Exploring at Expo West 2019
Every year the It’s Jou Life team count down the days to an epic week of discovering innovative, responsible, delicious, fun, and functional wellness products at the Natural Products Expo West. In its 39th year, Expo West continues to be the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products event, and the 2019 gathering surely delivered the goods.
Another record-setting year, we were among 86,000 attendees perusing 3,600+ exhibitors at this multi-day event. As healthy lifestyle enthusiasts and serious snackers, we’re always on the growl for natural products, learning about upcoming industry trends, and connecting with brands that have mindful missions.
We’ve been attending Expo West the past four years and love how alive the entrepreneurial spirit is and their focus on education and innovation. We met many humble founders who share the same goal–to create products that help others create a healthy, natural, and nutritious lifestyle.
6 notable trends at Expo West 2019
BACK TO BASICS: Clean, simple ingredients is what you want. It’s becoming clearer and widely noticed by brands that you are conscientious with ingredients you eat and use on your body. You tend to buy organic when you can and are concerned with foods that are made with artificial colors, preservatives, parabens, and products tested on animals.
ADAPTOGENS: Praised in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions for centuries, adaptogens are non-toxic plants (think herbs and roots) touted for ailing the body against all kinds of stressors. Each adaptogen has a different function, so the best one for you depends on the specific ailment you’re experiencing.
CHARCOAL: Known for absorbing toxins, charcoal’s popularity has grown and is present in juice cleanses, pills, face masks, toothpaste, and now in dental floss and first aid strips.
HEMP: Hemp is here to stay and this year is the biggest hurrah in demand and presence on the Expo floor. Think CBD oils, skin balms, hemp seeds, hemp hearts, and drinks.
MATCHA: An antioxidant powerhouse, matcha boosts metabolism, enhances mood, and provides energy. I love enjoying a cup of matcha latte, indulging in matcha cookies, and relaxing with matcha face masks.
SEAWEED: Seaweed is jam-packed with minerals, fiber, and vitamins while being low in calories and fat. Seaweed comes in various forms and we enjoy it most in soups, wrapped with rice, and as a crunchy snack.
PLANT-BASED POWER UPGRADE: Say goodbye with a K.O. to the old crunchy days of veganism or what you think of what “vegan food tastes like.” If you’re looking to embrace that plant-based, flexitarian lifestyle, but your foodie heart still remains, this is your year. Loads of brands are answering your healthy habit desires with incorporating plant-based ingredients like peas, beans, edamame, and chickpeas to create protein-rich, gluten-free foods–in appetizing and delicious ways. All we can say is Power Up!
PRO PRE & PROBIOTICS: What makes prebiotic and probiotics a dynamic duo? Prebiotics are non-digestable foods that help promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut–like cabbage, bananas, and papaya. Probiotics are the live cultures (aka good bacteria) naturally found in your gut and in foods like kimichi, kombucha, and yogurt. Ideally, you’d want to eat foods that promote both pre & probiotics because they work together synergistically. Your gut will thank you for creating a balanced environment and can help with GI health and boost immunity. Crazy to think probiotic-infused products have also expanded to hot sauce, bars, hummus, and cleaning products(!).
RESPONSIBLE FARMING & RAISING ANIMALS: Companies are in-tuned with focusing on regenerative agriculture to protect the environment and the humane treatment of animals. Some even go as far as to reduce the carbon footprint, building soil health, and crop resilience.
ZERO WASTE LIFESTYLE: We’ve been obsessed with slowly adopting a zero waste lifestyle–a movement that eliminates the consumption of single-use products, especially plastics. Adopting a zero waste lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways of living because it eliminates the number of materials sent to landfill and reduces pollution from producing, transporting, or disposing of materials.
16 products we’ve discovered at Expo West 2019
From clean and simple 1-ingredient snacks to plant protein-rich foods to reusable wax wrappers, here are the products that caught our eye and stomach…
SOLELY FRUIT JERKY: Clean food. 1 ingredient: Organic Mango. Biting into this mango jerky reminds us of Hawaii. They have loads of other flavors that also have 1 ingredient or 2 at the most.
