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Kendall Sass

Top 10 Vegan Finds at Natural Products Expo West 2017

By | Events, Press Release

By Sarah E. Jahier

This was my fourth year at the Natural Products Expo West (past years’ coverage – 2014, 2015, 2016), a convention held every year at the Anaheim Convention Center where companies showcase their new natural foods and products to retailers, restaurants, industry folk, and press. Many companies launch new products at this convention, including many vegan and vegan-friendly products. Each year it is so exciting to see so many more vegan options at the Expo! This year was no different, and there were so many new vegan finds I can’t wait to share with you!

I was only able to go one day this year, but I still managed to cover lots of ground and hit most of the booths I was interested in checking out. I’m ecstatic that veganism keeps getting bigger and bigger at Expo, and I even overheard a buyer from a HUGE grocery chain (that was checking out a vegan cheese line no less!) exclaim that veganism seems to be everywhere this year (she’s right, and it’s just gonna keep getting bigger and bigger)! There was so much vegan stuff to check out and I stuffed my face with so much vegan food, but there were ten vegan finds that really stood out. Check them out below:

1. Daiya Pumpkin Spice Cheezecake – This was the best thing I put in my mouth all Expo!! As you probably know, I am obsessed with all things pumpkin spice, so this was the product I was most excited for and it did not disappoint! It was creamy, dreamy, and had just the right balance of sweet and pumpkin spice. This will be a seasonal product, so look for it this fall!

2. Follow Your Heart New Yogurt – There were A LOT of vegan yogurts at Expo this year, but the best I tried were from Follow Your Heart! They are made from a coconut base and full of real fruit and probiotic cultures. They are soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO as well.  The consistency of FYH’s yogurts was perfect and I loved the real chunks of fruit in some flavors. The variety of flavors was awesome, and they included Strawberry Rhubarb, Key Lime, and Pina Colada! Look for these in stores early this summer!

3. Field Roast Mini Corn Dogs – Field Roast had so many new vegan products this year (check out more below!) that it made it tough to choose a favorite, but these mini corn dogs totally won my heart! They had the perfect batter-to-hot-dog ratio, and the batter itself was delectable! They are made with Field Roast’s own Frankfurters, so you know they are good! These will be in stores later this year – look for them in the frozen section.

4. Upton’s Naturals Ch’eesy Bacon Mac – This prepared vegan mac and cheese only takes one minute to prepare (the pasta is already cooked!) and has an incredible smoky flavor. I really liked the nice firm al dente bite of the pasta. Definitely a winner and I can’t wait for it to hit stores! Their other new products (check ’em out below) are delicious as well!

5. Miyoko’s Kitchen Smoked VeganMozz – I didn’t think Miyoko’s could get any better, but this smoky vegan mozzarella blew my mind! The flavor is unbelievable and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this stuff! It is gonna elevate breakfast sandwiches, pizzas, grilled cheese, and so much more!

6. Nature’s Charm Vegan Sundae Sauces and Coconut Whipping Cream – Nature’s Charm are coming out with three new coconut-based dessert toppings – butterscotch, salted caramel, and chocolate fudge – plus a new coconut whipping cream! I could not get enough of these toppings and can’t wait to have vegan ice cream sundaes topped with their coconut whip and sauces.

7. NUCO Coconut Vegan Mayo – There were a few new vegan mayonnaise options at Expo, but NUCO’s coconut and avocado oil based mayo was my favorite! It had a fantastic creamy texture, just the right amount of fat to give it a good mouthfeel, and it had a great tangy taste! Plus, it is made with clean ingredients with no weird additives.

8. Vegetarian Plus Tuna Rolls – These vegan tuna rolls come in two individually wrapped rolls, and you can make all sorts of thing with them. The chef at the Vegetarian Plus booth made these incredible spicy vegan tuna rolls and I stood there for a few minutes sneaking several samples. They taste so freaking good, I can’t wait to make my own sushi rolls with them! Vegan sushi party, anyone?

9. Violife Vegan Cheeses – Like past years, Violife’s cheeses were a real standout of Expo! I tried their new after-dinner dessert cheeses stuffed with blueberries and cranberries as well as sampling some of my old favorites (like their parmesan!!) and loved everything.

10. Milkadamia Latte Da – Milkadamia was my favorite beverage at Expo last year, and now they are releasing this incredible latte drink! I tried a cappuccino they made with it, and the caramel and marshmallow flavors were delightful!

Other notable new vegan products coming to stores soon include:

NadaMoo Birthday Cake and Rockiest Road Ice Cream – These two new flavors were released a month or so before Expo, but I haven’t been able to find them at my local Sprouts grocery store yet, so Expo was the first place I got to try them! They were both phenomenal! The Birthday Cake had ribbons of yellow cake, chunks of cookie dough, and rainbow sprinkles in the vanilla ice cream, while Rockiest Road was chocolate ice cream studded with almonds, cookies, and fluffy marshmallows. Both flavors were incredible and I can’t wait to find them at my local Sprouts!

Follow Your Heart Rocket Cakes and Ready-to-Pour VeganEgg – Rocket Cakes is a brand new, ready-to-pour on the grill liquid pancake batter that will make vegan pancakes even easier to make! They were also showcasing their pre-mixed liquid VeganEgg in a container that is easy to pour. Both of these will be released in the fall.

Daiya Deluxe Cheeze Sauce – Just the cheese sauce (the same that is sold with their mac and cheese) will be sold in packets of three so you can douse your veggies or make nachos! I tried some at Expo with some chips and it was delicious. It will be available in both their Cheddar Style and Alfredo Style flavors.

