Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 10 Vegan Products at Natural Products Expo West 2016

This past weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center to scope out all the new vegan goodies coming out this year! I attended last year (check out my report!) and the year before (read all about it here), and every year has gotten bigger and bigger, with each show having more and more vegan options!

This year I was only able to attend for one day, but I tried to visit as many vegan and vegan-friendly booths as possible. It was fun seeing so many old favorites, seeing new vegan food items, and visiting with many of my favorite vegan people and companies! Though I had a whirlwind day, I feel like I covered a lot of ground in eight hours on the show floors and can bring you my top 10 favorite vegan food products from the Expo, plus some honorable mentions.

Not all of these are yet available in stores or in the U.S., but I've included expected dates of when they should hit shelves when at all possible. For more info, keep an eye on the companies' websites or social media accounts!

The Spooky Vegan's Top 10 Vegan Products at Natural Products Expo West 2016

1. Gardein's Breakfast Pockets - At this year's Expo, Gardein unveiled their Meatless Pepperoni Pizza Pockets, various skillet meals (Chick'n Florentino Pasta, Italian Rigatoni [my fave of the skillet meals I tasted], Chick'n Fiesta, Asian Chick'n Fried Rice), and their Vegan Scramble Breakfast Pockets. All of the new products were delicious, but the Breakfast Pockets were my fave of the Expo! They are filled with Gardein's own meatless sausage, cheddary shreds (I believe they said it was Daiya), vegan scramble (made from Follow Your Heart's VeganEgg), red peppers, and spinach. It was so flavorful and tasty! I could eat it for breakfast every day. However, we will have to wait until September 2016 for the Breakfast Pockets and Skillet Meals to hit stores, though the Pepperoni Pockets are in stores now. For more info, visit Gardein's website!

2. Miyoko's Creamery European Style Cultured VeganButter - This product won a Nexty Award at the Expo for being an innovative product that represents the best of natural foods, and for good reason! It tastes so rich and creamy, like old-fashioned butter straight from the farm, only without the cruelty and unhealthiness! I seriously kept going back to Miyoko's booth just to grab more of this incredible butter spread, which was amazing spread on a simple piece of bread. It is hitting stores now, so keep an eye out for it! Also, Miyoko's Fresh VeganMozz was phenomenal as well (they were serving it on a to-die-for pizza), but I've bought that in stores already so I didn't include it here! You can order both (and her incredible cheeses) online via Miyoko's website

3. Upton's Naturals' "The Classic" Burger - There are so many vegan burgers on the market now that it is tough to make a lasting impression with a new one, but Upton's did just that at Expo with their new vegan burger patties! These have been served at their Upton's Breakroom cafe for quite some time now, and turned out to be so popular that they decided to start offering them nationwide. They are made with seitan and eggplant, and were delectable! The burger patty was perfectly moist, thick, and juicy! They had a wonderful flavor, too, especially served up on burger buns dressed simply with ketchup and mustard. These will be hitting stores in the Midwest first, then will spread to other regions at a date yet to be determined (though hopefully soon!). Learn more at Upton's website

4. Violife's Blu Cheese - Ok, all of Violife's cheeses are beyond fantastic (but currently only available in Europe, boo, though they do make Follow Your Heart's and Field Roast's cheeses), but this year they rolled out their Blu cheese that tastes SO similar to what I remember dairy bleu cheese tasting like! When I spoke to them, they said they SHOULD be rolling this (and all their other vegan cheese) out in the U.S. in the next couple of months. Fingers crossed it happens this year!!! More info can be had via Violife's website

5. I Heart Keenwah's Chocolate Puffs - This is one of the products I was highly anticipating trying at Expo, and it did not disappoint! I Heart Keenwah makes crunchy sweet and savory snacks out of quinoa, and their newest product is their Chocolate Puffs, which come in Dark Chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. I am a PB fiend, so the Peanut Butter flavor was my jam! Their Chocolate Puffs reminded me of Milk Duds from my pre-vegan days, swoon! I Heart Keenwah also makes savory puffs in four different flavors, three of which are vegan (the Herbes de Provence, Sweet Chili, and Sea Salt Truffle). Their cheddar is not vegan, but they are reformulating it so that soon it will be! Out of the savory puffs I tried, I loooooved the Sweet Chili! Both the sweet and savory puffs were yummy, and I could have eaten a whole bag of them. These should be available in health food stores now or very soon. You can learn more at I Heart Keenwah's website!

