Hot Product Picks at Expo West 2018

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Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, takes place annually at the Anaheim Convention Center. With more than 3,500 exhibiting companies and 85,000 attendees, 2018 was another record-setting year. In fact, the show has grown so large that it encompasses the entire convention center as well as adjacent hotels and outdoor areas.

Gluten-Free Living traveled to sunny Anaheim, eating our way through as many gluten-free products as we could get our hands on. Expo West isn’t open to the public, so it’s our job to be your eyes and ears on the ground and let you know about exciting, innovative and delicious finds that show just how good gluten free (and other dietary restrictions) can be. In no particular order, here are our 20 hot product picks.

1. hellowater contains NO sugar and 5 grams of fiber to help aid a healthy lifestyle. We tried the “LOVE” flavor—cucumber and lime—which was clean, refreshing and very much needed during a long day of walking! ⇒




2. You know when you bake something with cheese in the oven, and when it comes out, there’s that crispy yummy cheese stuck to the pan? That’s what these crisps from Cello Whisps taste like. They have one ingredient—real cheese. Our favorite was the Asiago & Pepper Jack but you really can’t go wrong with any of them! ⇒




3.These gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, non-GMO, eggless doughs from Sweet Loren’s make simply incredible cookies, including sugar, chocolate chunk, fudgy brownie and oatmeal cranberry. Seriously, we may never bake from scratch again—there’s no need to with place-and-bake dough that is made of whole food ingredients and whole grains. ⇒








4. These brew-it-yourself bone broth kits from Numo Broth contain everything you need to make flavorful bone broth at home—real bones, vegetables, herbs and spices. Just add water and brew for 8 hours or more. It cooks slow, but the broth it yields is well worth the wait! ⇒



5. We weren’t sure what to think about flavored banana chips, but WOW! These gluten-free, grain-free, no-sugar-added and vegan-friendly delights from Bubba’s Fine Foods are CRAVEWORTHY! They use real flavors and spices to produce these ‘Nana chips that taste nothing like banana. ⇒







6. Uncle Dougie’s has been tantalizing taste buds for more than 20 years with innovative marinades, sauces and spice combinations. And we can attest that their Bloody Mary and Margarita mixes produce refreshingly cool cocktails! ⇒





7. I confess: I am a pancake snob. Thin, dense or dry pancakes upset me almost to the point of anger. Happily, we came across Gluten-Free Heaven’s booth featuring a huge variety of baking mixes along with plenty of samples. I can report that even without any toppings, the company’s pancake and baking mix produces little pieces of heaven that are light, fluffy and delicious—so delicious that I forgot to take a picture! ⇒



8. If someone can get me to eat cauliflower first thing in the morning and actually leave me wanting more, I need to keep my kitchen stocked with their product. Path of Life’s All Natural Roasted Garlic Cauliflower seasoned with roasted garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, parsley and sea salt is flat-out yummy and comes in a super convenient steambag. ⇒







9. Made without gluten, grains, dairy, peanuts or soy, Soozy’s scrumptious muffins are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast option on hectic mornings. Currently available in wild blueberry, double chocolate and sweet potato, with three more flavors coming soon—banana chocolate, coffee cake, and matcha green tea—you’ll have lots of yummy fun finding your perfect morning muffin match. We were able to try the soon-to-be-available coffee cake and were only bummed that we wouldn’t be able to buy them as soon as we got home. ⇒



10. Daiya’s impressive range of products are all completely free of gluten, soy and dairy—but chock full of flavor. We weren’t sure what to expect from the dairy-free “cheeze” products, but WOW, we never would have known the difference between the cheddar-style Deluxe Cheeze Sticks and the real thing! ⇒








11. Sometimes plain old water just doesn’t cut it when you need a refreshing drink. That’s where the new Slender Sticks from NOW Foods come in. Just pour into 16 ounces of water, shake and enjoy one of six available flavors. We loved the sweet and refreshing Pomegranate Berry! ⇒









12. While we’re on the subject of sticks, we had the opportunity to sample the brand new turkey jerky sticks from Chomps, which will be launching in June. Like their other flavors, the delish turkey sticks are tender, juicy and free of gluten, dairy, hormones, antibiotics and MSG. ⇒








13. You Are Loved Foods’ gluten-free, no-sugar-added Greek yogurt cheesecake is indulgent, creamy and sumptuous. Sweetened with monk fruit extract, this 150-calories-per-slice dessert is low carb as well as keto and Paleo friendly. As of now, it’s only available in the Los Angeles area, which is reason in and of itself for a West Coast trip! ⇒







14. These immune health drinks from PervidaHealth contain zero calories, zero sodium and zero artificial flavors. It’s not a probiotic drink. Rather, it features pomegranate seed oil, which reduces inflammation in the gut, promoting both gut health and the immune system. ⇒








15. The light and crunchy popcorn from Fresh Ideas is great on its own—but to take it to a whole new level of flavor, sprinkle it with their awesome seasonings! The Sriracha Ranch adds just the right amount of spice that’s perfectly balanced by the ranch. ⇒





16. If you miss those classic candy bars with the sweet cookie crunch, you’re going to be so happy about Schär’s new Chocolix bar, a spot-on gluten- and wheat-free alternative with chocolate-coated wafers and caramel filling. ⇒





17. GeeFree’s awesome line of gluten-free products—including a light and moist puff pastry—will satisfy any craving that strikes you. We sampled the Buffalo-style chicken pocket, which has awesome flavor and the perfect level of spicy goodness. ⇒