Field Roast Chao Mac and Cheese, Fruffalo Wings, Katsu Cutlets, Chao Buttery Spread, and Chao Mayo – OMG, Field Roast is releasing so many RAD new products and they all taste amazing! The mac and cheese was fantatic and uses penne pasta and comes in Original and Chili flavors. The Buttery Spread tasted amazing on bread and the mayo had a nice creamy taste. And drooling over the Katsu Cutlets and Fruffalo Wings! They also had three seasonal sausages – Hawaiian, Bratwurst, and Lil’ Smokies!

Upton’s Naturals Ready-to-Eat Meals and New Jackfruit Flavors – Upton’s unveiled four new shelf-stable vegan meal kits that feature pre-cooked noodles and real vegetables that are ready in just one minute! They are available in the following authentic Thai flavors: Massaman Curry, Pad See Ew, Thai Spaghetti, and Thai Curry Noodle. They also debuted two new jackfruit flavors, Sweet and Smoky (which is perfect for those that want a subtle BBQ flavor) and Sriracha!

Myrtle Greens Vegan Jerky – I was pleased to see so many vegan jerky options at Expo, but my fave was the jerky from Myrtle Greens (who are affiliated with Vegetarian Plus). I loved Vegetarian Plus’ jerky last year, and I think these might be the same ones re-branded. I’m hoping these finally hit stores this year!

Bute Island Foods Sheese – This was my first time trying this Scottish vegan cheese that so far has only been available in Europe. It was soooooo good and they have so many different flavors. They were trying to find U.S. distribution at Expo, so I’m really hoping they get some buzz going so we can find it in the U.S. soon!

Best Vegan Snacking

By | Press Release

This week’s best of series focuses on all things vegan snacking.

So when I say vegan snacking, I wanted to share the best of great snack ideas not genetically modified *clears throat* crap that coincidentally is vegan like Oreos.  I wanted real, vegan and gluten free snacking.  I wanted to cover chips to ice cream and everything in between so everyone from sweet to salty palates are covered.

As clean as your eating is, it’s important to build in treats or desserts into your diet. Balance is key.  I shared favorites that are all gluten free and vegan.  Easily found at Whole Foods or your favorite markets (or online).  This is just a list of my top favorites and honestly the list could go on & on if you let me.

Let’s start with popcorn.  I truthfully have a strong love for popcorn.  This popcorn in particular is my kryptonite.  Live Love Pop Truffle popcorn is based out of Austin, Texas.  A phenomenal company that is also sharing a 20% off discount for friends of mine on their new online shop.  Use code:  Kneadtocook for 20% off your order.  The truffle salt is our absolute favorite!

Let’s get into dark chocolate & of course, nut butter.  MY love.  Justin’s has long been a favorite of mine.  This little bag of delectable goodness are perfect for snacking, topping ice cream OR in baking.  No words needed.  Just go and get these!

Who needs dairy ice cream?  NOT me!  Once you sink your spoon into Nadamoo’s coconut based ice creams… there’s no turning back.  They just released two new flavors which I’m still dying over!

Needless to say the product they sent us was quickly devoured.  Thankfully local markets can order for us.  The birthday cake cookie dough.  Really, this is the best food combination in the history of food combinations EVER.

Moving on… baked coconut chips.  I bought them on a whim one day at the grocery store and have worked my way through many brands but THIS!  Oh C20 you make the most delectable flavors, texture and such yummy goodness.  I love these atop smoothie bowls, on my oatmeal or straight outta the bag 😉 Available at most grocery stores near the healthier chips/snacks.  Totally addictive.  Be warned.

Ohhhhh Hippeas.  I stumbled on these vegan puff kinda snacks at Starbucks and we instantly fell in love.  My daughter love the fajita flavor and I of course am smitten with Sriracha. You can order right from Amazon and they ship you a love, huge box of love.  Crunchy.  Flavor packed.  Oh and they’re made from chickpeas so yeah, they have protein too!  I die.

If you’re a caramel fan like me… this is one thing that you miss going vegan.  Until now. These Cocomels caramel candies are made from coconut milk and are oh so creamy deliciousness. Perfect grab and go treat that are pre-wrapped.  They are perfect when you just need a sweet treat.

Eat Pastry has long been a favorite in our house.  First, you can eat the dough right out of the container (ha – no eggs in there).  They make a gf version.  You can mix the dough into ice cream.  Spread it on whatever.  However you do you!  Plus of course, you can bake them if your a traditionalist.  I buy these by the case and store in the freezer.  Plus the dough is ready to go if you wish to only bake 1 or 2 cookies.  I mean seriously, c’mon!

Navigating The Frozen Aisle At The Grocery Store

By | Press Release


Happy National Frozen Foods Day!

Did you know Frozen Foods Day has been celebrated all the way back from 1984? I’m sure majority of your grocery shopping trips make a pit stop to the frozen aisles for at least one item, if not more. The frozen aisle has definitely improved over the years.

I like to bring this question up in many of my nutrition group discussions – Which do you think is healthier: fresh or frozen? Many raise their hand for fresh and a few brave participants raise their hands for frozen, even if they don’t exactly know why. The answer is both are healthy! Frozen can be just as healthy as fresh thanks to American inventor Clarence Frank Birdseye II, who invented the process of flash freezing. Flash freezing of fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood preserve flavor, quality, and nutrients. Birdseye discovered the key was freezing the food quickly, locking in foods nutritional value. Flash freezing forms small ice crystals which prevent the cell walls from bursting. Large ice crystals turn the food to mush.

