Sneak peek at what’s on show at Expo West

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Expo West is set to open its doors again for an in-person event. Pic: Expo West
Expo West is set to open its doors again for an in-person event. Pic: Expo West

Related tags: Expo west, Snacks, vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Protein, Nutrition

Some of the treats awaiting visitors to Natural Products Expo West, being held in Anaheim, California, from 9-11 March.

Above Food Corp

Eat Up

Above Food Corp, a vertically integrated plant-based food company, has launched a D2C platform after spending the past year acquiring a range of brands in the plant-based space, including Only Oats (gluten-free oat based products), Culcherd (dairy alternatives), Farmer Direct Organic (pantry staples) and Eat Up! by Above Food.

Plant-based food sales surpassed $7bn in 2020 and Above Food is rising to meet the increasing demand. The ecommerce site will give consumers across North America the opportunity to enjoy more than 40 plant-based products delivered straight to their door.

“Now more than ever, consumers are looking for quality and accountability when it comes to what they feed their families, and put into their own bodies,”​ said president and cofounder Martin Williams.

“Our comprehensive ecommerce platform meets that need by not only providing the most premium quality plant-based goods, but by taking care of every seed from field to fork, because we believe that knowing the whole story of your food’s journey is important.”

All of Above Food’s plant proteins (chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, peas, and oats) are grown in the Northern Plains of America and the Canadian Prairies. In addition to its whole grains, plant-based bakery and meat offerings, Eat Up! by Above Food is planning to launch plant-based meatballs and mini sliders, additional plant-based dairy products and plant-based snacks in the coming months.

“As a fourth-generation farmer, the movement toward higher quality, traceable and sustainable food has been a passion in my family for more than 120 years,”​ added Lionel Kambeitz, executive chair and CEO.

“The entire team at Above Food shares in these core values, and we look forward to providing more offerings to consumers looking for a healthier, more sustainable way of life.”

Seapoint Farms

Mighty Lil

Better-for-you snack producer Seapoint Farms is showcasing its new savoury line, Mighty Lil’ Crunchy Corn, along with its Mighty Lil’ Lentils.

Mighty Lil’ Crunchy Corn are made with 100% whole grain Non-GMO corn and is available in two variants: Pink Himalayan Salt and Zesty Ranch. The snacks are also Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, naturally gluten-free, kosher and free of trans fat and cholesterol.

“We’re thrilled to build upon our better-for-you portfolio and introduce an entirely new genre of corn snack to consumers,”​ said Philip Siegel, COO of Seapoint Farms.

“As the first American company to bring edamame to the US, we’ve always been a leader in forging new snacking categories. Mighty Lil’ Crunchy Corn was crafted to be a vegan crunchy snack that’s simply better than popcorn and corn nuts, and is great for all snacking occasions.”

Seapoint Farms’ Mighty Lil’ Crunchy Corn will be available on Amazon from April, with a roll out in retail outlets to follow, for an RRP of $3.99-$4.29 per bag.

Clio Snacks

Clio

The fresh snacking brand behind the world’s first Greek yogurt bar wrapped in chocolate, is unveiling three new variants – Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bars, Vanilla Less Sugar Yogurt Bars and Vanilla Almond Granola & Yogurt Parfait Bars. The brand is also celebrating its win into Kroger stores for the first time, with three of its bars hitting 1,2000 stores later this month.

All the bars combine the benefits of pure, strained whole milk Greek yoghurt – which is high in protein (8g-10g) and probiotics – with Clio’s signature cheesecake-like texture, and chocolate or almond butter coating. Additionally, they are Certified Gluten Free, while the Vanilla Less Sugar Greek Yogurt Bars are keto-friendly and contain just 1g of sugar. All the bars are also low in calories – between 100 to 210.

“The snacking trend has emerged as an incremental and dynamic force within refrigerated CPG, and our goal is to provide delicious solutions which deliver on the promise of guiltless indulgence,”​ said CEO John McGuckin.

“With the nutritional profile of Greek yoghurt, these new bars are the perfect choice for all-dayparts. From crunchy breakfast parfaits to afternoon cravings to lower sugar options, Clio’s portfolio is an anytime, anywhere, hand-held snacking sensation... no spoons allowed.”

