Cool New Products Showcased at Natural Products Expo West 2012 Print
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Natural Products Expo West SignNatural Products Expo West is the annual premier trade show for the organic and natural products industry, and the largest of its kind in the world.  This was my fifth time attending Expo West, and every year I am so excited to walk the aisles of the Anaheim Convention Center to see what's new and innovative in terms of food products, supplements, body care products, pet food, clothing, and much, much more .  One of my favorite perks of attending the expo is that I come home with a gazillion samples and a whole new supply of reusable shopping bags with my favorite company's logos on them.  This year I snagged at least 10 really cool bags and a T-shirt from KIND Healthy Snacks.  One year I lucked out by getting a very cute women's T-shirt from Larabar, which I still covet like a rare gem. 

The expo is mostly for buyers and employees of retail and online stores, looking for new and innovative items to stock their shelves, but many others are welcome to attend, including bloggers, health professionals and nutritionists (like yours truly), and anyone who is remotely affiliated with the natural products industry.  This year's expo drew more than 60,000 attendees and hosted over 3,000 exhibits, so there was plenty to do, see, smell, and taste.  In addition to walking the aisles of the convention hall checking out all the new stuff, the expo also offered a morning yoga class, educational seminars, networking events, exhibitor-hosted parties, and a concert.  This year's concert featured Ziggy Marley, who also had a booth at the expo to showcase his new coconut oil products (more on those later).

Dee with Patricia_2012Many of the biggest names in health attend Expo West, and although it's a huge event, it is also surprisingly intimate.  In previous years, I've had the opportunity to personally meet such nutritional greats as Ann Louise Gittleman, Dr. Michael Murray, Udo Erasmus, Jordan Rubin, and of course the "First Lady of Natural Health" Patricia Bragg.  Often times, the creators of the products are in their booths greeting people and/or signing books.  I've met Bob of Bob's Red Mill and Mary of Mary's Gone Crackers.  Brenda Watson, founder of Renew Life Digestive Care supplements, was in her booth this year doing a book signing, and Lara of Larabar was briefly spotted on the show floor as well.  Also this year, I had the blessed opportunity to get a personal introduction to Marilu Henner of TV and stage fame, and author of many books, including The Total Health Makeover.  It was an honor beyond belief.  You just never know who you're going to meet!

A highlight of this year's expo was the Bragg 100th Anniversary Party on Saturday night.  Patricia Bragg and her staff hosted an elegant Hawaiian-themed celebration, commemorating both 100 years of success in creating a line of natural organic foods, books, and recipes, but also to honor the legacy of her father, Paul Bragg, who opened the very first natural foods store in the country in 1912.  It was such an honor to be a part of the celebration.  If you'd like to read more about it click here (when you get to the site, you may recognize the man standing in the center of the pic as my hubby Michael!).

Below are my comments on of some of the Expo’s noteworthy products.  Some may not be in stores yet, but keep your eyes peeled or go online to order:

COCOMOJOE (raw bars, raw granola, and caramel corn)

Not since I first tasted Larabar many years ago, have I tasted anything more amazing in a bar, raw or otherwise, than COCOMOJOE.  And I've tasted many a bar in the years between. Of all the foods I tasted during my time at expo, none could compare to COCOMOJOE products, which also include granola and caramel corn.  They were truly THE BEST, and I really hope that the owner and creator, Joe, got some buyers to carry his awesome creations.

cocomojoeproductsWhat makes COCOMOJOE products so yummy AND healthy is that Joe uses the miracle of coconut products to improve their taste and nutritional value.  Dried coconut, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut nectar are all part of the high quality ingredients used in the products.

JoeBar is an organic raw gluten free food bar.  I tasted the coffee Joebar and the green Joebar. Simply amazing!  The BabyBar smaller smaller size version of Joebar made of most of the same ingredients, without walnuts or any added fruit or flavor. It's 1"x3" and is the perfect size, taste and texture for children teething age and up.

Cocomo Joe Raw Granolas are the best organic granolas you will find anywhere.  They're not just sweet, they actually have real flavors. Most granolas contain canola typically overly sweetened with agave, honey, or evaporated cane juice.  Not Cocomo Joe granola - they use coconut oil and coconut sweeteners.  I'm telling you, there's nothing like it anywhere!

Finally, the Cocomo Corn was beyond description in its authenticity and flavor.  I could not believe how good it was.  Thank goodness the free samples were small because I could have definitely overindulged in that delectable treat. Made with organic popcorn, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and coconut oil, it has an amazing caramel taste without any stickiness.  The best part about it is the low glycemic index of coconut sugar and nectar, which is 35, well below the threshold for diabetics.

On the company's Facebook page, their mission statement reads: To put great food made with the best ingredients out in the world so people have a better choice of what they're putting in their body. To make food to the highest standards of taste and quality. To ask people to eat slowly, and eat less.

What food company tells you to eat less?!!!  COCOMOJOE is onto something and they're doing it in a very conscious way.  Bless you, Joe!  I wish you the best of success.