Previously working as a supermarket RD, I know how to navigate the aisles like a pro! Let’s first shop by food group.


  • Check your ingredient list. Make sure it is just the fruit itself. Avoid added sugar.
    My Picks: Campoverdue Fruit & Veggie Blenders, Dole Fruit and Veggie Blends, or Dole Dippers (for a portion controlled sweet treat)
    Tip: Skip the syrup for topping your waffles or pancakes. Try using frozen fruit! Simply add frozen berries to a small pot over stove top and let simmer. It will turn gooey and syrupy. Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to thicken.


  • Opt for the plain varieties. Skip the vegetables with gravies, cheese sauces, and even those labeled as “lightly seasoned”. They may be light in taste but check the nutrition label for hidden excess sodium and fat.
  • Watch out for “par-fried” items. I’m looking at you frozen french fries. Par-fried means blanching or half-frying that involves partially frying the food but not browning it, so that it must be cooked again before serving. So even though you might bake them in the oven, they were still fried.
  • Look for new items like riced cauliflower and other riced vegetables. So far I’ve seen riced carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes too!
  • Cauliflower is popping up everywhere for a low-carb option. They are even making cauliflower tots to replace potatoes.
    My Picks: frozen cauliflower rice, Veggie fries, (ANY!)
    Tip: Give yourself a break prepping in the kitchen. Get a stir fry going in minutes with pre-chopped onions, peppers, and carrots!


  • Look for the first word on the ingredient list to be the word “whole”, for frozen products like waffles.
  • Now ancient grains are even easier to get on the dinner table. No need to wait for them to cook in a pot. Warm up frozen whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
  • Do steel cut oats take to long to cook in the morning? Don’t worry there is frozen version that can heat up in seconds.
    My Picks: Van’s Whole Grain Waffles, Kashi Whole Grain Waffles, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Ezekiel bread


  • Again, watch out for “par-fried” items.
  • Opt for protein, like chicken or fish, without a breadcrumb coating. Choose lean choices of meat.
  • Look for plant-based proteins like edamame. Now they even have frozen beans available!
    My Picks: Hip Chick Farms, Good Food Made Simple, Hanover Beans

This is typically your ice cream section of the frozen department. There is a whole other refrigerated aisle dedicated for wholesome dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheeses.

  • Check your ingredient list. Look for real food ingredients.
  • Opt for yogurt-based items
    My Picks: As a dietitian, I always practice what I preach that everything in moderation. Now if you want that Ben and Jerry’s, go for it, being mindful of the portion sizes. There are so many new ice creams out there that I do have mixed feeling about. Some have sugar alcohols. For me personally, they bother my stomach, but it can be a good alternative for ice cream lovers who are looking to enjoy their ice cream a little more often than not. Halo Top, NadaMoo, Yasso, Enlightened are a few.

Frozen Meals

In general, look for meals that include one or more servings each of vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat, fish, or poultry. This combination will be higher in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber (which helps fill you up). Skip frozen dinners with cream sauces, gravies, or fried foods. And although dessert may look like a bonus, maybe have a piece of fresh fruit instead, for more fiber, nutrition, and fewer calories.

When comparing labels for frozen entrees, many eyes jump right down to the sodium, because come frozen meals can be sodium bombs. Look for a frozen entree < 600 milligrams.

It’s also important to pay attention to serving sizes. Although they may be lower in calories, smaller entrees may leave you hungry. But don’t be afraid to add a few extras to boost nutrition and satisfaction. Add a side salad or an extra bag of steamed veggies to up nutritional value of the meal and add fiber, so it will fill you up and satisfy your hunger. Looking to bump up the protein? Add 1/2 cup of beans or a sprinkling of nuts to your meal. No additional cooking required!

My favorite trick: I place a big bed of baby spinach or zoddles on my plate then pour the piping hot Luvo frozen entree right on top straight from the microwave. It wilts the spinach or softens the zoodles and bulks up the meal with extra vegetables.

My Picks: Luvo, Grainful, Evol, Garden Lites, Kashi, Amy’s

Frozen Pizza
Check your serving size. Often those pizzas contain multiple servings. Again, bulk them up! Keep it simple so there is no additional cooking required. Add toppings like frozen grilled chicken strips and plenty of veggies. Also, look for pizzas that use whole grains in the crust.

My favorite trick: I pile my pizza high with extra veggies. (The more the merrier!) When there is about 5 minutes left until the pizza is done, I crack a few eggs right on top and finish cooking the pizza to add an extra veggie and protein punch. Plus, who doesn’t like a runny egg yolk?

MyPicks: Newman’s Own, Pea’s of Mind, American Flatbread, Kashi

Veggie Burgers
Check your ingredient list. Make sure there are actual vegetables in there! Don’t be fooled by packaging. Just because there is no animal protein in it, they can skimp on the veggies. Some veggie burger contain fillers like rice and potatoes to bulk it up. Look for a veggie burger with plenty of vegetables on the ingredient list.
My Picks: Dr. Praeger, Hilary’s, Gardenburger