The bars are rolling out in Kroger, Whole Foods Market and Albertsons with an RRP of between $1.49-$2.49 per bar. They are also available online from the company in 10-count boxes for $18-$28.

Chomps

Chomps

Chomps, the fastest-growing natural meat snack brand in dollar growth in both the Natural and Conventional retail channels in the US, has secured a minority investment of $80m from private-equity firm Stride Consumer Partners. This is the first outside private equity capital Chomps has raised and Stride’s first large investment in the food category. Stride’s involvement will help Chomps to accelerate innovation, brand-building, and distribution.

The family-owned healthy meat snack brand is also rolling out in Canada, nine years after Chomps first debuted in the US. Chomps Original Beef Sticks are now available for Canadians to purchase through Amazon and Natura Market.

“For several years now, consumers in Canada have been asking for Chomps to become available in local retailers,”​ said CEO and cofounder Pete Maldonado.

“Amazon and Natura Market are just the first step in our expansion into Canada, and we look forward to continuing to grow the Chomps footprint.”

Chomps Original Beef Sticks are made from grass-fed beef, sustainably sourced from Tasmania and Victoria, Australia, packing 9g of protein and only 90 calories. Joining the lineup is Pepperoni Turkey, a highly requested, bold new flavour featuring free-range turkey (with no hormones or antibiotics) and a blend of spices including chili pepper, fennel seed and oregano.

The snacks are Whole30 Approved, Certified Gluten Free, Certified Paleo, Keto Certified and free of all top 9 allergens.

“We could not be more delighted to partner with Chomps team,”​ said Juan Marcos Hill, Stride partner.

“They have built an amazing brand and the perfect snack, one which is so well aligned with what today’s consumers are looking for including clean ingredients, high protein, low carbs and low sugar. But most importantly a product that tastes great.”

Pipcorn

Pipcorn

Pipcorn is celebrating its 10th​ anniversary by highlighting its five top-selling product lines: Heirloom Popcorn, Heirloom Cheese Balls, Heirloom Corn Dippers, Heirloom Crackers, and Heirloom Crunchies.

Reinventing childhood snacks into modern, better-for-you, sustainable offerings, its snacks are made with less than four ingredients that are whole grain, gluten-free and Non-GMO Project Verified.

It focuses on heirloom corn to help preserve the agricultural biodiversity that might otherwise be lost, and, with each harvest, saves the seeds to plant the next time around. The heirloom corn is grown by family farmers in the exact way heirloom popcorn has been grown for generations. Since the heirloom corn is untainted by modern engineering and technology, the flavour and nutrients are preserved in Pipcorn’s final product.

Pipcorn was founded in 2012 by Jeff Martin, his sister Jen Martin and his wife, Teresa Tsou and became a Shark Tank success story when backed by Barbara Corcoran in 2015. It has been crowned as one of ‘Oprah’s Favourite Things’ three times and is favoured among celebs.

Pipcorn is available at retailers across the US, including Whole Foods Market, Target, Sprouts, Kroger, Walmart, Thrive Market and Erewhon.

Whisps

Whisps-new-products-banner-desktop

On a mission to put cheese back in cheez foods, Whisps will preview its newest creation coming to shelves in late April: NEXTY-nominated Whisps Cheese & Pretzel Bites, a snack made with 100% real cheese, pretzels and spices – in two variants: Everything and Cheddar – with 7g-8g of protein per serving.

Beyond tasting this new creation, Whisps will also showcase its new Cheese Crumbs, a cheesy alternative to breadcrumbs, serving up lunch every day with a cauliflower mac & cheese collab with Kevin’s.

Merit Functional Foods

Merit_Protein_Powder

Merit is giving attendees an exclusive opportunity to taste its 100% plant-based cookie dough protein bar concept, featuring non-GMO pea and canola protein, along with its protein-fortified, vegan dark chocolate coating and inclusions.

