Wellness out West

Expo West proved once again to be an explosive showcase for the wellness category.

This year’s Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif. was a profusion of better-for-you products. Featuring nearly 2,500 exhibitors, the show drew more than 63,000 attendees. Some of the biggest trends included the non-GMO movement and the expansion of gluten-free and other allergy-friendly offerings. Here is a recap.

Bakery on Main
Bakery on Main was sampling two new bakeshop flavors in its line of Gluten Free Instant Oatmeals: Carrot Cake and Blueberry Scone. Made with whole grains including certified gluten-free oats, amaranth, quinoa, chia and flax, Bakery on Main provides a healthy breakfast item for consumers on-the-go, said officials for the East Hartford, Conn.-based company.

In addition to the three original bakeshop flavors: Apple Pie, Strawberry Shortcake and Maple Multigrain Muffin, as well as a Traditional Unsweetened flavor, there are now six SKUs in this expanded product line. Available in a 10.5-ounce box with six individual packets, the oatmeal carries a suggested retail price of $5.99.

CedarLane Natural Foods
CedarLane Natural Foods introduced its line of CedarLean breakfast and lunch entrees. The collection features high protein and high fiber meals containing 240 calories or less, and includes three varieties of gluten-free Egg White Frittatas and three soup and wrap combinations.

CedarLane, based in Carson, Calif., also recently introduced High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment to their production facilities. The HPP technology has been recognized by the FDA to preserve product freshness and flavor while safely increasing shelf life without the use of artificial preservatives.

Gordon Hagedorn, senior vice president of sales and marketing said that retailers will enjoy success with CedarLane products if there is, “a shelf presence in the freezer and deli areas and a commitment to a program that allows for groupings of product that serve consumer demand.”

Crunchies Food Co.
The Crunchies Food Co., based in Westlake, Calif., has teamed up with Warner Bros. Colittlecrunchiesnsumer Products to create a new line of better-for-you snacks for kids: Little Crunchies. The 10 SKUs will hit shelves nationwide in four freeze-dried fruit flavors: Strawberries, Strawberries & Bananas, Apples & Bananas and Strawberries & Mangoes. Each features a distinct Looney Tunes character, including Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck and Taz.
The Little Crunchies line will come in resealable 1-ounce packages and .33-ounce Munch Paks filled with little pieces of the freeze dried fruits for the small hands and mouths of kids ages one and up.

Funky Monkey Snacks
Funky Monkey is hoping that a group of superheroes will help build sales in its line of freeze-dried fruits. The Indianapolis-based company has entered into a licensing agreement with Marvel Comics and is introducing products to its “fruit that crunches” line featuring the Avengers and Spider-Man on the packaging.

The five SKUs in the line have a suggested retail price of between $3.99 and $4.99. SpiderMan will appear on the freeze-dried strawberry packaging; Captain America on the cinnamon apple packaging; The Hulk on pineapple packaging; Thor on banana packaging; and Iron Man on strawberry/banana packaging.

“We think this is a great way for consumers to notice our product line,” said Matt Herzog, the company’s president. “We are combining exciting characters with good nutrition and great taste. It is the ultimate superpower.”

Glutino launched its line of gluten-free toaster pastries. Nationally available in an Apple Cinnamon and a Strawberry flavor, the Toaster Pastries line joins Glutino’s extensive line of gluten-free breakfast offerings. “We think our consumers will find theglutinose to be a delightful addition to their morning routines,” said Laura Kuykendall, director of marketing for the Boulder, Colo.-based company.

Glutino also announced the recent Non-GMO Project Verification of 12 of its products. The products include all four of its breakfast bars and eight SKUs in the Gluten Free Pantry product line.

GO Veggie!
GO Veggie!, formerly Galaxy Nutritional Foods, continues to deliver on its promise of helping a variety of consumers enjoy cheesy foods. The North Kingstown, R.I.-based company has three different lines of cheese alternatives: Dairy Free Vegan, Lactose Free and Lactose Free Rice, each packaged in a different bold color to allow consumers to find the product they need with ease.

Whether a consumer is vegan, vegetarian, living with a food allergy or intolerance or trying to eat healthier by lowering cholesterol and fats by cutting back on dairy, GO Veggie! offers a variety of cheese alternatives for them, said company officials.

Happy Family Brands
Happy Family Brands introduced two Greek Yogurt pouch lines for babies and toddlers. The Happy Baby Greek Yogurt pouches come in three varieties and is considered gentle dairy for babies six months and older. They are sold individually for a suggested retail price of $1.59 per pouch.

“For organic, the baby category is the main point of entry from the moment of conception,” said Helen Bernstein, vice president of marketing, for the New York-based company.

Happy Tot Greek Yogurt pouches offer toddlers calcium, vitamin D and protein in three varieties: Orange, Apple & Sweet Potato; Kale, Spinach & Apple; and Pomegranate, Apple & Beet. They have an SRP of $1.79 per pouch.

Hint is a line of flavored still and “fizz” water products that contain no sugar and no calories. According to Theo Goldin, co-founder and COO of the San Francisco-based company, there are 10 still flavors and four “fizz” flavors. A four-pack has a suggested price range of $5.99 to $6.99, while a single 12-ounce container is priced at $1.69.

“Our product delivers incremental sales,” Goldin said. “It’s designed for consumers who want to drink more water but who find that plain water is boring. Hint allows them to drink water again.”

