News & Tidbits + Expo West

Exciting things are in the works here at MPH.

Stay tuned for extensive reviews of Newman’s Own Organics, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Sunshine Burger, and more. Though I will fully disclose a preexisting belief that I believe these are all fantastic companies, I promise to be (constructively) honest when it comes to their products in my reviews.

***

There have been many interesting things going on in the natural products/food and environmental worlds lately:

1. Earth Hour. This growingly-popular ‘green’ event will tonight (3/27) at 8:30-9:30 p.m. local time, worldwide. They explain: “On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations.”

2. The Natural Products Expo West, (“Expo West” to those in the ‘biz), the world’s largest natural products trade expo, took place on March 12-14, 2010 in Anaheim, CA. This year’s show set record attendance, drawing 56,000 people. This giant, closed-to-the-public industry-insider event is where companies traditionally announce plans for or release new products, lines, flavors, and packaging designs. For example, it is where Lärabar unveiled their Peanut Butter & Jelly and Fruit Tart flavors last year. Many exciting announcements were made at this year’s Expo West, some of which are highlighted here Twenty New Dairy-Free Foods: 2010 Expo West and Beyond (Go Dairy Free, 2010). (See my summary below).

(Credit: Natural Products Expo on Facebook)

Though I did not attend, to review some of the most exciting announcements:

(Packaging Digest, 2010)

Turtle Mountain’s So Delicious is adding an organic-coconut-water sorbet line (a VegNews Best of Show winner); Rudi’s Organic Bakery is getting a packaging makeover and launching Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery (to be available July 2010); Honest Tea introduced six new beverage varieties, adding Maqui Berry Grapefruit — (Maqui has intense antioxidant activity) — and Apple Jasmine to its Kombucha line, as well as Maqui Berry Mate, Half-Tea & Half-Lemonade, Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade, and Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch;

Hemp Bliss announced their launching the “only certified organic hempmilk”; Van’s announced their “8 Whole Grains” and “Lite” waffle lines; Tofurkey introduced their vegan frozen pizza line; Pure Bar is getting a packaging makeover; ReVita Pop introduced their 3.6-mg vitamin B-12 lollipop; and perhaps most exciting of all, Daiya is finally taking its previously food-service-available-only “cheese” (soy-free and vegan) shreds retail.

(PR Web, 2010)

That’s a lot of schmoozing, tasting, and selling.

(Credits: Natural Products Expo on Facebook)

I am excited to try Daiya products, which are already used in the Amy’s Kitchen soy-free Gluten-Free Macaroni and Non-Dairy Cheeze as “DAIYATM VEGAN CHEDDAR-TYPE CHEEZE (PURIFIED WATER, TAPIOCA AND/OR ARROWROOT FLOUR, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL, COCONUT OIL, PEA PROTEIN, SALT, YEAST, VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, NATURAL FLAVORS, XANTHAN GUM, RICE EXTRACT, ENZYMES [NO ANIMAL RENNET OR ANIMAL ENZYMES], BACTERIAL CULTURES, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO).” Their food contains no cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, or common allergens, previously won the VegNews 2009 Product of the Year award, and was also a VegNews Best of Show winner. The pictures on Daiya’s Facebook fan page look phenomenal — reportedly, it is delicious and actually melts.

(Credit: Fan photo from Daiya Vegan Cheese Facebook page)

Mmm.

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of seeing soy “cheese” — enough is enough with soy. And “rice” cheese, yadda yadda. I’ve never used them because these things often have shady ingredients like fake colors, carrageenan, etc., and zero protein. Bring it on, Daiya. Any notable experiences with vegan “cheese”?

3. Earlier this month, Kraft announced that it will be reducing sodium in its North American foods by about 10% within the next two years (Reuters, 2010). This is, clearly, a positive thing, but some believe it doesn’t go far enough. What do you think?

The salt-cutting trend is everywhere, with Cambpell Soup Co. and ConAgra Foods, Inc. doing the same, but with a catch: “Amid rising government pressure and consumer concern, food makers are taking a new tack in their long-running effort to sell products with less salt. Instead of offering foods labeled as low salt that few people eat, they are gradually reducing the salt from some of their most popular items—and not making a big fuss about it on the label” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010). Heinz will also be lowering sodium in its main ketchup line starting in summer 2010 (Heinz, 2010).

4. Kraft’s news came one day following PepsiCo‘s announcement that it will “stop the sale of full-sugar soft drinks to primary and secondary schools on a global scale by 2012″ (Reuters, 2010). I read something elsewhere saying that sports drinks like Gatorade will be permitted. This does sound good, though I personally don’t believe that diet (aspartame) sodas are much better. But, clearly, this may help to reduce obesity. Thoughts?

So, let’s get this right: 56,000 people attend a natural products trade show and major companies make huge announcements on a daily basis. Exciting times for health, indeed.

Go Dairy Free. (2010). Twenty new dairy-free foods: 2010 Expo West and beyond. Retrieved here.

H.J. Heinz Company. (2010). Press release. Retrieved here.

Packaging Digest. (2010, March 12). Rudi’s Organic Bakery launches new bread and packaing design. Retrieved here.

PR Web. (2010, March 13). Honest Tea introduces six new beverage varieties at Expo West 2010. Retrieved here.

Reuters. (2010, 17 March). Kraft to cut sodium levels in food products. Retrieved here.

The Wall Street Journal. (2010, January 11.) Food makers quietly cut back on salt. Retrieved here.

Food Makers Quietly Cut Back on Salt

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4 responses to “News & Tidbits + Expo West

  1. All the vending machines were taken out of the elementary schools in my city last year. Now they run milk programs instead. Bottled water was also eliminated as to avoid the waste from the plastic bottles.

    What a great expo to be able to attend! That’s a boat load of people!

  2. Natural Products Expo West looks amazing! Wish I could have been there to sample some of the delicious goodies you mentioned. So Delicious Coconut water sorbet? I can’t wait to try it! What will the creative folks at Turtle Mountain come up with next?

  3. I do agree that vegan cheese is kinda blah, but unfortunately I have no choice, so I just try to dress it up the best I can and add in extra flavor on my own.

  4. I would LOVE to send you some Pure Bars. The new “look” will be on the shelf this summer so maybe we can coordinate! Send me an email if you’d like.
    veronica@thepurebar.com

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