“As the largest natural and healthy products trade show in the world, Natural Products Expo West is a show that we’ve been waiting for,”​ said co-CEO Ryan Bracken.

“This will be our first year attending as exhibitors, and we’ve been looking forward to connecting with innovators in person so that we can collaborate to solve formulation challenges and, ultimately, help create the next generation of plant-based products.”

Since unveiling its pea and canola protein portfolio in 2019, Merit has fully commercialised the novel ingredients produced at its 94,000-square foot production facility. Today, however, it delivers more than just ingredients, focused on bringing consistency and reliability back to the supply chain.

“It’s no secret that the past two years have created challenges for the industry that none of us could have anticipated,”​ Bracken said.

“With that in mind, we built our company with measures in place to ensure that supply chain and capacity is paramount. As a solutions-based company, we continue to focus on concept innovation, leveraging the high functionality of our ingredients to help solve pain points for plant-based food and beverage manufacturers.”

The protein bar, including the chocolate coating and chunks, is made with Merit’s high purity Peazazz pea protein and Puratein C canola protein – boosting the nutritional profile to 20g of protein per serving and a soft texture. This proprietary protein solution offers a unique combination of functional and nutritional capabilities that allows for exceptionally soft plant-based protein bars with a significantly reduced rate of bar firming over time.

It is also sampling a ready-to-mix (RTM) protein powder, with 20g of plant protein per 26g serving. According to the company, the concept has superb solubility that enables it to solve the mouthfeel hurdles that often drive plant-based powders to rely on gums and thickeners.

Barnana

Website-Banana_is_life__Salty_Crunchy_Sweet_Delicious.

The longtime Expo West exhibitor is back, emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever.

The organic plantain and banana snack brand weathered the worst of the pandemic, doubling sales in two years, solidifying its commitment to its smallholder and indigenous farmers in the Amazon, enhancing supply chain reliability, introducing new products, and continuing to champion the upcycled food movement.

Barnana brought in CPG veteran Al Multari as CEO in September 2019 to scale and optimise the business, along with a team of other CPG experts with a combined 130 years of experience across all disciplines.

“It was time to go to the next level and bring in top talent with in-depth expertise in general management, sales, marketing and operations, so we hired Al Multari to lead the charge,”​ said founder Caue Suplicy, who started the business in 2012 with a homemade, dehydrated banana snack he ate growing up in Brazil.

“This leadership change proved a timely move as the pandemic quickly created unprecedented supply chain challenges and new consumer shopping and buying habits that we were able to respond to quickly.”

Barnana now works with more than 1,500 individual farming families in the Amazon with the goal to double that number in the next five years. Paying a 30% premium over market prices, it has helped its fruit growers increase their monthly income from an average of $80 to around $350 a month, while ensuring a steady fruit supply for its expanding portfolio.

In April, it plans to launch Organic Crunchy Plantain Nuggets. Its snacks can be found at Kroger, Costco, CVS, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Safeway across the US, as well as online and on Amazon.

BodyBar Protein

BodyBar Protein (1)

BodyBar Protein is showcasing its line of newly-launched clean, protein-based bars – in both vegan and non-vegan options – that deliver a strong lineup of nutrients. Available in three flavours, Apple Cinnamon, Sweet Cocoa and Chocolate Brownie, BodyBar ae powered by grass-fed whey, collagen peptides and plant-based protein.

BodyBar Protein was founded in 2021 by Ayarpi Reganyan, who struggled for years with inflammatory bowel disease (or ulcerative colitis). Combined with light exercise and a whole foods diet, Reganyan was able to get her health under control, even getting off the medication her doctors had prescribed – and vowed to help others.

“Feeling inspired, I worked with experienced food scientists and nutritionists, and we started experimenting with different clean, simple ingredients, flavours and proteins, and then BodyBar was born.”

BodyBar’s snacks made with clean ingredients, packed with protein (9g-12g) and fibre (8g-11g), are gluten-free, have zero added sugar and only natural flavours. Each is Certified Paleo or Certified Paleo Friendly by the Paleo Foundation.

Available for $35 per 10-count box direct-to-consumer nationwide, with a roll-out into retail to follow.

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