Natural Products Expo West, held a few weeks ago in California, is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event and is a wonderland of healthier food, body and lifestyle products. Among the 3,100 exhibitors at this year’s show, we definitely noticed some major trends. Some were just emerging while others were exploding in popularity and branching out into new forms.
Here are the hot health trends you’ll be eating and drinking this year and beyond. All of the products listed below are either in market now or will be in the next few months.
Samples of this protein-packed gut aid were aplenty at Expo West and we were thankful for the nourishing respite. Some of the highlights we tasted (almost all of which are grass-fed) were Pressery’s Thai coconut veggie bone broth and organic coconut ginger beef bone broth; Pacific’s organic turkey and duck bone broths; and Nona Lim’s gluten-free non-GMO Thai curry and lime chicken, chicken turmeric and Vietnamese pho bone broths. To mix it up, Bru has a few blends, including Broffee—bone broth with coffee, cocoa, and spices—which will be out later this year. For the home broth brewer, Numo sells kits of bones, veggies, and spices.
In an ever faster-moving world with 24/7 technology, adaptogens are having a moment since they can help your body adapt to stress and function at an optimal level. Ashwagandha, maca, astragalus, holy basil (tulsi) and several mushrooms are some of the main players.
Purely Elizabeth’s new functional granola bars come with 2 grams each of superfood mushrooms that you can’t taste, perhaps due to the added sweetener (coconut sugar). Om mushroom blends cordyceps, reishi, turkey tail, and himematsutake in bars named Mind, Energy, Shine, Immunity, and Refresh.
Raw royal honey-based supplement Bee Panacea gives new meaning to the word superfood. Just one teaspoon contains 20 beneficial foods and adaptogens like maca, reishi, and astragalus that can help with energy, skin and more. Victoria Beckham is even a fan—how’s that for posh?
Amazing Grass organic elixirs have nutritious greens, moringa, and ashwagandha plus special blends for beauty (chaga) brain (lion’s mane) and belly (holy basil).
Several new teas are extra therapeutic thanks to adaptogens—Choice‘s new mushroom wellness teas include shiitake mate and reishi matcha; Traditional Medicinals organic tulsi with ginger; and Numi’s organic teas like Purpose, Balance and Gratitude with maca, astragalus, tulsi, and ashwagandha to help you find what you’re seeking.
Brothee’s flavorful vegan wild mushroom broth with shiitake and chaga goes down easy sipped in a mug or as the base for a soup.
No longer just associated with injections for reality star housewives, collagen is showing up in more palatable ways to help tendons, joints and bones function and hair, skin and nails look their best, as we reported in Are Collagen And Bone Broth The Keys To Youthful Skin?
Vital Proteins, which already has a loyal following for its powdered collagen peptides, debuted refreshing Collagen Beauty Water with probiotics in lavender-lemon, melon-mint, and cucumber-aloe flavors. A tub of their Collagen Beauty Greens with raw greens, hyaluronic acid and probiotics was relabeled as Collagen Sports Greens since some men may think the “beauty” label means it’s not for them.
Neocell’s collagen comes in different forms, depending on your fancy. Super Collagen is designed for maximum absorption and Chef Charles Chen was even working it into recipes at Expo West. Their Beauty Infusion tangerine collagen drink mix has 6000 mg of collagen plus biotin for strong hair and nail growth and hyaluronic acid for skin hydration and renewal. And candy can be dandy—their Beauty and Joint Bursts deliver collagen and nutrients in the form of small soft chews that taste like Starburst.
Primal Kitchen’s protein bars with grass-fed collagen come in tasty flavors like chocolate hazelnut and coconut cashew that are low sugar and paleo approved. They also make dairy-and whey-free Collagen Fuel Powder in chocolate and vanilla coconut for a sweet treat.
DESSERTS WITH NO REFINED SUGAR
While cane sugar and agave (which has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup) were still present in many Expo West products, more makers are ditching the refined and cane sugar for sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, and fruit. Now that’s sweet.
Because Cookie Dough’s delicious gluten-free brownie batter cups are sweetened with dates and coconut sugar. Just pop one in the oven for a warm brownie in minutes. It’s perfect if you’re craving a fresh brownie and don’t want to bake (and eat) a whole pan. Since the batter doesn’t have eggs, you could even eat it raw—no judgment here.
We all scream for Snow Monkey, a non-dairy ice cream made with bananas, hemp seed and sunflower butter enhanced by cacao or goji berries. The simple, nutritious ingredients make two scoops too easy.
Miss the taste of Nestle Crunch from your youth but don’t want the junk that comes along with it? Hu’s paleo chocolate just got even better with their new vanilla quinoa “Qrispy” dark chocolate bar sweetened with coconut sugar.
Gut health has come into focus in recent years since it affects the entire body and the average diet and medications can wreak havoc on its beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are coming to the rescue in an array of forms.
Effi’s probiotic nut clusters are bunches of tasty maple syrup-sweetened grainless granola with live cultures plus protein from nuts and seeds.
Pressery doubled down on probiotics with organic sparkling drinking vinegar and organic ready-to-drink probiotic vegetable soups.
