Every year, thousands converge on the city of Anaheim not to spend the day with a giant mouse and his pals but to shop and sample the latest trends in natural food, beauty, health and wellness. With over 20,000 square feet of space at their disposal, 2,000+ companies put their best products on display in an attempt to connect with suppliers, distributors, and consumers in one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Big name giants like KIND and Annie’s were just a few booths down from startups that were launching just this year. It is an eye-opening experience that will turn even the most skeptical into a more conscious, educated consumer. How is it only in town for three days???
This was my second year attending Natural Products Expo so I knew for the most part what to expect. I had to pace myself. I had to breathe. And I had to wear REALLY comfortable shoes. However, this year I had the added challenge of my new Paleo diet (more on that journey to come) which switched my focus from solely health and beauty to more food and nutrition based. It didn’t occur to me until I was quite literally surrounded by thousands of tempting sweet and savory samples being all but thrusted in my face that this was going to be really freaking hard.
Luckily, I found a few things that would satisfy my cravings including Mammoth Bars. With a slogan like “Paleo for the Modern World”, how could I go wrong? Using organic sprouted nuts, dates, and sea salt, the guys behind Mammoth Bars let their ingredients do the talking. Not only are their bars a great mix of sweet and savory but they have solved my need for a quick, go to snack. For a true sweet tooth fix, there’s Emmy’s delicious macaroons which hare made with organic raw ingredients. The Lemon Ginger is out of this world. I’ve never had a coconut macaroon that tasted this good and wasn’t raw. I will be ordering cases of both these products today if not sooner.
Beauty wise, I noticed that there seemed to be less brands than last year which was a bit disappointing. There were some pretty cool finds from smaller companies including Doctor Lip Bang’s Lip Freak – an all natural lip balm that tingles just because it can (I’m assuming its supposed to make kissing fun…I’d say I’d let you know but we all know that might take a while.) Another balm I really liked was the Passion Fruit Lip Butter from Rooted Beauty who’s product’s proceeds fund different individual women and girls around the world. I was really struck by that and saw that while this “Toms effect” is a growing trend in the Natural Product industry, Rooted beauty found a way to make it personal and, in doing so, beautiful. In breaking with the traditional lip balm idea, Clean George puts healing salves in a stick, making them easy to used and much more sanitary. I picked up samples of Stuffed Up (a natural Vicks alternative) and Chill Out (self explanatory…it’s got lavender.)
The real joy in this expo comes in the new products that will be launching this year. From Suja to Pacifica to J.R. Watkins – there are a lot of really exciting things coming out that I will be sure to share here as they do. I think that anyone wanting to better understand ANYTHING about products that are just better for you should think about attending one of these shows. The East show is in Baltimore, MD this fall and it is sure to change your life. For good.