NadaMoo! Organic Non Dairy Coconut Milk Ice Cream

By | Press Release
      It all began in Austin, Texas the year of 2004 with coconut milk based ice cream made in small batches for dairy-free friends and family. Ever heard of the term have fork will travel? Well for ice cream lovers it’s have spoon will travel!
      The news spread like wildfire at how cool and creamy their ice cream was and random people showed up on their doorsteps with spoon in hand and that’s how NadaMoo was born!
      NadaMoo is a phrase that means “no dairy”. which is unique and surprisingly delicious with it’s cool creamy concoction!
      So why coconut milk? Not only does coconut milk provide a rich creamy texture the saturated fat is different than the saturated fat that is in animal foods. The saturated fats in whole dairy products and meats for some causes the liver to produce way too much cholesterol where with the intake of saturated fat found in coconut milk to have any harmful effects. NadaMoo ice cream is concocted with a dairy-free coconut milk base that is super creamy made from high quality organic ingredients that develop unique flavor profiles.
NadaMoo! Dairy-Free Ice Cream is  
  • Gluten Free
  • Non GMO
  • USDA Organic
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegan
  • Fair Trade Certified

NadaMoo Non-Dairy ice cream flavors include

  • Gotta Do Chocolate
  • Lotta Mint Chip
  • Vanilla…Ahhh
  • MMM…Maple Pecan
  • That Snicker doodle Dough
  • Himalayan Salted Caramel
  • The Rockiest Road
  • Birthday Cake Cookie Dough
  • Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie
  • Pistachio Nut
  • Cookies & Creme
  • Chocolate Almond Chip
  • Creamy Coconut
  • Java Crunch
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
     I recently made the choice to go dairy free and it sure has been a struggle because there’s nothing that I enjoy more than cool & creamy ice cream on a hot summers day to cool down with whether in a cone or in a dish it’s a treat that can’t be beat! I have tried non dairy desserts before and some I have liked but lacked in texture almost chalk like.
     I had the pleasure of trying NadaMoo! Non dairy ice cream to try out for review and couldn’t wait to try them to see how they differed from other coconut milk based ice creams I’ve tried. Would it be gritty? Icy? Or would it be creamy? The flavors that I chose to purchase at Whole Foods Market was the Vanilla, Chocolate, Maple Pecan, and Mint Chip.
     The Buttery sweetness of maple ice cream with the nutty pecans are the ultimate pair sandwiched between toasted pecan cookies
     What I loved about the Maple Pecan ice cream was the fact that it offered a slight crunch from the salty yet toasted pecans that pop in your mouth and the maple flavor was outstanding! It didn’t offer a subtle sweetness of maple it was the real deal like when you pop open the lid you wan’t to make waffles sort of thing and then top it off with NadaMoo’s maple pecan ice cream for good measure !
     Tastes just like a Mounds candy bar only melted! Decadent fudgey chocolate that resembles a hollowed out chocolate Easter bunny but in the form of ice cream and topped off with a chocolate chip cookie for good measure.. of chocolate! Gotta Do Chocolate ice cream was super creamy in texture and offered that rich chocolate flavor with a subtle sweetness of coconut!


Refreshingly cool mint ice cream with morsels of chocolate chips in a creamy concoction. NadaMoo! Lotta Mint Chip is hands down the best ever non dairy dessert I have tried! I love that it offered a creamy texture and not icy like the other one I have tried was it offered that real  refreshingly cool mint flavor with morsels of chocolate chips!

      What goes better with vanilla ice cream than a slice of cake with chocolate frosting? Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and a scoop of cool creamy vanilla ice cream make for a special treat! Look at those specks of vanilla bean! Vanilla…Ahhh is the perfect way to describe the flavor it’s sweet, it’s creamy, and the perfect topping for a chocolate frosted cake!

      The Nada Moo flavors that I chose to taste were amazingly delicious and I am so glad I got to try them because they were that good! I have tried other coconut milk based ice creams and their texture was a bit on the chalky side whereas NadaMoo! is creamy like real ice cream that melts in your mouth on a hot summers day for a refreshing sweet treat! Each flavor was unique in their own creamy way the mint chip offered the perfect balance of mint flavor to chocolate chip ratio, the vanilla was very creamy with specks of vanilla bean throughout each bite, the maple pecan was buttery from the maple and crunchy from the pecans and the chocolate was super chocolaty like eating a candy bar only melted!

I received no compensation for this post but was provided with samples of NadaMoo to facilitate this review in exchange for my honest opinion which in fact are my own.

Black & White Ice Cream Cake

By | Dessert Recipes

by Aly Laughlin

In celebration of my birthday this past week I made the most epic vegan ice cream cake with a base layer of vanilla cookies and melted white chocolate, then chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies and melted chocolate, vanilla ice cream and coconut whipped cream. It’s reminiscent of those oh-so-famous ice cream cakes from the likes of Carvel, Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen that I used to love as a kid…but sooooo much better! Any wishes made with this cake are sure to come true! ​🎂

2 cups crushed vegan vanilla cookies (I used Midel Vanilla Snaps)
1 8 oz bag vegan white chocolate chips (I used King David Kosher)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 pints softened vegan chocolate ice cream (I used NadaMoo Gotta Do Chocolate)
2 cups crushed vegan chocolate cookies (I used Oreo Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies)
1 8 oz bag vegan chocolate chips (I used King David Kosher)
2 pints softened vegan vanilla ice cream (I used NadaMoo Vanilla…Ahhh)

1 15 oz can coconut cream or full fat coconut milk, chilled
2/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

*Note: You will also need a springform pan for this recipe.
Black & White Ice Cream Cake
To start, clear enough space in your freezer for the size of your springform pan. Prepare your springform pan with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.In a microwaveable bowl, melt the white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in 30 second intervals, stirring until completely smooth. Stir the crushed vanilla cookies into the white chocolate until well combined. Spread this heavenly mixture into the bottom of the springform pan (atop the layer of parchment paper). Pop the pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes before adding the next layer.

