More Like, Natural Products Expo Feast!
The Natural Products Expo East at the Philadelphia Convention Center was the first in-person event in a minute and it didn't disappoint. The intimate atmosphere gave HBX a chance to reconnect and meet with founders, sample natural and organic products and learn about the inspirations driving today's innovations in food and beverage.
Among the 800 exhibitors debuting and 15,000 attendees sampling everything from immune boosting foods, healthier freezer finds to permissible indulgences- the five themes that stood out to us doubled down on health & wellness and served it up with a side of sustainable transparency.
1. FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGES
From Alkaline CBD Water, Probiotic Seltzer, Kombucha to Yerba Mate - the Booze-free cocktails hit the spot. Zero-proof beers, wines and spirits are on the rise as is the demand of people wanting to enjoy a "mocktail" moment.
Ritual Beverages bring to life the taste and sensation of liquor without the alcohol, calories or hangover. Made by drinkers for drinkers, Ritual does for liquor what the Impossible Burger does for hamburgers, and what Tesla does for cars: offer customers a healthier, cleaner, premium alternative to something they already enjoy.
Check out their Gin, Whiskey and Tequila Spirits alternatives which have no artificial ingredients, colors, or flavors of any kind so you can still capture the spirit of a cocktail without the guilt. We took a sip (or two) of Ritual's crave-worthy cocktails and had a sensory experience with each and every one of them.
2. PLANT-BASED SNACKS
Plant-based diet is more than a trend, it's a movement and it was on full display from drinks, ice cream to healthy snacks. These brands are not only better for you and free from allergies you didn't even know existed, they're better for the environment. Our favorite?
Plant Perks (relaunched by yours truly) is a delicious Vegan "Cheeze" Spread made sustainably and cruelty free. All of the Cheezes (and trust me, we tried them all) are cashew based, organic, rich in probiotics, non-GMO, kosher, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, paleo, keto and did we mention DELICIOUS!? While the Smoked Gouda Cheeze was on point, the Garlic & Herb was the ultimate yum!
We caught up with founder, raw vegan chef and certified nutritionist- Tiffany and her brother and Business Partner- Jared and learned more about their growing business plans and how they turned their guilty pleasures into their most healthy treasures.
3. SAVORY MEATLESS MEAT
Consumer demand in healthier foods is trending across the entire market and let's just say the meatless meat category has come a long way from the days of bland black bean burgers.
Meet Meatless Farm, a plant-based meat brand that is good for your gut and good for the earth. Vegan meat sales have soared 27% in the last year and as a result so have pre-made easy-to-work with proteins. Real meat say goodbye.
Thanks to Morten Toft Bech- who founded The Meatless Farm out of concern about health, the environment and animal welfare- explored how plants can be used to create exciting, delicious and healthy meatless meats for everyone to enjoy. Their sausage and patty burgers are loaded with amazing taste and texture. Kids can't get enough!
4. TOUCH OF GLOBAL FLAVORS
New takes on traditional foods inspired by global destinations and ingredients procured from far off lands had us reminiscing of travel.
Ziba Foods an artisanal nut and dried fruit company provides delicious, nutrient-dense, sustainably grown and social responsible food sourced by heirloom farmers in Afghanistan. Leaving the world better than they found it.
Thor's Skyr an Icelandic yogurt that has sustained Icelanders for nearly 1,000 years is now made in the US using the original Icelandic recipe and heirloom Icelandic Skyr cultures. For thick, creamy, and delicious yogurt lovers only.
Brazi Bites a delicious Latin-inspired, gluten-free and better-for-you food made with a Brazilian cheese bread base that takes every bite to the next level. We have a special place in our hearts for this brand because they're also our client.
BEST IN SHOW
A special shout-out to CAULIPOWER. In the absence of samples, their booth was a hit!