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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! ⇒hellowater.com
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! ⇒cellowhisps.com
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. ⇒sweetlorens.com
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! ⇒numobroth.com
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. ⇒bubbasfoods.com
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! ⇒originaluncledougies.com
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! ⇒glutenfreeheaven.com
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. ⇒pathoflifebrand.com
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. ⇒soozys.com
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! ⇒daiyafoods.com
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! ⇒nowfoods.com
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. ⇒chomps.com
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! ⇒urlovedfoods.com
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. ⇒pervida.net
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. ⇒freshideallc.com
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. ⇒schaer.com
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. ⇒geefree.com
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. ⇒maxinesheavenly.com
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! ⇒thegoodbean.com
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. ⇒oggifoods.com
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: