Sunday, May 18, 2014

Natural Products Expo West 2014

I finally decided to stop being jealous of Quarrygirl's Natural Products Expo West blog posts and go visit the mecca for myself. Safe to say, I was blown away by the size and the quality of the Expo. I got to see some great products, meet tons of awesome people and, of course, get my name printed up on a press pass. The Expo is held in Anaheim, which is nice because it's right next to Disneyland, so you can really make a vacation out of it. Also, you're still close to LA (just don't drive there on a Friday night) so you can check out all the Vegan eats and catch a concert.

So, day one of the Expo, I really lucked out and caught Sarah from The Spooky Vegan in the press line. This was the first time at the Expo for both of us, so it really worked out because we didn't know what the hell we were doing. Sarah is the best Expo buddy you could ask for!

Ever since I've been back everyone is like "what was your favorite product???" I had a few that I loved, but the Gardein Golden Fishless Filet was my top pick. I still haven't seen it in Omaha yet, but I can't wait to get reacquainted.

So what else did I love? Well, Amy's Tofu Breakfast Sandwich was killer. Mr. Dewie's Cashew Milk Ice Cream was off the hook amazing. The Field Roast Hand-Formed Burgers (and Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages) were delish. And Phoney Baloney's new Coconut Bacon flavors (especially Apple Fennel) were mouth-watering good!

My favorite moment from the Expo is when I spotted Amy Berliner serving food at the Amy's Kitchen booth. I told Isa "look it's Amy!" and Isa was like "what are you talking about?" and I was like "look, It's AMY!" Isa finalllly got it and we were able to snag a pic. I'm happy to report that Amy is super nice and down to earth. And I finally got to tell her I put her through college. Life complete! Shout out to Allie Drew for making it happen.

And my second favorite moment from the Expo was getting Vega formulator Brendan Brazier and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness creator Robert Cheeke together for a pic. Two cool dudes doing good things in the Vegan community.

So many awesome booths with great food! The Chicago Vegan Foods peeps brought the nacho cheese pump, so you know this expo is official. Follow Your Heart had yummy grilled cheese sandwiches right off the grill. Team Phoney Baloney was ready to greet the Vegans and all the people who ask "how can coconut be bacon?" One of the Qrunch team members was from Nebraska, gotta love my home state folk!

Sarah and I LOVED the Beyond Meat "Taco Beyond" booth. Their tacos were AMAZING. Cobra Corn is a product you need to try, headquartered in Chicago. The Bombay Seasoning Cobra Corn is worth getting shipped from Vegan Essentials. Daiya had a MASSIVE booth with tons of "Daiya Girls" walking around, giving samples. Mr. Dewie's had some really great ice cream and they entertained the heck out of us bloggers. Cybele from Cybele's Free to Eat told me she appreciated my putting up a pic of her cookies on Facebook. I thought that was pretty cool! And it took all three days of the expo, but I finally caught up with Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack. She's always the life of the party!

Nature's Path had some cool new things to sample and their rep was cracking us up. Dr. McDougall's had some new soups I hope to see soon. Vegetarian Plus had tons of stuff I've never seen before and I got to sample it. Sweet Earth had a sweet new Hickory and Sage Seitan Bacon that I can't wait to try again. Morinaga had a pamphlet with Terry Hope Romero on it, so we had to chat it up with them. And the Hail Merry ladies were super nice and gave us a heads up that Costco carries them now!

Always a treat to see Dan and Nicole from Upton's Naturals. Their Bacon Seitan is in my fridge 24/7. Happy to see the Liz Lovely booth, but they broke my heart by getting rid of the chocolate dipped cookies and pretzels. Wildwood got harassed by Isa about their creamer, I'm sorry. Vega had this nifty dispenser for Vega One. Oddly I didn't take any because it wasn't 6:20 am and I wasn't driving to work. Tofurky had a new gluten-free pizza I'd like to try again. I had a sample, but I need a whole pizza of that stuff. And Peanut Butter & Co. was in the house as they should be.

Sjaak's was very sweet and gave us bloggers a metric ton of candy to split amongst ourselves. I love their chocolates so much! JJ Sweet's Cocomels out of Boulder, Colorado was representing with their amazing caramels. Bee Free Honee gave a taste of everything. The honee is made out of apples, it's really good stuff! Endangered Species Chocolate had this amazing Raspberry Orange Creme Filled Dark Chocolate Bar that was to die for. I can't wait to find it here in Omaha.

So that was Natural Products Expo West 2014 in a nutshell! I didn't post half of what I actually saw, it really is a lot of stimuli. Lots of food, people and more people. Thank you to everyone who hung out with me and made my trip so special. I look forward to 2015!


13 comments:

  1. I feel like I was there, John! Or maybe I just wish I had been. Sheesh. Thanks for strongly suggesting all of that amazing sounding new bounty rush itself to the Big O.

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  2. When I die, I want to go to Natural Products Expo West instead of heaven. That place looks amazing! Like a VegFest on steroids! That pic of Brendan and Robert together is priceless! I had those Field Roast burgers at Seattle VegFest and THEY WERE SO GOOD!!!! Also, omg, you met AMY!!!!

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    1. You'd love it! It really is on steroids. Then you've got after-parties and all kinds of things going on. SO much fun!

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  3. I have been looking for a decent fish fillet. I want to try that gardien so badly!

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  4. This looks like something I need to go to one day, eating samples is one of my favourite ways to spend a day! I'm gonna be in Austin in a few months and I'll be looking out for the Gardein fish fillets and that Endangered Species raspberry creme filled bar, yum!

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  5. cool! what a fun event! glad you had fun

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  6. I bought Mr. Dewie's ice cream last week after sampling it at my local health food store. Delicious! Can't wait to grab some of the products you recommended! Thanks so much!

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  7. I have GOT to get my hot little paws on those Gardein fish filets.

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  8. So jealous. Looks like a great time, great food and great people!

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