Bedlam. That was the word that continuously rang through my head during the eight hours I spent meandering through the 10,000 booths at my first New Product Expo. It felt as if someone had transformed the state of Rhode Island into a giant casino: no windows for as far as the eye could see, just vendor upon vendor - sometimes 3 or 4 sharing a booth - all of whom had paid tidy sums for the opportunity to tout their new products and hopefully impress Whole Foods, Costco, Walmart and other distributors.
There were relative behemoths such as Kind Bars, which are scrumptious and incredibly HEALTHY HEALTHY HEALTHY (even though the Food and Drug Administration no longer allows them to use that word), but I gravitated towards the outliers, towards the "mom 'n pop" operations, small businesses that had the noblest intentions of making the world a better place and making people happier and healthier.
Here are some of the amazing new products that I discovered:
You Are Loved Foods has the most delicious treats that are 100% FREE of gluten, grain, starch, soy, dairy, xylitol and erythritol, and GMOs. Wow! Their patent-pending chocolate is one-third the fat and half of the calories of regular chocolate. All of their products are strict paleo, boasting less than one gram of sugar and four net carbohydrates per serving, and most of their products are vegan too. In particular, I loved their cashew/almond/hemp/chia protein bites, their chocolate cupcakes, and their truffles (a 47 calorie fudge truffle), as well as their unique grain/sugar/fruit free granola (in three flavors, including ghost pepper spice).
The people from United With Earth Medjool Dates were so pleasant and good-natured that I decided to check out their website. I wasn't surprised to find that they were non-GMO, Certified Organic, and packaged in recycle-friendly containers. And the dates were huge, juicy and yummy.
Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil. I bumped into Dr. Joy Reese and she informed me of the patent-pending extraction process for separating the coconut meat without heating it that she and her two sons had developed. I was blown away by the flavor and texture - by far the freshest coconut meat I've ever tasted that wasn't directly scooped from a coconut.
Maison Le Grand Indian Dhal. This is the tastiest dhal I have ever tasted (and I ate dhal twice a day every day when I was in India)!
Brad's Crunchy Kale - delicious and healthy - this is my new favorite afternoon snack!
There was a plethora of protein bars and smoothie formulas but my favorites were
Whole Earth & Sea Organic Vegan Greens Protein Bar and the Purely Inspired Organic Protein 100% Plant Based Nutritional Shakes - both are non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan.
Tea Tibet's "Happiness" tea made me so happy not only because the Fair Trade, Organic tea was delightful but because 100% of their profits go to Tibet! Great work, Tea Tibet!
Eden Instant Organic Red Miso Soup. I'm not sure this is even on the market yet but it comes in perfect little astronaut type packaging; just add hot water and instantly you have delicious miso soup with big hearty chunks of seaweed. The single serving container resembles a large matchbook but the contents swell as soon as hot water is added. These are the perfect for when I'm on the road and don't want to resort to eating junk.
And it was incredibly lovely to finally meet in person all the way from Australia the Food Matters Television team - James Colquhoun, Grace Mora, Katie Hoad, and Tess Lewis. They are the Netflix of positive, life-affirming films so be sure to check them out! FMTV.com
Returning home from bedlam, I relaxed with a nice cup of Steve Smith Meadow (chamomile based tea) - caffeine free, made from of Egyptian chamomile flowers plus hyssop, rooibos, rose petals and linden flowers. Delectable.
One thing that I feel compelled to mention is the packaging on Sotru Turmeric & Ginger drink - I haven't tried the drink yet but I thought their packaging was really appetizing.
Well, in the weeks to come I will be trying all of the samples that I procured and I'll write more on new products that I discovered at the New Product Expo!