​Next, spread the softened chocolate ice cream on top of the vanilla-white chocolate layer. Return the pan to the freezer again.

Meanwhile, in another microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate chips with the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in 30 second intervals until completely smooth. Stir the crushed chocolate cookies into the chocolate until well combined. Once the chocolate ice cream layer has hardened, spread this mixture on top to form your delectable chocolate crunchies layer. Return the pan to the freezer for another 20 minutes.

Next, spread the softened vanilla ice cream on top of the chocolate crunchies layer. Return the pan to the freezer yet again.

Finally, using a standing mixer or hand mixer, mix the solid portion of the coconut cream or milk with the powdered sugar and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. You can save the liquid portion for smoothies and other recipes. Spread this creamy goodness atop the hardened vanilla ice cream layer and return to the freezer (yes, one more time) until solid. Decorate as you see fit and enjoy!

Welcome Spring With Smoothie Bowl

By | Dessert Recipes

Spring is almost here, well at least in Austin, and we are excited about all the fresh produce gracing our farmers’ markets! The sunshine has us craving lots of sweet berries and long afternoons hanging out at Zilker Park with our friends and dogs. We love this Blackberry Ice Cream Smoothie Bowl recipe because it feels a little bit healthy and a little big indulgent at the same time. If you don’t have fresh berries available at your markets just yet, you can totally sub frozen ones. Enjoy!


A retailer’s guide to Natural Products Expo West 2017

By | Events, Press Release

by New Hope

Expo West has three thousand-plus exhibitors, 77,000 attendees and a jam-packed education schedule. It’s almost time to gather in Anaheim for organic, non-GMO, health and doing business for good. Let Natural Foods Merchandiser help you find your way around with the tips below.

Frequently asked questions

Where do I need my badge at Natural Products Expo West?
To ease traffic going in and out of the exhibit halls, you need to present a badge and ID to enter the Anaheim Convention Center, not the show floor. Look for designated entry doors. Exhibitors and Super Pass holders have separate entrances. You will also need your badge to enter education sessions and on-site events.

I’m driving my car to the Anaheim Convention Center. Where is the best place to park?
It will be extremely congested near the convention center and parking will be limited this year because of construction and expanded on-campus activities. To avoid the chaos, we recommend parking for free at nearby Angel Stadium. Free shuttles are available throughout the day from the stadium to the Anaheim Convention Center and back. To take the shuttle from the Convention Center to Angel Stadium, load near Katella Avenue (by the Arena). Bonus: Avoid on-site registration lines by printing your badge at Angel Stadium after you’ve parked.

Can I register additional teammates in Anaheim?
Yes. Full-service registration will be available at the Hilton and education upgrades are available at the Marriott. While this service is available, Expo West organizers recommend registering staff before you arrive at the show to save time and avoid lines. If you do need to register someone on-site, don’t forget to bring valid business proof and identification.

How do I navigate the show floor?
The show floor is expansive, so it’s best to plan your route in advance.With all of the new exhibitors, though, you might need reading glasses to navigate by map. For ease, we recommend downloading the Natural Products Expo West/Engredea app for your phone or tablet. With the app, you can access the Exhibitor List, education schedule, events and a navigation tool, all while on the go. Get the app at m.expowest.com.

Is it hard to find places to eat while at Expo West?
There are restaurants nearby (think Cheesecake Factory, Anaheim Brewery, Joe’s Crabshack) but they fill up quickly. If you’re planning a dinner outing or team meal, call ahead and reserve space. If you need a quick bite to eat, the Hilton Food Court across from the convention center might satisfy your need. Pull up your favorite ride sharing app and get a ride to the Anaheim Packing House, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd. The food hall features several restaurants, bars, shopping and live entertainment. Downtown Disney makes for a nice walk or short ride, too.

I brought my children so we could go to amusement parks after the show. What options do I have for child care while I’m at the show?
Children 16 and younger are allowed to attend Natural Products Expo West, but they require a children’s badge and adult supervision. The cost for a badge is $25. If you need child care on-site, this is also available for $25 a day. To register, print badges or check children in to child care, go to the Hilton, Lower Level.

Registration and badge pickup lines have been difficult in the past. Will it be easier this year?
Yes! Lots of new registration areas have been added across the Expo West campus. Three examples are the Arena Box Office, the Hyatt Hotel and Angel Stadium. Additionally, keep an eye out for mobile registration carts. If badge pickup lines get busy, the mobile carts will roll that way to scan confirmation barcodes and print badges.

I love collecting product samples and bringing them home to try. How many am I allowed to take?

Attendees are limited to one sample bag per day. If you find that you’re getting too many samples to fit in one bag, encourage exhibitors to ship samples to you. This way, you don’t have to lug bags of food on the airplane and you’ll make sure to have the exhibitor’s contact information if you plan to place an order post-show. If you still have more than one bag at the end of the day, don’t worry. New Hope Network will donate the food to local food banks and charities, so it will go to a good cause.

What are Expo West essentials?
Water! Business cards. Expo West/Engredea app. Phone charger. Comfortable shoes. Snacks.NFM.

Is there anything new for Expo West 2017 I should know about?
The Hot Products show floors have expanded to include both the Hilton and Marriott this year. The exhibits will open a day before others and run March 10-12. If you see an “H” listed as a booth location, it means the exhibitor can be found in the Hilton; and “M” refers to the Marriott. The Super Pass is also returning. Even if you’ve already purchased a badge, you can log in to your registration account and upgrade your badge to get access to things like education sessions and a VIP Lounge with an electronics charging station.