18. We stumbled upon the Maxine’s Heavenly cookie booth in the Hot New Products area of Expo West and we were blown away by their mouthwatering wares. In spite of it being March, I was able to sample the seasonal Pumpkin Pecan Spice variety, which was just as awesome as I was hoping. But don’t worry—for you guys, I kept on eating. Any of their four year-round offerings—cinnamon oatmeal raisin, chocolate chocolate chunk, peanut butter chocolate chip and almond chocolate chunk—is an indulgent treat sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. ⇒




19. These new Grab N’ Go chickpea snack packs from The Good Bean are crunchy little treats that are perfect to keep in your backpack, purse or car for on-the-go snacking! ⇒







20. I admit, I was skeptical about this one, but the cauliflower pizza crust from Pasta Oggi, which will be available in May, is SO GOOD that I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a classic dough. Top it with your favorite fixins and confidently serve it to anyone—gluten free, vegan or otherwise—for a slice of pizza heaven. ⇒







Many of these products are debuted at Expo West and not available to the general public yet, but they are absolutely worth the wait. Check product websites and social media accounts for release dates so you can hold your own tasting party. Bon appetit!

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To see the hot trends and topics of past years’ Expos, check out these links:

Trend Spotting at Expo West: Cricket Bars

Trend Spotting at Expo West 2016

Our Top 10 Gluten-Free Finds at Expo West 2015

What We Saw and Ate at Expo West 2015


What We Saw and Ate at Expo West 2015

Gluten-Free Living spent last Friday and Saturday at Natural Products Expo West in sunny Anaheim, California. Our goal? Discover new trends, seek out the best new companies and find the very best gluten-free products for our readers.

Gluten-Free Living at Expo West

Since Expo West isn’t open to the public, it’s our job to be our readers’ eyes and ears on the ground. From Udi’s new rye bread to kombucha to cricket flour, here’s a taste of what we saw and ate at Expo.

The Arena at Expo West

New product launches

Several companies were launching new products at Expo, including gluten-free versions of popular childhood favorite Lance sandwich crackers.


We also got a first look at Udi’s new gluten-free rye bread and Canyon Bakehouse’s new line of gluten-free bagels.

Udi's new gluten-free rye bread
Udi’s new gluten-free rye bread.

Schar was serving their new gluten-free croissants fresh out of the oven along with piping-hot cups of coffee. We found the croissants’ buttery, crispy outer crust impressive, with exactly the right amount of richness: any more and it would have been too indulgent, any less and it wouldn’t have been a croissant. Don’t expect the same experience you’d find in Paris—Schar’s version does lack the airy, ultrathin flaky layers that mark a gluten-containing croissant—but the end result is truly commendable, especially when served straight from the oven.

Pizza and pancake takeover

We couldn’t move 10 feet at Expo without running into either a gluten-free pizza or a pancake. These two products both had a strong gluten-free showing at Expo, and we ended up sampling multigrain pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, pancakes from a box and pancakes from a pouch as well as frozen pizzas, flatbread pizzas and bagel pizzas.


One standout was Batter World, which sells ready-made batter in resealable pouches. The batter is purchased frozen; once thawed, it keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. We think the ready-to-cook batter is perfect for getting kids in the kitchen, and the handy pour spout would make creating shaped pancakes a breeze. Be careful when shopping, however: Only one variety is gluten-free.

Bob’s Red Mill brings bevy of new products—and a band

Bob's Red Mill's band at Expo West
Bob and the Bob’s Red Mill Band

Of all the companies at Expo, no one put a smile on our face quite like Bob’s Red Mill. In addition to bringing a wealth of new products, Bob himself brought a big band to Expo and paraded around the convention center. After spending a few hours packed in a convention center with 60,000+ other attendees, dancing around with Bob’s band was a welcome respite from thrown elbows and long lines for the restroom.


New Gluten-Free products from Bob’s Red Mill. The new coconut sugar is in the center, next to the whey protein.

On the food front, we’re most excited about Bob’s new coconut sugar. An official from the company that we spoke to said the sugar “tasted like butterscotch,” with no recognizable coconut flavor. We’re betting the sugar would taste amazing in a chewy, crispy-edged cookie, and we’re planning to buy a bag and start experimenting.


The company also brought their new gluten-free baking flour to Expo, which the company said can be used as a straight substitute for all-purpose flour in recipes. Though it’s not ideal for bread recipes, it’s reportedly good for cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. We haven’t started experimenting with the new flour yet; if you have, let us know your experiences in the comments.

Beverages gone wild

When you attend Expo West, you talk. A lot. And you eat. A lot. And you walk around in the hot California sun. A lot.

So hydration can be an issue—but not this year, thanks to all the beverage offerings at the show.

By the end of the show, we had sampled kombucha, cherry juice, ginger beer, gac fruit juice tea, cold-brew coffee, watermelon water, matcha green tea, kefir, drinking vinegar and six different flavors of coconut water. In the upcoming months, we expect to see the beverage case at our local grocery and convenience stores make room for alternative beverage options.

Bean-based mania

Bean Stalks from Mediterranean SnacksHealthy, filling, protein-packed beans are making their way into an increasing number of products. Although we’ve seen our fair share of bean-based crackers and dips, Expo West brought a massive wave of new bean products. Mediterranean Snacks launched their new Bean Stalk snack line at the expo, while Love Grown Foods showed off their new bean-based cereal.


One standout that we saw (but didn’t taste, unfortunately) was Tolerant’s line of bean-based pasta. We’re betting the black bean pasta in particular would make for a stunning bowl of pasta.

Jiminy cricket flour

The most unusual product we tried at Expo West? Exo protein bars made from cricket flour. They may not be for everyone, but hey, crickets are gluten-free…


That’s not the end of our coverage of Expo West: Be sure to come back tomorrow to see our picks for our top 10 favorite gluten-free products.