Last week Lisa & Dawn visited Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. This annual extravaganza is the biggest natural products trade show in the world, with over 3000 exhibitors and more than 80,000 food industry attendees. We’re talking massive convention halls filled with innovative food vendors giving out free samples of their latest creations, with plentiful amounts of vegan food. We won’t need to eat again for a week.
Expo West is packed full of on-trend food offerings for the natural and healthy crowd. You can find gluten-free, fermented/probiotic, allergen-free, and non-GMO versions of all your favorite foods. Best of all, Expo West is a fantastic place to discover and taste all the newest plant-based foods. Each year, the number of vegan products at Expo West increases dramatically, reflecting the nation-wide trend towards plant-based eating. We taste-tested foods at over 150 booths, and we’re excited to share some of our favorites.
Beyond Sausage (beyondmeat.com)
Beyond Sausage: Don’t be fooled – these are 100% plant-based
Lisa’s pick: Beyond Meat’s new sausage products created long tasting lines at their booth, but it was well worth the wait. The sausages are delicious and will make any meat-lover happy. The sausages are coming soon – in the meantime, check out Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, available in grocery stores now.
Good Catch Tuna (goodcatchfoods.com)
Good Catch: Say hello to plant-based tuna salad sandwiches
Lisa and Dawn’s pick: Good Catch has developed a line of plant-based seafoods. Their tuna has just the right flaky texture and tastes great. We also tried their amazing Crab-free Cakes – perfect for serving at a party or as appetizers. Available late 2018.
No Evil Comrade Cluck (noevilfoods.com)
Lisa’s pick: No Evil Foods has an exciting lineup of plant meats. Their no-chicken product “Comrade Cluck” is especially good, with a perfect chewy texture. They are working to expand their distribution – check their website for stores near you.
Tofurky DIY Breakfast Sausage (tofurky.com)
Dawn’s pick: As a 17-year vegan, you can believe I’ve eaten my fair share of Tofurky products. But what I love about this company is they continue to innovate and push the envelope with new foods. This DIY breakfast sausage blew my mind. It allows you to make your own patties, links, or whatever suits your fancy. I can’t wait to get creative with this!
Myrtle Greens Jerky (myrtlegreens.com)
Lisa’s pick: Myrtle Greens is a new brand from Vegetarian Plus, makers of plant meats like Vegan Ginger Chicken in the freezer section. Myrtle Greens is rolling out a collection of mouth-watering vegan jerkys. I loved the Five Spice and Sweet Teriyaki flavors. Coming soon.
Field Roast Mini Corn Dogs (tofurky.com)
Dawn’s pick: With all the versions of vegan hot dogs on the market, you’d think someone would have wrapped those puppies in corn meal, deep fried them and made us all happy. But as far as I know, no one but Field Roast has done that until now. I absolutely love the Field Roast hot dogs on their own. If you haven’t tried them – you must. But when you make them into cute little bite size nuggets and corn them up – OMG, I’m transported to an alternate childhood where I ate delicious plants instead of piggies. Luckily as an adult I get to make that choice every day!
Art of Broth “Chicken” Broth (theartofbroth.com)
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: The Art of Broth offers three flavors of vegan broths – chicken, beef, and vegetable. They come packaged like a tea bag, so you can make a cup and sip it, or use it as a soup stock. The chicken flavor is spectacular. You can order it right from their website.
Nature’s Charm Jackfruit (naturescharmveganproducts.com)
Dawn’s pick: To be honest, I’m not always a huge fan of prepared savory jackfruit. I find it quite finicky, depending almost entirely on the sauce. That was until I tasted this Young Green Jackfruit Confit that is perfectly seasoned right out of the can. It doesn’t need a sauce because it has exactly the right mix of spices that allow the jackfruit to shine.
Miyoko’s Roadhouse Cheddar & Smoked Mozzarella (miyokoskitchen.com)
Miyoko’s: Spreadable cheddar magic and smoky heaven
Lisa’s pick: Miyoko’s creamery makes some of the best vegan cheeses around. At Expo, they introduced the Roadhouse collection of spreadable cheeses that are completely addictive. I’m hooked on the “Cheers to Cheddah.” The Roadhouse collection is coming soon, but meanwhile you can enjoy their cheese wheels, butter, and cream cheese.
Dawn’s pick: The “Smoky Mozzarella” was even better than the original mozzarella, if you can believe that’s possible. I’m a huge sucker for a smoky cheese and this mild white is the perfect vehicle to deliver an amazing smoke flavor.
Wayfare Dairy-Free Sour Cream (wayfarefoods.com)
Wayfare: Look at those little samples – we tried them all!
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: Wayfare makes an incredible collection of dairy-free foods that you have to taste to believe. The butter, puddings, and cream cheese are all tasty, but the standout winner is their sour cream. It’s without question the best plant-based sour cream we’ve ever eaten. Lisa’s spinach artichoke dip recipe just got ten times better! Check their website to find stores in your area.