Plan to’s

Plan to stay organized at Expo West
If you’re looking for the best way to plan your expo schedule, then head over to your phone’s app store to download the official Natural Products Expo West app. If you’re an iPhone user, open up the app store and type “natural products expo” into the search bar located at the top of your screen. Second, click “get,” then “install” and then type in your iTunes password to download the app. The next step is to open up the app. Once the app is opened, press “continue” to enable notifications, then “enable services” in order to get full use of the app. When that is done, sign in with your badge number and ZIP code (or use the app as a guest by pressing “continues as guest”). The Expo West app allows users to create their own schedule of events, view a map of Expo West, check out a list of exhibitors and so much more. If you’ve followed all the previously mentioned steps, you are all set to explore the app and create your ideal expo schedule.

Plan to get your groove on
Kat Myers and the Buzzards: A mix between rock and roll and the blues, Kat Myers and the Buzzards is a band right out of the classic rock archives. This performance on Thursday evening is sure to set the stage for a weekend full of good vibes. This trio uses its minimalistic setup to immerse fans in some feel-good music that is guaranteed to get you dancing. Be sure not to miss them on the Grand Plaza Main Stage on Thursday, March 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.

See-I: Washington, D.C., natives and brothers Zeebo and Rootz Steele have been sharing their influential reggae music with the world since the 1980s, and now they are bringing their talents to Expo West.

Unwind with See-I Friday night, March 10, as the Southern California sun sets on a full day of Expo West. You can be sure that there will be lots of dancing and fun at this event on the Grand Plaza. Show your best moves from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Funky Meters: What started out as a friendly jam at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1989 turned out to be the grounds for the formation of the band The Funky Meters. Their music can be described as a combination of funk, blues and dance grooves with a hint of rock and roll—a combination that’s sure to get you on your feet dancing the night away. Be sure not to miss The Funky Meters from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the Grand Plaza Main Stage.

Plan to watch this
Climate Day at Expo West is sure to be jam-packed full of big thinking and tough conversations as thought leaders give keynotes about climate change, networking with other professionals concerned about climate change takes place and attendees take part in the climate awards ceremony.

Be sure, though, to stick around (or join in) as the day caps off with a film screening of Kiss the Ground. Two acclaimed documentary film production companies have partnered with the nonprofit Kiss the Ground to share the story of Earth’s foundation—soil. The film preview and question-and-answer session take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March, 8, in Marriott Ballroom E.

Plan to take time to breathe
Don’t stress out at Expo West—recharge and unwind with early morning yoga under the beautiful California sun. Held on the Grand Plaza Main Stage, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to stretch your muscles and clear your mind. Awake and find your bliss from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings (March 9, 10, 11 and 12).

Plan to sustain yourself
Sorry, samples will not sustain you for all of the networking, learning and product perusing you will do at Expo West. So to offer a little more sustenance on the Anaheim Convention Center campus (and the added bonus of being out under the California sun), The Park debuts this year in the Sheraton Parking lot behind the Hilton. Here you will find food trucks open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Natural brand trucks include: Nature’s Bakery, Nadamoo, Hippeas, Chefs Cut Jerky, Sundown Naturals and Vital Proteins.

Chobani, Vega, 4th and Heart, and Enjoy Life Foods will park alongside four Orange County-area food trucks to serve show attendees in the Grand Plaza. In the Convention Center, concession stands offer varied menus, including organic options, in the hall B/C breezeway and in halls A-D. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Across the plaza, the Hilton has a small food court including Sbarro, Baja Fresh Express, Just Grillin’ and Submarina. And both the Marriott and Hilton have Starbucks outlets with small grab-and-go offerings. Prepare for long lines.

Plan to focus on organic
Grow your organic offerings easily by strolling the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace. This single-afternoon event features solely organic products. Find unique exhibitors that will only appear at this event among others who will appear on show floors later. Join in under the big white tent next to the Marriott from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9.

Ice Cream Sandwiches For Chocolate Fans

By | Dessert Recipes

The Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches is for all of our chocolate friends out there! Because sometimes you just Gotta Do Chocolate! It’s one of our classic coconut milk ice cream flavors. The creamy, chocolate always satisfies our sweet tooth. We even found a way to make our chocolate flavor even chocolatier! We sandwiched it between two vegan chocolate chip cookies and then dipped the whole thing in even more chocolate. Perfect for an afternoon snack, dessert or those late night chocolate cravings!

7 Healthy Substitutes for Your Favorite Dairy Products

By | Press Release

by Sarah Kaye Santos丨The Cheat Sheet

Dairy seems like it’s always up for debate. We all know it’s a great source of calcium and protein, but it’s also been blamed for different health issues, including bloating and acne. The bad news is it doesn’t end there because dairy’s also been linked to an increased risk of life-threatening conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, prostate cancer, and heart disease. Understandably, this makes some people reduce how much they consume. If you’re looking to cut back, try any (or all) of these seven substitutes for your favorite dairy products. They’re full of quality nutrition and are completely dairy-free.

1.NadaMoo! Ice Cream 

NadaMoo makes it possible for you to enjoy frozen desserts without derailing your dairy-free diet. The secret is coconut milk, which is every bit as creamy as regular milk. All of their flavors are also cholesterol- and gluten-free. One serving of their vanilla ice cream is just 140 calories with 7 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar. The brand also sells classic flavors like fudge brownie, salted caramel, maple pecan, and more. Even if you’re a firm believer there’s no way a healthy alternative can taste as good as real ice cream, NadaMoo is worth a try. You may even like these tasty treats better.

