I love discovering new products, especially when they come from small companies. I have a soft spot for entrepreneurs and when those entrepreneurs are all about new foods, it’s like a match made in heaven.
On a whim, I applied for a press pass to Natural Foods Expo East, an annual trade show that showcasing up and coming natural products. While many of the vendors were there to scout for distributors, I was there to find new foods and different products that you should be on the lookout for.
1. Hummus Pods
What it is: Think of it as a pizza roll without the pizza filling. Think of it as hummus without the need for a cracker. Think of it as a tasty and kind of healthy appetizer to serve at parties. It’s a pastry pocket fill with deliciously flavored hummus.
Why I like it: I tasted exactly what you see here – the sriracha lime Hummus Pod. Not only am I a sucker for appetizers (I’ve been known to make an entire meal out of them) but I love unique flavors. And they were designed by two culinary school grads!
What it is: It’s a baked chip made from jicama (pronounced HEE-ka-ma), a root vegetable with a taste like a cross between an apple and a potato.
Why I like it: It’s high in fiber, high in vitamin C, and high in potassium. And the best part – it has a low glycemic index. That’s exactly the kind of snack we need in my house. And it comes in sweet and salty flavors. It’ s perfect if I can only remember how to pronounce it.
Learn more: jicafoods.com
3. Mediterra Nutrition Bars
What it is: They’re savory nutrition bars inspired by the all-natural ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet.
Why I like it: Finally! A snack bar that is NOT loaded with sugar! I love sugar as much as the next person but when it comes down to it, I’ll take savory over sweet any day of the week. And yes, it tastes good.
4. Mochi Ice Cream
What it is: Little bitesize ice cream treats wrapped in sweet rice dough. If you’ve ever been to an Asian restaurant, you may have tried these!
Why I like it: Asian dessert goes mainstream! I’ve had these at restaurants in more traditional flavors like green tea and red bean. But Mochi brings this portion controlled dessert bites to us with more American flavors like strawberry and chocolate.
Learn more: mymochi.com
5. Paqui Tortilla Chips
What it is: Tortilla chips but… these tortilla chips are non-GMO, contains nothing artificial, and no trans fats. Made by the same company that brings you Skinny Pop.
Why I like it: What’s not to like about tortilla chips? Maybe it was because I was so hungry but this was the first sample I had at Expo East and I think I licked the bag clean.
Learn more: paqui.com
6. Prana Organic Snacks
What it is: It’s a line of healthy snacks and organic food. The featured line that you see here (and I tried them all) included chocolate bark, trail mixes and toasted coconut chips.
Why I like it: I’m not a chocolate person and I tried ALL THE CHOCOLATES. And the trail mix and the coconut chips. And I was able to tell the founder of the company (SHE was there) and she loaded me up with lots of samples. More to come!
Learn more: pranasnacks.com
7. Veggie Noodle Co.
What it is: Spiralized vegetables in the refrigerated section ready for preparation with your next meal.
Why I like it: I never jumped on the spiralized vegetable bandwagon and now I’m asking myself why. What’s better about the Veggie Noodle Co. is that it’s organic, prepackaged, and ready for sauteeing. And yes, it really does taste like a delicious pasta hybrid. I want these NOW.
Learn more: cecesveggieco.com
8. Wildway Grain Free Granola
What it is: Wildway offers grain-free granola and hot cereals but it’s more than that. Their products are gluten-free, non-GMO, sweetener-free, oil-free, and vegan.
Why I like it: I’m still not sure exactly what’s in it – fruits, nuts, maybe some alien lifeforce? But being able to create a product that checks off all the boxes and tastes this good was a nice surprise.
Learn more: wildwayoflife.com
9. Biena Chickpea Snacks
What it is: Chickpea snacks are definitely a hot new trend but Biena caught my eye because the people were friendly, the snacks were delicious, and they had free samples!
Why I like it: I’m a snacky person so it was a no brainer to stop and try these. But without even thinking, I tried them all (including the Habanero – yowch!) and was sold!
Learn more: bienafoods.com
10. Davidson’s Eggs
What it is: Pasteurized eggs. ‘Nuff said.
Why I like it: Eggs are typically NOT pasteurized which is why raw eggs run the risk of containing salmonella. If you cook with raw eggs (thing Pasta Carbonara or even meringue), you now have the “safest choice” in eggs without altering the flavor or consistency in any way. Genius.
Learn more: safeeggs.com
11. Seawatch Deep Fried Clam Chowda
What it is: A deep fried bite of delicious and creamy New England Clam Chowder.
Why I like it: How do you deep fry soup? I really don’t know. I really don’t care. This was hands-down my favorite product of the day. And they’re made right here in Maryland!
Learn more: seawatch.com
There were only two downsides to attending Expo East. The first was that I only had one day to spend there and there is a LOT of ground to cover. And a lot of food products and brands to cover. This was just a first pass at everything I snapped with my phone as I was walking through the show. These were the products that immediately caught my attention. But there were so many more.
I learned about rice and cosmetics and mineral salts, and sponges and so many other natural products that I’ll be talking about over the next few weeks.
The other downside is that I spent most of my time on the third and fourth floors in what they called the “Hot Products” area. When there was only a short time left before the show floor closed for the day, I popped down to the first floor thinking I could breeze through. And that’s when I discovered that that was where most of the main exhibitors were, including many brands you know and love like Eden Foods, Fage Yogurt, and even Bob’s Red Mill.
It’s all good though. Most of the brands I featured here are up and coming. All should be available online and many are looking for wider distribution in stores near you. Check our their websites, find where you can get them, and enjoy!
(And then come back to tell me what you think).