FIX HOT SAUCE: Obsession is an understatement. This hot sauce, especially the Lemongrass green one, has taken over our lives. We load it on everything–breakfast, lunch, dinner. The ingredients are so clean, simple, and organic–anything but basic.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINALS TEAS: This is the first year we’ve learned about adaptogenic herbs and roots and its ailments against stressors. It was fun stopping by the Traditional Medicinals booth and this plant mama couldn’t contain her excitement in front of their living wall. They have a plethora of medicinal teas made from herbs and roots. Our faves are Throat Coat (uses slippery elm bark for its soothing properties) and Stress Ease (uses skullcap and cinnamon to relieve tension and promote relaxation). We ended up winning their sweepstakes for a prize package of teas and wellness products!
HELLO Activated Charcoal Toothpaste & Charcoal Floss: This vegan-friendly brand is free from dyes, artificial sweeteners, and other preservatives. Activated charcoal toothpaste is effective in absorbing plaque and stains, which makes for a natural teeth whitener. Their activated charcoal floss is made from sustainable bamboo to also remove plaque and detoxify between your pearly whites.
MATCHABAR: The folks at Matchabar had a party going with bumpin’ music and the matcha barista handcrafted me my choice of drink from its menu–a WTRMLN Matcha (classic matcha & WTRMLN Water). This kept my energy going during the afternoon slump.
NORA SEAWEED SNACKS: You had me at seaweed and tempura. Such a lovely balance of crunch and umami flavor. If you want some spice in your life, grab their Tempura Spicy flavor, you won’t regret it!
SOL CUISINE MUSHROOM & WILD RICE: This baby was full of that umami goodness without being overly salty. It kept my tastebuds and tummy satisfied and energy levels up throughout the day.
BEYOND MEAT: Packed with 20g of complete plant protein and made with a blend of pea, mung bean, and brown rice proteins, Beyond Beef is sure to be a staple to our meals. We already got a pack from Sprouts during a sale.
ODWALLA SMOOBUCHA: Their Smoobucha (smoothie + kombucha) is the perfect gateway drink for those who’ve been curious about kombucha and its benefits to gut health.
ORGANIC VALLEY: It’s Farmer Time! We connected with farmers Tyler & Melanie Webb from Stonypond Farm in Vermont who supply to Organic Valley. Organic Valley comprises of a cooperative of family farmers across the country who share the same commitment to growing food the right way.
THE NEW FOOD COLLECTIVE: A new collective by Applegate that focuses on community farmers, pasture-raised animals, small batch production, and regenerative farming practices.
BOB’S RED MILL: Met up with Bob again this year and he’s such a compassionate and generous visionary who gave his company to his employees on his 81st birthday. We’re excited to receive his latest Breads & Snacks recipe book since we’ve been wanting to make our own bread. Bob’s enthusiasm and honest-to-goodness approach to making nutritional whole grains for everyone are seen by the extensive selection of products. If you have a dietary restriction, Bob’s got you covered! Also, gotta celebrate their new resealable bag packaging!
LUNETTE: Never knew reusable menstrual cups existed a couple of years ago. Now that we’ve seen it in the flesh, Jennifer may be tempted to try it. It’s the perfect environmentally-friendly alternative to using tampons.
MELI WRAPS: Reusable travel cutlery and wax wraps are common items we take out on the road. We always keep a set of utensils, a metal container, reusable drinkware, and glass straws in our cars. It always comes in handy when you’re dining at a place that uses plastic utensils, have leftovers from a restaurant, or grabbing a coffee or milk tea.
SEASON BRAND SAVORIES: This new ready-to-eat flaked sardine salad packs come with everything you need for a protein-packed, on-the-go snack. Skinless and boneless sardines marinated in herbs and spices are already mixed with fresh vegetables and includes brown rice crackers. They’re perfect for the kiddo’s lunches or an adult’s mid-afternoon snack (ahem, Jennifer).
FEEL GOOD FOODS: Beef Empanadas & Beef Cheddar Taquitos. Couldn’t get enough of these all-natural, gluten-free, finger foods. We’re getting these for our next party!
JUST A NOTE: As the saying goes, one size doesn’t fit all. We write from our observations and experiences. We’re enthusiasts of all things healthy and strive to educate ourselves in this industry. So continue to educate yourself to find what foods and products you like and what works for your lifestyle.
Peek at our highlights and favorites from last year’s Expo West 2018, here. Which ones have you tried?
If you are also a serious snacker and like to be in the know of natural, organic, and healthy products, let us know with a comment below and subscribe to It’s Jou Life! Enter your e-mail address in the upper right column of the page to stay updated and receive e-mails whenever we post. We don’t share your personal information with anyone.