2.Ripple Foods Milk

If you can’t have your coffee without milk or if you favor a bowl of cereal for breakfast in the morning, you’ll want to check out Ripple Foods‘ 100% plant-based milk as a healthy alternative. The brand makes four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, original, and original unsweetened. A 1-cup serving of each offers 8 grams of protein, 32 milligrams of omega-3s, and 50% more calcium and less sugar than regular 2% milk. Not only are they dairy-free, but they’re also free of soy and gluten, making them great options for those with multiple food restrictions.

3.Daiya Foods Cheese

Let’s be real: Life without cheese just wouldn’t be the same. Luckily, Daiya makes a variety of dairy-free products, including cheese blocks, slices, and shreds. A ¼-cup serving of Daiya’s Cheddar Style Shreds is just 90 calories and has 6 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and no cholesterol or sugar. While it offers little protein or fiber, this cheese substitute is a completely plant-based product without any antibiotics, hormones, or artificial ingredients. It also passes the test for those avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and soy.

4.Earth Balance Butter Spreads

Earth Balance makes six different varieties of dairy-free butter that are some of the best choices you can find at the store. From the original to the soy-free to the organic whipped option, the five butter spreads are free of GMOs and MSG. They’re also a great source of omega-3s, and each serving is low in saturated fat. Top your toast with it, substitute it for butter when baking, or use it when cooking meals as a nutritious replacement without having to sacrifice the rich taste of butter.

5.Silk Yogurt

Silk’s dairy-free yogurt alternatives deliver a texture and flavor similar to regular yogurt, except they’re made with soy milk and contain plant-based protein. A serving of the brand’s vanilla flavor is 140 calories and has 3.5 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of protein. These yogurts are also a great source of calcium and vitamin C, plus they contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. Have one for breakfast or for an afternoon snack without having to sacrifice taste, nutrients, or protein — just dairy.

6. Hillary’s Salad Dressing

For all of you in need of a more nutritious version of ranch to use as dressing or a dip, Hilary’s Dairy-Free Ranch Chia Dressing is made with healthy ingredients and offers great nutritional value. It’s made with coconut milk and contains apple cider vinegar, chia seeds. A 2-tablespoon serving is 50 calories with 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein. You’ll even get some omega-3s. Not only is it a good option for those with a dairy or gluten intolerance, but it’s also certified paleo-friendly.

7. Simple Mills Baking Mixes

Simple Mills makes baking a whole lot healthier and easier with its Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix. It’s made with just seven ingredients: almond flour, organic coconut sugar, fair-trade cocoa, arrowroot, organic coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt. You can make muffins, cake, or brownies, which makes it super convenient. All you have to do is mix it with water, eggs, vanilla, and oil, then you’re ready to bake. One package makes 12 servings, each with 110 calories, 5 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of sugar. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Dairy alternatives are becoming more prevalent

By | Press Release

Moo-ve over milk: Dairy alternatives are becoming more prevalent

Vegan cheese, ice cream and beverages are a treat to all consumers — even those with no dietary restrictions

by Keith Loria丨Food Dive

The non-dairy segment started out as an alternative category catering to those with food allergies, but it has since evolved beyond a trend.

Now, it embraces the plant-based and dairy-free lifestyle — one that is conscious of environmental, ethical, and health concerns. There are a significant number of consumers who can’t eat dairy. More than 40 million Americans are lactose intolerant. But many others are looking to dairy alternatives.

Daniel Nicholson, president and CEO of NadaMoo!, which makes certified gluten-free, fair trade, vegan, non-GMO and organic ice creams, said its consumer demographic has crossed over to encompass people who also consume traditional dairy.

“Consumers today are more educated than ever. They care about what they put into their bodies as well as how what they eat affects the environment, animals and the ecosystem around them,” he told Food Dive. “They are looking for more plant-based products that taste great and can leave them with a conscience as clean as our label.”

Based on the number of products coming out each year and major companies getting in the game, dairy-free food is here to stay. In 2017, consumers will be flooded with non-dairy choices as companies respond to demand.

Daiya Foods was the first company in the business to create a meltable 100% plant-based cheese. It has since expanded to frozen pizzas, Cheezy Mac, Cheezecakes, and a Greek yogurt alternative. It also just introduced Blue Cheeze Dressings.

“The plant-based lifestyle is becoming more mainstream, in part because consumers are catching on to the various health, environmental and ethical benefits of plant-based foods,” Andre Kroecher, co-founder of Daiya Foods, told Food Dive. “If you walk down what used to be just the dairy aisle, you will notice that plant-based alternatives to dairy are occupying a significant portion of the shelf. The sustained demand for great tasting plant-based dairy alternative products made from nuts such as almonds, seeds such as hemp or sunflower, potato, tapioca, rice, oats etc. indicate they are consumed and thought of as great tasting, staple foods that happen to be plant based.”

Greg Blake, co-founder of Daiya Foods, noted the company’s innovations are meant to inspire those hoping to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, and help those living with dietary restrictions who have felt limited in their food options.

“For us, plant-forward eating isn’t about limiting your options, but a means of expanding one’s view of food,” he said. “We’re unique in that food industry experts claimed this couldn’t be done without using animal based ingredients such as egg, meat and milk. Not only have we proven these products can be 100% plant-based, but we’ve made them so convincing that they are virtually indistinguishable from their animal-based equivalents.”