Violife Feta Cheese (violifefoods.com/us/)
Dawn’s pick: Leave it to the vegan cheesemakers from Greece to perfect a vegan feta that tastes and behaves like the real thing! Violife has perfected the flavor of feta with that lovely texture that are sure to compliment your Mediterranean food creations. Vegan spanakopita, anyone? If so, invite me over please!
Daiya Ice Cream Bars (daiyafoods.com)
Daiya: Check it out, Salted Caramel Swirl. Seriously.
Lisa’s pick: Daiya’s products are dairy, gluten, and soy-free. They have wonderful meltable cheese in shreds, slices, and blocks. New at Expo: individually wrapped cheese sticks! I can’t wait to take those on camping trips. Their extensive product line is expanding all the time – cheesecake, pizza, mac & cheese, salad dressings, cream cheese, and yogurt. And if that isn’t enough, they’re introducing chocolate-covered coconut frozen dessert bars. In four flavors. Including salted caramel swirl. Oh my.
Bute Island / Sheese (buteisland.com)
Bute Island’s Sheese: Just look at all those flavors!
Lisa’s pick: From Bute Island Foods in Scotland, another excellent line of plant-based cheeses. “Sheese” comes in creamy spreads and block-style cheeses – I’m in love with the Red Leicester block cheese. Sheese has been around for a while in the UK and Canada, but it will soon be more broadly available in the U.S. I can’t wait.
Dawn got to meet Debbie, cheesemaker and head of Bute Island Foods!
Oatly Milks (us.oatly.com)
Lisa’s pick: Plant-based milks are everywhere now, and are made from soy, rice, almond, cashew, coconut, pea, macadamias, and more. Here’s a new one: milk made from oats. I know, it sounds crazy, but you gotta taste this stuff – it’s incredible, creamy and delicious. Use the Oatfinder on their website to find coffee shops near you that serve Oatly. When this milk gets to retail I’ll be buying it by the case.
137 Degrees Pistachio Milk (www.137degrees.net)
Dawn’s pick: With all of the amazing array of vegan milks available, it’s hard to find one that surprises. 137 Degrees Pistachio Milk was a deeply nutty flavor with beautiful richness, on the sweeter side with that unmistakeable pistachio flavor. I would easily drink this as is on a regular basis. It’s not to be wasted on smoothies where the flavor will disappear, but rather enjoyed plain.
Nature’s Charm Butterscotch Sauce (naturescharmveganproducts.com)
Nature’s Charm: Vegan butterscotch sauce, are you kidding me?
Lisa’s pick: I already knew about Nature’s Charm thanks to their fabulous vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk, which made it possible for me to make awesome vegan maple fudge at home. Thank you, Nature’s Charm. But at Expo I was delighted to discover that they have three amazing sauces for desserts – butterscotch, chocolate fudge, and salted caramel. It’s possible that I went back to the booth extra times so I could taste them all again. Try veganessentials.com to stock your pantry with this awesomeness.
Unreal Dark Chocolate Gems (getunreal.com)
Lisa’s pick: If you’re hankering for some vegan m&ms or peanut butter cups, Unreal has got you covered (although watch out for the milk chocolate candies, which do contain dairy). All the snackable goodness without the cruelty. Yay. See their website for where to buy.
Chocolat Stella White Chocolate
Chocolat Stella: Vegan white chocolate done right
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: We’ve been on the hunt for excellent vegan white chocolate for a long time. At Expo, our journey ended – this Swiss company has created white chocolate perfection. Try veganessentials.com to buy online. You won’t be sorry.
Vegan Savory Snacks
Live Love Pop (livelovepop.com)
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: The creative geniuses at Live Love Pop have invented a line of flavored popcorns based on best-selling potato chip flavors. All are vegan except for the Honey BBQ. Try the Zesty Ranch (new), Cheddar & Sour Cream, and Salt & Vinegar. Additional bonus: Live Love Pop gives to a different charity for each flavor that they sell. Popcorn and social good in the same bag? We’ll take it! You can buy online direct from their website, or check to see if any stores in your area carry it.
Beanfields Nacho Chips (beanfieldssnacks.com)
Lisa’s pick: Beanfields makes them, and they’ve vegan and so yummy. Widely available – check their website.
Vegan Prepared Foods
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: Alpha makes ready-to-heat frozen burritos in four amazing vegan flavors: Mexicali, pizza, chick’n fajita, and philly sandwich. Even better, they are available at Walmart (in the freezer section). Perfect to have on hand when you need a quick and tasty meal.
Hummus Pods (modpodco.com)
Lisa & Dawn’s pick: Modern Pod has invented a “snacketizer” called the Hummus Pod: a tasty mouthful of seasoned hummus inside a multigrain shell. It’s like hummus and a dumpling all in one. We’re going to serve these at our next party and really impress everyone. We can’t believe they’re gluten-free too! Check the Pod Finder on the website to score some of these.