Truth Bar launched at Expo West with probiotic and prebiotic bars that taste like dessert but have 5 grams of unrefined sugar per bar. The chocolate dipped raspberry tastes like a truffle and the chocolate dipped coconut tastes like a Mounds bar—and that’s the truth.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickled vegetables and Kombucha are popular as ever and a great source of probiotics. Our fave booches included Wild Tonic Jun Kombucha, which uses honey instead of cane sugar to ferment its fizzy drinks in blueberry basil, chai pear, tropical turmeric and other flavors; just watch the sugar content. Health-Ade, fermented in glass in small batches, debuted its unique reishi-chocolate Kombucha at Expo West that may sound like an odd combo but is reminiscent of a chocolate soda from a 50s diner—but healthy.
The powerful anti-inflammatory du jour continues to reign, showing up in everything from Living Intentions’ Activated Superfood Tandoori Turmeric Popcorn to Honeydrop cold-pressed turmeric lemonade.
New Chapter’s new fermented turmeric booster powder aims to help support inflammation, the brain, and heart.
New turmeric teas from established brands were in full force—Choice shiitake turmeric tea; Traditional Medicinals organic turmeric tea with meadowsweet and ginger; and Numi’s turmeric golden tonic with lemon verbena and lime, and turmeric three roots with ginger licorice and rose. Just add warm milk to Numi’s new organic turmeric cocoa loose blend for a golden latte.
Where do you get your protein, bro? While grass-fed meat and paleo foods have risen in popularity, so has plant-based protein beyond soy.
If you want your peas a little more disguised, blend some greens, berries and milk or juice with Essential Living Foods’ organic wild protein smoothie mix that has pea protein, hemp, spirulina, and moringa.
Since snacking on fresh peas on the go doesn’t work so well, Mediterra’s kale pumpkin seed and black olives & walnuts bars with pea protein rice crisps are a welcome savory option. They also just debuted kale pomegranate and kale apple quinoa.
Being vegan or dairy-free no longer means you’re doomed to mediocre tasting substitutes or nothing at all. Milk (like the pea protein milks above), cheese and comfort food choices are abundant and growing every day from brands like Follow Your Heart, So Delicious and more.
Already a favorite, Miyoko’s Creamery gained even more fans at Expo West with its new organic, vegan smoked mozzarella made from cashews and coconut oil. It didn’t hurt that they also served up the creamy robust “cheese” in fresh bite-sized paninis. We may have had seconds or thirds.
Kite Hill, another popular elevated vegan cheese maker, creates a rich firm and creamy cheese, cream cheese spreads (pictured above) and ravioli that can easily pass for the dairy-filled version. They just released more artisan almond milk yogurts including caramel and plain unsweetened, a vegan yogurt flavor that can be hard to find.
Move over, blue box mac n’ cheese, because Chao Vegan Creamery’s new Creamy Mac ‘n Chao tastes like homemade, with a thick sauce made with creamy original Chao slices oozing over tender noodles.
Punk Rawk Labs cashew cheese is fermented, handmade in small batches, and makes for an addicting snack in nacho, cashew smoked and cashew of the woods (mushroom) flavors.
Almond milks are aplenty but Malk also makes pecan and cashew nut milk with just three to five ingredients each, and all their nut milks are sprouted. We also went nuts for Milkadamia’s unsweetened macadamia nut milk, because there just aren’t enough ways to consume this delicious nut.
GRASS-FED MEAT & DAIRY
The benefits of grass-fed meat and dairy continue to be touted, especially as more people steer clear of soy, grain or mystery ingredients from their food source.
SunFed Ranch grass-fed meatballs were deliciously juicy and satisfying.
Maple Hill makes yogurts, cheese and probiotic drink kefir with whole milk from 100% grass-fed cows.
Siggi’s also uses milk from grass-fed cows to make its yogurts that go from non-fat to triple cream. Stick with plain for a sugar-free option.
The PB&J will always be a classic but other nut and nut-free butters are also helping to spread the love, especially as more people develop peanut allergies and schools go peanut-free.
SunButter, made with sunflower seeds, is a popular nut-free option. The organic and no sugar added varieties are your best best.
If you’re hankering for Nutella but don’t want the dairy, refined sugar or even the nuts, Artisana Organics, which is certified organic, fair trade, vegan, clean and raw, makes a sunflower cacao spread sweetened with coconut sugar.
Yumbutter’s new nut and seed butters have even more benefits than the average spread and come in a pouch with a spout for easy snacking. Plant Protein + Probiotic almond butter has organic sprouted brown rice protein and sunflower seeds plus probiotics to aid digestion. Superfood sunflower, cashew, and almond butters have chia and hemp seeds for extra fiber plus goji berry and lucuma powder.
Abby’s Better Nut Butters are a triple threat—they taste amazing, have simple healthy ingredients and were created by a teenager. Take snacking or a sweet treat to the next level with their coconut cashew butter, coffee almond butter or date pecan butter that tastes like pecan pie.
Bio Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor and works as a freelance web editor for NPR affiliate KPCC. She’s written about healthier food and events for various publications including Eater LA and was an editor for AOL’s Patch, where she won an LA Press Club Award. In addition to her BA in journalism, Jessica is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program.
Also published on Medium.