NadaMoo Snickerdoodle Dough Ice Cream

Meg Carlson, president and CEO of Prosperity Organic Foods and dairy-free alternative producer MELT Organic, predicted that and plant-based alternatives to traditional dairy products will continue to grow over the next decade

“Consumers are concerned about ethical sourcing of ingredients and especially that dairy products sourced from large dairy farms are not sustainable for the long term,” she told Food Dive in an email. “The methane gas from two cows is the equivalent of the emissions from a car driven 10,000 miles, for example. Consumers are also concerned about sustainably sourcing ingredients from third-world countries, especially coconut oil and palm oil, which historically have had disastrous consequences both for local farmers and for the rainforests.”

Bob Goldberg, CEO and founder of Follow Your Heart — which makes non-egg mayonnaise alternative Vegenaise, non-dairy cheeses and vegan eggs that scramble — agreed that what was once a smattering of alternative products for people who had food intolerances of one kind or another has become accepted in the mainstream as more people seek relief from food-related problems.

“Any time you have something to offer which can solve a problem for someone, that gets their attention,” he told Food Dive. “The biggest challenges are tradition and resistance from big food. We tend to grow up eating like our parents. The lag time associated with breaking that mold can be as little as a few years, or it can take decades.”

Milk — from any source —does a body good

According to Mintel, US non-dairy milk sales grew 9% in 2015, while dairy milk sales declined 7% over the same period. One only needs to look at the refrigerator case at a grocery store to see that retailers are increasingly stocking more plant-based milks with fewer artificial ingredients.

Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Califia Farms — which exclusively produces plant-based products such as almond milk and cold brew coffees — noted these items are fast growing, taste-driven, on the cusp of becoming mainstream, and essential to the sustainability of our planet.

“This trend, which we believe is on the tipping point of moving from food trend to food system reality, is primarily driven by millennials, but also being adopted by other demographics, who are looking for healthier, simpler, ‘cleaner labels,’” he told Food Dive in an email. “They are mindful and seek food and beverages that do not sacrifice taste, nutrition or quality. Another growing number of consumers are those who understand that the sustainability of our food ecosystem is increasingly going to be reliant on a plant-based diet.”

And, it is important to note, this is not driven solely by vegans and vegetarians. In a survey Califia Farms conducted last year with BerryCart, more than half of omnivores surveyed reported consuming plant-based alternative dairy beverages several times a week. In addition, “I like the taste” and “healthier than dairy milk” were the top two reasons for choosing alt dairy beverages across all respondents.

“It is a hugely promising market for any plant-based company focused on delicious, taste-forward, non-dairy food and beverages that, first and foremost, begin with a cleaner label,” Steltenpohl said. “The challenge comes with the magnitude of the opportunity, as we manage dramatic sales growth, while keeping our mission of sustainability and mindfulness front and center.”

Flavor profiles

When it comes to dairy-free products, consumers are looking for a product that tastes just like dairy-based products. Today’s consumer also expects natural ingredients instead of just flavors.

“In order for plant-based beverage companies to gain a loyal following, a dedication to naturally sourced ingredients that don’t mimic or mask flavors, but, instead, enhance them, is critical,” Steltenpohl said. “And consumers expect these products to replicate homemade tastes while still providing a safe, extended shelf life. This means that less is more. Keeping ingredients as few and simple as possible, with no chemical compounds, makes for happy customers.”

Working on flavor profiles is a multifaceted effort for the NadaMoo! team.

“We look at consumer trends and flavors that we love. Once we settle on a few flavors, we test them rigorously using different ingredients until we find just the right combination,” Nicholson said. “We also collaborate with Texas chefs and pastry chefs on taste testing and flavor profiles to gather opinions on what is the most marketable.”

Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie Ice Box PieBlake said the substantial in-house R&D team at Daiya utilizes the latest world-class sensory technology and software to measure all attributes of dairy-based gold standards. They then plot Daiya flavor and texture profiles and characteristics with their dairy equivalents.

“The contrast is obsessively worked on until we score results in flavor, texture, mouthfeel and meltability that mimic the dairy equivalent so closely that for many of our products, it’s incredibly difficult to detect what’s dairy vs. Daiya,” he said. “It’s super challenging because we’ve also got to make sure that the batches are consistent. A new consumer might only try a brand or product once and if they get a batch where the taste or texture isn’t 100% perfect, and they may judge the entire brand by that experience.”

Non-dairy dairy cases?

The dairy case of tomorrow may look increasingly plant-centric and much more like a “non-dairy case.”

At a panel on the plant-based food revolution at Natural Products Expo East 2016, Mathis Martines, emerging brands and innovation director at Kroger, said plant-based alternatives and healthy fats are two of the leading long-term trends that will influence the food industry in the foreseeable future.

Steltenpohl said innovations will continue at a robust pace in the category, taking plant-powered foods and beverages from isolated category to a food ecosystem imperative.

“As more of the population becomes aware that a plant-based diet is the only real sustainable option for the future of our planet, plant-based foods and beverages have a natural opportunity to succeed,” he said. “Couple that with the emphasis millennials and an aging boomer population, place on health and wellness, and plant-based food and beverages companies are destined to gain significant traction.”

Competition in this industry has increased over the last decade, but Daiya Foods sees that as a positive thing for two reasons.

“First, it’s good for consumers because the competition has forced the industry players to raise the bar in terms of taste, texture and other attributes of dairy-based counterparts, such as melting, stretching and handling characteristics for cheese alternatives, as an example,” Kroecher said.

“Second, most of the companies we compete with are actually friendly, and we have a fairly open channel of communication with them. We all realize that because of the growth of this space that there continues to be enough room for everyone and that as a group we can help each other and be more influential in the industry than we could be otherwise on our own.”

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