Top Finds at Expo East

The Baltimore Convention Center was awash with the latest and greatest wellness products.

This year’s Natural Products Expo East show brought together more than 21,000 attendees and 1,550 exhibits from nearly 100 countries. For those that wanted to be there but could not make it, Grocery Headquarters’ team of editors gathered a list of product highlights from the show:

Baby Food Grows Up
Among the many Plum Organics products attendees had the opportunity to review at Expo East, Tyler Rick, chief marketing officer for the New York-based company, says the just-launched Yogurt Dippers grabbed the most attention. The grab-and-go snack pairs organic yogurt and real fruit dips with honey wheat crackers. It comes in Apple Cinnamon, Honey Berry and Vanilla Banana.

“As we know, kids are attracted to snacks that are interactive and engaging. Retailers couldn’t stop talking about the innovative format of the snack pack and told us they see this being a big hit in their kids snack set,” said Rick.

Tea Time
The functional tea category is hot with consumers. Given that, LaMar Wiscombe, director of marketing for the Alvita tea brand, sold by Twinlab, based in New York, said the timing to relaunch the Alvita line was ideal. At the show, Alvita introduced three organic teas and unveiled the line’s new look.

“Our new varieties add unique beneficial herbs to our family of teas and enable us to offer our consumers the most complete set of authentic herbal remedies,” said Wiscombe. The three new teas include Elder Flower, which has traditionally been used to help support respiratory health; Uva Ursi Leaves, known for its ability to support urinary tract health and Black Cohosh Root, traditionally used to help support women’s health needs.

Free Radical Super Fighter
One of the newest antioxidant products to hit the market is Superberries from Mae’s Health and Wellness, based in Omaha, Neb. Superberries are available in both a 100% Pure Aroniaberry Concentrate and Aroniaberry Gummy Chews.

According to Tammy Ross, marketing director, the company chose the aroniaberry for its high level of antioxidants, higher than blueberries or cranberries, and for its centuries-old reputation for improving health and wellness. “One of the things that distinguishes the aroniaberry from other berries is its powerful blend of polyphenolic antioxidants that provide balanced protection against the five main free radicals in our bodies,” said Ross.

Power-Packed Chia
Chia has a solid reputation as an ingredient offering high fiber, antioxidants and omega-3s. However, Rally Ralson, managing partner for Denver-based Salba Smart, said there is a substantial difference in chia seeds on the market today. “Salba Chia truly is smarter than the average chia thanks to the diligent work done by our growers to cultivate such a nutrient dense seed.”

Salba Smart Chia is organically grown and non-GMO Project Verified. “Unlike other whole grains, you do not need to grind Salba Chia to get its many benefits, which makes it ideal to be blended in with smoothies, yogurt, dips, entrees and even desserts,” he added. The company’s latest product, Salba Chia BOOST adds portability and convenience by offering both ground and whole seed chia in individual serving packets.

Gluten-Free Pizza
After sampling so many bad tasting pizzas, officials at BOLD Organics, based in New York, said delivering high-quality, flavorful products to consumers that were also gluten and allergen-free became their mission. BOLD Organics currently offers four varieties of pizza including Vegan Cheese, Veggie Lovers, Meat Lovers and Deluxe. Additionally, the pizzas do not contain GMOs, preservatives, nitrites, nitrates or trans-fats.

“At the show, we focused on serving our current selection of delicious allergen-free pizzas, but also sampled up some new varieties that we will be launching in early 2013,” said founder and president Aaron Greenwald. “These included our Hawaiian, Barbecue Chicken and Pesto Pizzas, and they will complement the frozen pastas and entrees that we will also be bringing to market.”

Good For the Earth Laundry Soap
Officials at Earth Friendly Products took the opportunity at Expo East to launch a line of convenient, easy-to-use detergent pods. The line features ECOS Laundry Detergent Pods, all-in-one pouches that provide ultra-concentrated ECOS OXO-Brite Laundry Booster Pods, a non-chlorine bleach formula that is safe for colors and harnesses the power of oxygen and enzymes and Wave Automatic Dishwasher Pods featuring Earth Friendly’s High Performance Wave Gel, which is phosphate- and chlorine-free.

