Innovations That Make Earth Cool Again
What do you take away from a show that has so many takeaways? Expo East is a sensorial mega experience that keeps getting more and more interesting due to the increase in innovative companies that deliver unexpected experiences. We both captured our favorite brands and products below.
Alex’s Top Picks
1 | Good Catch
Finding our way to the Good Catch booth, I was simply floored by their wares. The concept of mock seafood made with 100% plant-based ingredients sounds crazy, but amazingly they deliver in taste and texture. The chefs in the booth prepared their dishes with nuanced attention to detail. Who would’ve thought that you could coax out the flavor of seafood so perfectly using their proprietary 6-legume blend? The crab cakes were better than some real crab cakes I’ve had, and the tuna salads were delicious. I have to say once this stuff is released to the public at large, it is going to spread like wildfire.
2 | Quorn
Mushrooms are a fungus, although we might not want to think of them that way. And with fermentation, fungus can be turned into a Mycoprotein. That’s where Quorn comes in. They certainly know what they are doing and they do it well. Their Chicken Nuggets and Fish Sticks were delicious and quite convincing in both taste & texture. Made of Mycoprotein, they are a clean protein that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat. Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in how the public views mushrooms; we’ve witnessed a veritable boon into acceptance and inclusion of them as an essential component of culinary art. It's nice to know that protein can be derived in ways that goes beyond our initial concept of animal protein.
3 | El Burrito
El Burrito, a sister company of House Foods, gets it as well. Their Soyrizo (soy Chorizo) has just the right saturation of flavor and meaty crumble to taste like the real thing. I tried their nacho snack and it was spot on. And with 65% fewer calories and 80% less fat than traditional Chorizo, I will seek it out the next time I have a craving for huevos rancheros. Also, with the recent news that Del Taco will be featuring Beyond Meat in their tacos, perhaps Soyrizo should be next on the lineup.
4 | Miyoko's
Miyoko’s creamery butter is beyond fantastic. They really know how to emulate the flavor and mouthfeel of high-end dairy butter. The truth is that beauty is being performed here, and in this case I want more.
5 | Phyter
I am not surprised that this plant-based food bar is chef crafted. They have such unique combinations of ingredients. Their Beets + Cocoa bar is indicative of the clear culinary mastery involved. In my opinion, Phyter was the best tasting of all of the bars at Expo East (and there were many!).
6 | Rise Up
Rise Up is a strong no-nonsense brew that really meets the mark for that very designation. It’s nice to have cold-pressed craft roasted organic coffee handy when the need arises. I also want to give a nod to their new package design, which has a graphic novel-esque feel using black & white illustrations and a pop of color.
7 | Pervida
Very much the tonic, this lightly carbonated, zero-calorie, zero-sugar functional water is made to have a positive impact on your immune system and gut health. Through their patented technology, Pervida uses the oil of pomegranate seeds to create this one-of-a-kind drink. It’s nice to see that you can go beyond probiotics to get to gut health.
8 | Snoooze
Sometimes with all of the activity and frenetic energy of Expo East (coupled with travel), one can find oneself deprived of sleep. That’s where Snoooze came into play. I was handed three paper containers; two were labeled Strong and one was Regular. I was instructed to take one per night. Did it help to rebalance my circadian rhythm? I would say that the mildly herbal, slightly sweet-tasting brew certainly seemed to help me decide that I would get better sleep.
Dianna’s Top Picks
1 | Alpha
I couldn’t believe the variety of plant-based products offered by Alpha Foods. They had a selection of burritos and handheld chicken pot pie samples that were so good I couldn’t believe they weren’t made of actual meat. To add to that, all of their 100% plant-based products are packed with protein and GMO-Free. Their array of flavors and spot-on textures made me a believer, for sure. Bravo, Alpha!
2 | Rebbl
This creamy and delicious plant-based drink took me by surprise. Not only was it tasty with a nice ginger bite, but it’s good for you! I’m just so impressed by the strides that are being made in the plant-based industry. Even though I’m not vegan or even a vegetarian, I would drink Rebbl any time, just for the flavor and health benefits.
3 | Bulletproof
Bulletproof has everything from coffee and drinks to brain & body performance supplements. Their most recent products, the Collagen Protein Bars, are made with Collagen Protein from grass-fed cows and their signature Brain Octane Oil to keep you full and focused. They also had a “whole body vibration plate” that does just that. It has a host of benefits, like stimulating lymphatic fluids and improving flexibility & mental acuity. That was quite an experience. I don’t know if I felt smarter when I left their booth, but I certainly felt reinvigorated.
4 | Metta
Coined a “Natural Awareness Beverage,” I thought Metta would just be a bunch of hype. But, on the contrary, I found that this drink made me feel focused and energized, even though it is caffeine-free. Their blend of “adaptogenic herbs” elevates performance without sacrificing health. And it’s delicious! I liked it so much I just bought a 6 pack.
5 | Rise Brewing Co.
Rise Brewing Co.’s latest release, Oat Milk Nitro Cold Brew Latte, won a Nexty for best new organic beverage. This nitrous coffee combines the creaminess of the nitro profile with the addition of their own brew of oat milk. It has the creamy, foamy goodness that you want from a strong coffee, but is usually only found in a good stout. It hit me, in a good way. In fact, I could use some right now.
6 | Thrive Culinary Algae Oil
When I heard that this culinary oil was algae-based, I expected Thrive to taste like seaweed or perhaps have a fishy flavor. It actually has a neutral taste, and the high smoke point (485 degrees, higher even than peanut oil) makes it great for cooking, sautéing, or frying. Algae oil maintains heart health and it’s produced with a lower carbon and water footprint, so not only is it good for you, but it’s better for our environment too. Sign me up!
7 | Som Sleep
We came across a few dietary supplements that aid in sleep. Som Sleep contains L-Theanine, GABA and Melatonin, which together settle your mind and relax your body. I drank it a half hour before bed and it did have a calming effect on me. I also gave one to a friend who often has trouble sleeping and he agreed that it had the same effect for him. And I must admit, it was pretty tasty.
8 | Magic Mud
Magic Mud was giving away their whole regimen of activated charcoal oral care. I tried the entire bundle – floss, toothpaste (using their bio-plastic toothbrush) and mouth rinse. The Cinnamon Clove toothpaste had a very nice flavor and left my teeth feeling smooth and clean. The all-natural, alcohol-free mouthwash gave me a fresh feeling without the alcohol sting. The verdict is still out on if it whitens my teeth, but with such a pleasant experience, I’m definitely interested in testing it for the long term.
The Wrap Up
Expo East was quite the experience! Were you an attendee or an exhibitor? Do you plan on exhibiting next year or at an upcoming show? Let us know if you have a product you’d like us to experience. We’d love to give it a try!