The Natural Products Expo is the largest “natural” product industry trade show in the world, and it’s where many vegan companies go to reveal and showcase their latest innovations and products. At the most recent show—Expo West 2015—we were there tasting and documenting the thousands of vegan products on display.
We put together a video taking you with us as we explored the seemingly endless, multi-level Expo floor:
Expo West Field Trip
With thousands of exhibitors at the show, there was an overwhelming of vegan meats, cheeses, snacks, sweets, protein powders, cosmetics, and household products to explore. But we went through it all and identified the following five items as the “Best Of Vegan” at Expo West 2015:
1. Shelf-Stable Pulled Jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals
It’s exciting to see new flavors and varieties rise up in existing product categories (like vegan cheeses, ice creams, and veggie burgers). But the most exciting items at Expo are those that push boundaries. This is one of those products, exhibiting true innovation. After five years of development, Upton’s Naturals has created the first shelf-stable pre-seasoned pulled jackfruit in Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas flavors. It’s processed fresh (never canned) and made without preservatives. Plus, it’s soy-free, gluten-free, and even oil-free. Look out for it in stores this summer!
2. Frozen Vegan Cheesecake from Daiya Foods
Ahh, Daiya Foods. Just when I thought I’d tried it all at Expo West, I hit the most massive booth on the floor, with enough new products to keep me occupied for hours. I had heard rumors about their new line of vegan cheesecakes, but for the first time, I got to try them. They are phenomenal. And for those of you who don’t live around the corner from a vegan bakery, cheesecake will soon be accessible to your too at your local grocery. Plus, Daiya also released with shelf-stable macaroni and cheese and alfredo pasta dishes, as well as vegan greek yogurt!
3. Hazelnut Chocolate Spread from Endangered Species
I was having dinner with vegan cookbook author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau when she reached into her bag and told me to close my eyes, and handed me a spoonful of something. The second it hit our tongue, I knew what it was: Nutella! But wait—Nutella isn’t vegan, so what was this? Well, it’s the brand-new stunt double of Nutella made by Endangered Species Chocolate, and I can’t wait to try it out in a traditional crepe with banana, strawberries, and soy whip. Thank you Expo West!
4. Cashew Ice Cream from So Delicious
The innovation in the field of vegan ice cream has been exciting for the past several years. We’re now seeing creamy treats made from soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and more. But the latest and arguably most delicious is cashew-based ice cream. Cashews are fatty nuts that produce incredibly creamy milk, which is perfect for cheeses and ice creams. So Delicious just released a new line of cashew ice cream, and the flavors are incredible! Salted caramel cluster and snickerdoodle, anyone?
5. Field Roast Chao Cheese Slices & Follow Your Heart Cheese Slices
These cheeses were released around the same time and are very similar. But collectively they are hands-down the best vegan sliced cheeses on the market, and we are so thrilled that they are rapidly becoming available in stores.
Hungry for more? Here are the runners-up:
- Gardein Mini Crispy Crabless Cakes & Porkless BItes
- Next Organics Dark Chocolate Quinoa (Like Vegan Nestle Crunch Bars)
- Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (Yes, the dark chocolate ones are vegan even though they say “contain milk”—I confirmed with Justin himself! That’s just for allergy purposes because of shared equipment).
- Julie’s Original Brownie & Cake Mixes
- Cool Cups Vegan J-E-L-L-O