“Our customers were begging us to come up with a convenient pod line that featured the same cleaners they already knew and trusted,” said Vivian Panou, director of special events and projects for Addison, Ill.-based company. “Based on the response from our soft launch at Expo East we are confident our pods will be top sellers.”

Allergen-Free Snack Bars
Dedicated to healthy, natural solutions to weight and glucose management, Wayland, Mich.-based Inbalance Health offers doctor-formulated food bars and supplements. At the show, the company focused on its INBar, an allergen-free, gluten-free, chemical-free, 100% vegan snack bar that comes in four flavor varieties—Strawberry Banana, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Cherry.

Dr. Don VerHulst, chief science officer, said attendees were thrilled with the ingredients of the INBars and were impressed by the product’s rich flavor. “Our goal is to fill the void in the diabetes’ and weight management communities for great tasting snack foods and effective supplements, helping people curb their appetite between meals and avoid spikes in blood sugar,” VerHulst added.

Greek Yogurt in a Bar
Stephanie Galliano, marketing manager for Fairfield, N.J.-based Rickland Orchards said the focus at Expo East was its Greek Yogurt Bars. Available in six flavors—Blueberry Acai, Cherry Almond, Toasted Coconut, Cranberry Almond, Apple & Honey and Orchard Peach—the company has two new flavors hitting shelves soon, Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars contain five grams of fiber and 7g to 10g of protein and probiotics.

“Rickland Orchards gives consumers a new way to enjoy Greek Yogurt in a convenient, shelf-stable bar,” said Galliano. “Our one-of-a-kind Greek Yogurt Bars have quickly become a favorite among busy, health conscious, on-the-go consumers since their initial release in April.”

Functional Beverages
Bai Brands presented its complete line of bai5 Antioxidant Infusions: Costa Rica Clementine, Brasilia Blueberry, Ipanema Pomegranate, Malawi Mango, Panama Peach, Congo Pear, Sumatra Dragonfruit and the newest bai5 flavor, Limu Lemonade.

According to Ben Weiss, president of the Princeton, N.J.-based company, the newest bai5 flavor is a five-calorie thirst-quencher that delivers superior taste, complete hydration, the antioxidant benefits of coffeefruit plus the gentle lift of 35 milligrams of natural caffeine with only one gram of sugar. “With bai5 Limu Lemonade we’ve given health-conscious consumers refreshment that is low-calorie and low-sugar without sacrificing great taste while entering a segment of the market that’s exploding,” said Weiss.

Greek Yogurt in Fun-Filled Flavors
Officials at Sophie Greek Yogurt were excited to share their no-sugar added Chocolate Greek Yogurt, the most popular of their seven-flavor yogurt line. What differentiates it from other Greek yogurts, said Sophie Pachella, founder and CEO of the Norwich, N.Y.-based company, is that they do not add sugar or artificial sweeteners. In addition to chocolate, the company offers yogurt in Caramel, Banana Cream Pie, Peach Cobbler, Vanilla Bean, Strawberries & Cream and Blueberry Cobbler flavors.

“Retailers as well as consumers continue to give us extraordinarily positive reviews as they seek to find more foods that do not have any sugar added,” she said. “They also love that nutritionally our chocolate yogurt has the protein profile of an egg white omelet, but it tastes like chocolate pudding.”

Squeezably Good Herbs
Looking to offer convenient, healthy solutions to those who prepare food, Earthbound Farm, based in San Juan Bautista, Calif., has introduced a line of Organic Herb Purees. Available in six varieties—Ginger, Garlic, Basil, Cilantro, Dill and Chili Pepper—each comes in a 4-ounce tube.

“In product innovation, Earthbound Farm is looking to develop items that are convenient, delicious, healthy and offer new avenues for getting more organic into people’s kitchens,” said spokesperson Samantha Cabaluna. “Earthbound Farm Organic Herb Purees are made with very clean ingredients and let you put the fresh taste of herbs into your recipes with just a squeeze.”

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