Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. This expo has been around for 35 years, and it is the world’s largest natural, healthy and organic products event.
I was hoping to share this post with you guys last week, but I think my blog got a little overwhelmed by the number of pictures I tried to include in the post, so I had to cut it down a bit. 😉
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I brought home SO MANY HEALTHY SNACKS from the expo. The entire time I was there, I kept telling my co-workers that I was in Candyland. It was pure heaven for this healthy-snack-obsessed-girl.
Every one of my favorite healthy brands was at the expo, passing out samples of some of their classic snacks as well as promoting new lines and flavors.
Below are just some of my favorite brands that were there:
Hope Hummus: Travis and I are hooked on their Spicy Avocado Hummus. I won’t tell you how quickly we finish a container because it’s pretty embarrassing. We get our Hope Hummus at Whole Foods and there were some new flavors at the Expo that I’ve never seen before.
Krave Jerky! GAH, I LOVE YOU KRAVE. I was never a jerky person until I tried Krave. I got hooked on it about two years ago when they were passing out samples at a local grocery store. (Clearly I love samples.) I used to think jerky was a “dude’s food,” but Krave has some pretty unique flavors, such as Chardonnay-Thyme Turkey Jerky, which don’t leave your breath stinky and your hands sticky and gross. Plus, this jerky is all-natural (duh) and not loaded with chemicals and ingredients you can’t pronounce.
If you’ve never tried Krave, I HIGHLY recommend it as a delicious protein-packed snack. You can find it at most grocery stores!
JUSTIN’S. Oh man, you guys know how much I love Justin’s Almond Butter. When I saw their booth, I practically ran over to them and blurted out, “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU GUYS. I EAT YOUR MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER EVERY MORNING.” They laughed and made sure I went home with plenty of their new mini-sized peanut butter cups. The people who work for Justin’s are all SO nice. I kind of wanted to just hang out with them the rest of the day.
Hey, there is Justin, himself! How cool!
Chobani also had a very cool setup. Their booth must have been the size of my apartment! In one section, they were passing out samples of their Chobani + Oat cups. On the other side, they had an entire chef’s station where you could customize your own bowl of Chobani. I’ve never been to their Soho location, but I am sure this was very similar to what it is like there.
Even some of my favorite dog food brands were there! So, of course, I went home with some free samples for my little Bessie, as well.
At the expo, I also sampled many new-to-me products and learned a lot.
I couldn’t get over how many different kinds of matcha powders this company had on display! I thought matcha was just…matcha. Who knew!
Another company was pushing their “kale popcorn” – I mean can you think of a trendier snack? I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it that much – it tasted a bit “too healthy” for me, if you know what I mean.
Bone Broth was a big trend at the expo this year. I am sure some of you know how much bone broth has exploded in the last year. It’s a delicious warm drink that is great for your immune system and it is very low in calories. Pacific had a very cool bone broth sipping station. You could sample 3-4 different bone broth flavors (chicken, turkey, etc.) and then add in some extra garnishes. I also brought home a cardboard carton of their chicken flavored bone broth.
I could go on and on about all of the amazing displays and foods I tried.
My coworkers were cracking up because my eyes would light up every time I saw a brand I loved. I also got very sample-happy. The shopping bag of samples I brought home was practically as big as me! Towards the end of the afternoon, I was getting pretty tired of carrying it around, but even then, I still didn’t want to leave!
When I got home that night I laid out everything I collected on our kitchen table. Travis’ eyes grew larger and larger every time I pulled the next thing out of my bag. I felt like Mary Poppins! I think he’s just as happy as I am that I got to attend the expo because he’s been reaping the benefits for the last week!
Before I leave you guys, I wanted to share a few tips for anyone planning on attending the Natural Products Expo West in the future. I was lucky that my boss has been attending for at least 10 years, so he was able to give me great advice before I went.
1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is A MUST – and that’s coming from me, who wears heels practically every day. I wore sneakers to this event, and my feet were STILL sore at the end of the day. There is SO MUCH WALKING and you end up carrying around heavy bags all day. Ladies, leave the high heels at home.
2. Don’t sample everything you see. If you sample everything in sight starting at 9AM, you’ll want to take a nap by noon. Trust me. Even when I took a sample from a booth, I would usually eat one bite and share or trash the rest. I know it sounds like a waste, but there is so much food at this event, that you have to prioritize. This is why having a bag is great – you can bring home anything you didn’t get to sample.
3. Watch your sugar intake. Sure, everything at the expo is supposed to be “natural” and “healthy”, but it’s really not. Protein bars, jerky, and so many other snacks contain added sugar that will add up quickly throughout the day. This is another thing that will make you want to nap by noon, so be careful.
4. Make a plan. You won’t be able to go to every booth, so find out who will be there and decide which vendors are your priority. Save some time for booths you didn’t expect to stop at, as well.
5. Bring business cards. If you’re a retailer this is essential. Since I was attending for work, I passed out my business cards to every vendor I was interested in keeping in touch with. It’s a great way to put yourself in their system so you can stay on top of new products and promotions. On a side note, I haven’t been spammed by anyone since the Expo.
So that’s it! If you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments section below. I have samples to last me until 2016 and I am already excited for next year!