate taste, an adult hybrid candy bar/brownie—not too sweet. Made from Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa, Balance Bar Dark bars provide a convenient snack to keep you satisfied between meals with vitamins, protein and fiber. The artful treats come in Dark Chocolate Crunch, Coconut and Peanut Butter.

Lille Belle Farms Chocolates

"Rock-and-roll Chocolatier" Jeff Shepard shared his bean-to-bar line of chocolate bars at the Western Expo from Lillie Belle Farms Handmade Chocolates. After many years of using other people's chocolate he decided to make his own chocolate from scratch. “The process is fascinating and the details and control of extracting great flavor from beans is an art form as well as a science,” Shephard says.

One of his new bars, Stella Blue, is a 50% milk chocolate made from Bolivian beans blended with a tangy buttermilk and powdered blue cheese from the famous Oregon based- Rogue Creamery. “My neighbors, the Rogue creamery, introduced a new product, Blue Heaven, which is a powdered blue cheese. As it is technically a dried dairy product I figured I could use it as a powdered milk substitute in a milk chocolate. It came out great,” he says with complete accuracy.

All his bean-to-bar chocolate is in small batches. The line also includes Dark Star - 80% cacao from beans sourced in the Dominican Republic and Peru; Sunshine Daydream - 45% cacao content from Peruvian beans made with buttermilk, and Purple Haze - 75% cacao content bar with chocolate made from Venezuelan beans.

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