Bragg Live Food Products

Patricia Bragg spotted a 2008 feature story on me in Quick and Simple Magazine where I revealed that one of my all-natural secret weapons for losing 100 pounds (and keeping it off) is apple cider vinegar.  She looked me up in the phone directory and called me at home!  Since then we've been friendly, I see her every year at Expo West, and I still tout her products every chance I get.

As previously mentioned, this year the Bragg company celebrates 100 years of promoting health through organic foods - a legacy seemingly immune to the natural product industry's race to introduce the "next big thing".

The Bragg Motto is "You are what you eat, drink, breathe, think, say, and do". Patricia is a living example of this.

Bragg has introduced 365 products over the past century.  Their current product line focuses on the perrenial raw apple cider vinegar, flavored vinegar drinks, extra-virgin olive oil from Greece, salad dressings and marinades, liquid aminos, sprinkle seasonings, and a digestive enzyme supplement. All products are organic, vegan, and gluten free.

This year Bragg introduced three new flavors of bottled vinegar drinks: Sweet Stevia, LimeAde and Ginger Spice.  I couldn't stop drinking them while I was visiting the Bragg booth. They are all excellent, as are all of the Bragg products.

And this year, Patricia is especially proud of one Hollywood celebrity's endorsement of Bragg vinegar.  She proudly showcased the following flyer throughout the weekend.  Go Patricia!

Ziggy Marley's Cocomon

These are the first flavor-infused coconut oils I've ever seen.  Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?  Why didn't I think of this?  The coconut oil is high quality, organic, cold-pressed, unrefined, and non-deodorized.  It's infused with natural extracts of curry, orange-almond, and lemon-ginger.  He also has an original plain coconut oil. The flavor-infused oils lend wonderful flavors to whatever is cooked in them or whatever you spread it on.  Truly marvelous!

Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Yogurt, Kefir and Sour Cream

From the same folks who bring you Redwood Hill Farms Goat Yogurt, Green Valley Organics is dedicated to producing the purest, best tasting milk for their lactose-free dairy products.  The secret to how they make it lactose-free?  They add the natural enzyme lactase to the milk, which breaks down the lactose into easily digested simple sugars, glucose and glalactose.  No chemicals are used, and the nutritional components of the milk are not altered in any way.  Although I prefer my yogurt to be full-fat rather than low fat, these are good organic products for those who are lactose intolerant but who desire eating these types of dairy products.

Dahlicious Lassi

I really liked Dahlicious Lassi - a drinkable yogurt made from the milk of rBST-free grass-fed cows.

The name lassi comes from India, and the traditional drink has a 4,000 year history.  Now it's made in Vermont.  The yogurt is flavored only with real fruit, and is seriously probiotic.  Each batch is cultured for 12 hours and contains billions of live probiotic cultures - about ten times more than other yogurts.  This was truly a unique product, I didn't see anything else like it at the expo.  The owner, shown here, is a really nice guy too.

The company is fairly new, so you may not find it in stores just yet, but you can order it online from their website.

Brothers-All-Natural Fruit Crisps

I rarely approve of "healthy" snack foods, but this is one I can give a thumbs up to.  It is nothing more than real fruit and spices.  It's made by gently removing the water from the fresh fruit through a state-of-the-art FREEZE-DRIED process, and transforms it into a yummy, not-too-sweet crispy snack.  No added sugar, nothing artificial.  The only thing that could be better would be if the fruit were organic.  Other than that, this is a great pick for trips, school lunches, and snacks.  These are widely available, I picked up a package at my local Circle K a week after the Expo!

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Frozen Waffles

Leggo my Eggo better move over - here comes Food for Life's frozen sprouted grain waffles.  The company has been serving high quality sprouted grain bread and all-natural baked goods for over 40 years.  Well known for the Ezekiel 4:9 brand, their products are the gold standard for healthy.  These waffles won't be out until May, but you'll definitely want to try them once they make their way into your local health food store!

To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company

Want to make your own sprouted grain bread, but don't want to deal with sprouting your own grains? You can order online from this family-owned business located in a small farm setting in rural Alabama. Buy the sprouted grains and mill them into flour yourself, or let them mill the sprouted grains for you.  Their sprouted flour is freshly milled from organic grains -- wheat, spelt and rye. The grains are sprouted, dried and milled at a very low temperature to maintain enzymes, vitamins and minerals. The sprouted flour is milled to order. It never sits on the shelf or in a warehouse. This ensures the freshest, most nutritious whole grain flour possible. Their website has lots of great info and recipes.  Check it out!


Tired of your fruits and veggies going bad before you have a chance to eat them?  If so, Blueapple may be your solution. 

The produce industry has known for years that ethylene gas, released by fruits and vegetables, accelerates spoilage.  The attractive apple-shaped blue plastic container holds an absorbent pouch that traps the ethylene gas in your refrigerator and extends the useful storage life of your produce up the three times longer.

The Bluapple is designed to work for three months in a typical home refrigerator produce or storage container.  The active ingredient does not wear out, but continues to absorb ethylene until is has reached it capacity. The absorbent pouches can be replaced, allowing you to reuse the plastic Blueapple for years.  I've got these in my refrigerator at home, and they do work great.  You'll find them in the produce section of your natural food market or other grocery stores.  The product works so well, it got an endorsement on the "The Doctors" television show.