Oh, where to begin? It’s always a challenge narrowing down my “top” vegan moments at Expo West, the largest natural products expo in the world! New Hope Network produced another record-setting event this year, with over 80,000 attendees and loads of new vegan stuff!
The big consumer trends include a call for healthier food, and the desire to know the ethics behind the brand; what exactly are companies doing as they produce their products? Do they care about the world? The welfare of animals? Fair wages? Natural resources?
Consumers want to know exactly what they’re putting in – and on – their bodies; they are demanding transparency and they’re getting it.
#10 Ripple Dairy Free
Have you tried this yet? I love the vanilla version; it’s like dessert in a glass! So sweet and creamy! It’s made from peas, which is great for those who are allergic to soy or nuts.
It also has 8 grams of protein per serving (for those who worry about it; I don’t!) and over 50% more calcium than dairy milk. It’s packed with Vitamin D & Omega’s, too!
Not into sweets? Try their plain, unsweetened version.
#9 Good Karma Yogurt Won a Best of the West Award and a Nexty Award!
I love it when vegan products win awards, and this yogurt sure deserves them!
Have you tried their vegan drinkable yogurts? SO good! Reminds me of “kefir,” which I drank as a little kid, but this is much better!
Each yogurt has 5-6g of plant-based protein, 800mg Omega-3 healthy fats and seven live and active cultures in every serving. Good Karma products are packed with probiotics, too. And no baby calves were ripped away from their mamas to produce any of this! Dairy-free, as it should be!
If I were to list all of the wonderful vegans who attended Expo West 2017, it would take an entire blog post, and then some. Suffice it to say, they were out in droves, taking photos of all the yummy food and filling their bellies (as was I!).
Loved running into Chris Cooney’s arm (The Vegan Zombie!) and Laura VanZandt of the Herbivorous Butcher.
And I had a delightful chat with vegan cookbook author, Jackie Sobon of Vegan Yack Attack and caught up with all of my favorite plant based vendors, too!
#7 1st Anniversary Party for the Plant Based Foods Association
I was there for the launch last year, and I’m happy to report: it’s still going strong, y’all!
The Plant Based Food Association currently has 88 members. Hurray!
I love that so many companies are joining together to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace for businesses that sell plant-based foods.
Watch out, Big Ag! Don’t let the sharp vegan cheddar whack your booty on your way OUT. lol
I know, it’s hard to believe, but so many companies still use smushed bugs to color their products. As I mention in my new book, The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You, carmine and cochineal (from bugs!) are often used to color candy and beverages bright red. I’ve even found them in jam!
And until recently, Starbucks used smushed bugs to color their strawberry frappuccinos red. BLAH!
Thankfully, there’s a lot of cruelty-free options, including this one, spotted at Expo West, made by Watkins. They just use vegetable juices and spices. Hallelujah!
#5 More Vegan Pastas!
I never tire of eating pasta. Seriously, I could eat it for every meal. Just add a few veggies to it, and BAM, I am satisfied! That’s why I’m always delighted to see new vegan pastas at Expo West!
Particularly exciting this year is the debut of Lightlife’s Veggie Sausage Ravioli and Wild Mushroom Ravioli!
I remember having to read the entire ingredients list to see if there were any animal products in Lightlife products. Not anymore! This company has made the switch to 100% plant-based. Everything they make is now completely VEGAN.
#4 New Vegan Ham
Tofurky has a new vegan ham that they sliced into chunks, and skewered with bell peppers and pineapple, and then drenched the medley in a delicious, sweet beer glaze that comes along with the ham!
Sweet Earth Natural Foods has a new vegan “Harmless Ham,” too. Sweet and savory!
Both are super delish!
Too real for me, but perfect for those who still crave a big meaty burger! And what’s super cool is that Northern California Safeway stores just got these in stock, smack dab in the middle of the meat section!
Or as I call it… the morgue section.
I won’t be strolling down that aisle any time soon, but I know that’s where those who still eat animals shop, so I’m SUPER happy that a delicious vegan option will be right there.
Anything that makes it easier for folks to make the right choice is A-OK by me!
SO happy to see how popular these were at Expo West!
#2 “Vegan” Natural Flavors
Delighted to see that Daiya listed the word “vegan” in front of natural flavors!
Considering the fact that “natural” flavors can be from an array of animal products, including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the added term “vegan” really puts one’s mind at ease.
Sometimes “natural” can be pretty nasty! I sure wish all companies would divulge the source of their natural flavors (are they from plants? Or dead animal chunks?) instead of insisting it’s proprietary information.
Hopefully other companies will follow Daiya’s lead when it comes to transparency.
#1 MORE VEGAN EVERYTHING!!
I noticed more vegan products, and more vegans this year! And I noticed more general interest in all things vegan, too!
There were more vegan speakers, more vegan bloggers on the official Expo West “Blogging Team” and the Expo’s organizers even asked me to present an “Intro to the Vegan Lifestyle” webinar to New Hope Media’s target audience. Hundreds signed on to watch and learn!
Everyone is going vegan, sweet peas!! Thanks for another great year, Expo West!
Jackie Day, Author of the new book The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan) Check it out! It’s getting GREAT reviews!