Ian’s Natural Foods
Ian’s unveiled its new Supreme French Bread Pizza. Along with its Uncured Pepperoni and Ian’s Cheesy French Bread Pizza, the Supreme pizza is made without wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, eggs or nuts.

“Ian’s was a pioneer in launching all-natural, allergy-friendly French Bread Pizza five years ago. Our pizza recipes demonstrate just how delicious allergy-friendly foods can be for the entire family,” said Jayne Minigell, director of marketing for the Framingham, Mass.-based company.

The products are sold frozen in 9-ounce boxes containing two pizzas each and retail for an SRP of $6.99.

King Arthur Flour
According to industry observers, the gluten-free community is an intensely networked group of individuals with very high standards for quality. Officials at King Arthur Flour, based in Norwich, Vt., are not worried about disappointing them. “The support we give our products is what sets our flour apart from the competition,” said Tom Payne, marketing director.

King Arthur Flour unveiled its gluten-free All-Purpose Baking Mix at Expo West. It is the 9th SKU to join its line of gluten-friendly mixes and flours. All of King Arthur’s gluten-free products are made in a facility that does not process the top eight most common allergens and have an average SRP of $5.99.

Mary’s Gone Crackers
Mary Waldner began Mary’s Gone Crackers in 2004, 10 years after she was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. Based in Gridley, Calif., the company manufactures a variety of whole grain, organic, gluten-free crackers, pretzels and other snack foods.

With the launch of Mary’s Super Seed Crackers and Hot ‘n Spicy Jalapeno Crackers at Expo West, there are now seven flavors in Waldner’s original line of seed crackers. The new Super Seed Crackers have added sunflower, pumpkin and poppy seeds to the original recipe, which includes flax and sesame seeds.

Nature’s Gate
Nature’s Gate announced three new products at Expo West. The Fig Facial Scrub, alcohol-free Yuzu Hydrating Toner and Sun Defense Argan Oil Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF15 protection are an extension of the company’s naturally effective and affordable facial care line.

Officials for the Chatsworth, Calif.-based company said that all products are available for less than $20 and are enriched with Nature’s Gate’s seven beautiful skin botanicals: argan oil or extract, white tea, olive, aloe, flaxseed, blackberry and acerola. The products are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates.

Nature’s Path
Nature’s Path Organic Foods launched its Gluten Free Selections line with three granolas, three chewy granola bars and three flavors of oatmeal and a variety pack. These new additions, combined with four new varieties of bread, contributed to the 20 new gluten free SKUs that the Richmond, B.C., Canada-based company introduced.

Nature’s Path prides itself on being “financially viable, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable” said Maria Emmer-Aanes, director of marketing and communications. The company also announced its recent acquisition of Que Pasa Mexican Foods, a manufacturer of authentic, artisan, organic and non-GMO Mexican food products.

Nawgan Products
Officials at Nawgan say that not only do their products taste great, they could make the user more focused, if not a bit smarter. Using the ingredient cognizin, they say that its line of beverages will help users focus and boost concentration.

The Chesterfield, Mo.-based company is adding two flavors (mango lemon lime and grape) to its line of “alertness” beverages. They carry a suggested price of $2.29 for a 12-ounce container.

“This is definitely a unique product,” said Dylan Spencer, the company’s director of marketing. “We are essentially a trendsetter in mental performance with cognizin designed to increase brain activity.”

Spencer says that Nawgan currently has distribution in the Southwest and Northeast and is hoping to add more retailers across the country this year. “We have our teams in place to help retailers sell this product through,” he adds. “It is guerilla marketing at its best, with in-store demos and marketing to help educate the consumer.”

The Gluten Free Bistro
Bistro Bites mini pizzas are the newest development from The Gluten Free Bistro. Available in Margherita and Pepperoni flavors, Bistro Bites contain five grams of protein and three grams of fiber. They are made with tomato sauce, rBST/rBGH hormone-free cheese and uncured pepperoni.

Two of the Bistro’s three founders are certified nutritionists. “We’re seriously into clean products,” said Julie McGinnis, CEO for the Boulder, Colo.-based company. Gluten Free Bistro products are currently available throughout Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.

The Mediterranean Snack Food Co.
The Mediterranean Snack Food Company launched its gluten-free, shelf-stable mini meal product line tapaz2go, which combines its protein-rich Lentil Crackers with hummus.

“There is significant research showing that protein in snacking is becoming more desirable, and tapaz2go provides a snack alternative that satisfies both the appetite and the demand for a nutritious, protein-rich mini meal,” said Vincent P. James, founder and CEO of the Boonton, N.J.-based company.

The tapaz2go line includes a single serving of the Lentil Crackers Sea Salt combined with one variety of hummus—Classic, Roasted Garlic or Red Pplumorgepper. The individual package is 3.6 ounces with a suggested retail price of $2.99.

Plum Organics
Plum Organics introduced its Mighty 4 Essential Nutrition line of pouches for toddlers. The line will be available in May in five flavors; each made with trend forward, nutrient-dense ingredients like kale, pomegranate, Greek Yogurt and a variety of ancient grains. Officials for the Emeryville, Calif.-based company said there are four food groups in every pouch: vegetables, grains, fruit and dairy; and it delivers on core nutrients essential for toddler development. In addition to the Mighty 4 product line, Plum Organics announced that they have incorporated more meat and protein into their Baby Stage 3 product line.




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