6. Milkadamia Macadamia Milk - There were so many vegan milks and beverages debuting at Expo, and while I tried many this past weekend, this one by Milkadamia definitely stood out! It was rich and creamy while not being overly heavy. The mouth-feel was really smooth and silky, and the taste was light and lovely! They have several different flavors (unsweetened, sweetened, etc.), and they should be hitting health food stores sometime soon. For more info, check their Facebook!

7. Vegetarian Plus Soy Jerky - I have a fondness for good vegan jerky, so I was stoked to find that Vegetarian Plus (that already makes yummy vegan meats) had a new line of soy-based jerky in a multitude of flavors! The soft yet chewy consistency of these was spot-on, and I loved how they were more moist than other vegan jerky products on the market. I cannot wait until I can found these in stores - no word when these may hit shelves yet. No website for them since theirs has been hacked (and not fixed) for quite some time now - they really need to fix that. 

I was too busy eating to take a photo, so I had to borrow this one from Nada Moo's Instagram!

8. Nada Moo's That Snickerdoodle Dough Ice Cream - Nada Moo debuted four new flavors of vegan ice cream this weekend - Salted Caramel, Pistachio Nut, That Snickerdoodle Dough, and Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie. All of them were phenomenal and it was tough to pick a favorite, but ultimately my favorite was That Snickerdoodle Dough. It was the perfect amount of creaminess with a sweet cinnamon flavor, studded with bits of delectable cookie dough! Nada Moo will soon be available at Whole Foods, where you will be able to pick up this fabulous flavor (though you can't go wrong with any of them!). Find out more via Nada Moo's website!

9. Beanfields Jalapeño Nacho Bean and Rice Chips - I love Beanfields, and appreciate how they've kept their products vegan! They always have the yummiest flavors, and these brand new Jalapeño Nacho chips are no exception! They have just the right amount of spicy kick and cheesiness to keep me wanting to munch on them. And they were just so darn flavorful, and kinda tasted like spicy Doritos, but, you know, healthier and vegan! Beanfields also unveiled two other new flavors - Black Bean with Sea Salt and White Bean with Sea Salt, which are yummy as well. Look for these in stores now - you can find more info on Beanfields' website.

10. Daiya's Creamy Caesar Dressing - To be honest, I wasn't too terribly excited that Daiya was unveiling new salad dressings. I mean, salad dressing isn't that exciting, right? Turns out I was wrong! Daiya sampled their three new salad dressings, which are Homestyle Ranch, Creamy Caesar, and Blue Cheeze, and I am pretty enamored of their Caesar! The other ones were so-so, but the Caesar really blew me away. I'm not sure when it will hit stores, but soon I hope! I also really liked their meatless pepperoni pizza they debuted as well! Find more info on Daiya's website!

Honorable Mentions

There were too many good things I tried to limit to just 10, so here are some of my other favorites from Expo!

Clockwise from top left: These Fermented Vegan Protein Bars from Genuine Health were pretty tasty, especially since I love incorporating fermented foods into my diet; Sir Kensintgon's Fabanaise is vegan mayo made from aquafaba - it was nicely tangy and fluffy; Dandies came out with new Peppermint flavored marshmallows that will be hitting stores next holiday season; Follow Your Heart introduced their new gluten-free tortillas; Buenatural had a vegan tamale that was quite tasty; Follow Your Heart also had new gluten-free bread, Brioche, Millet, and Oat, that was really delicious!

Clockwise from top left: Califia Farms introduced refreshing new drinks, including Matcha and Cali Coco flavors that were creamy and invigorating; I got to try So Delicious' new ice cream flavor in Chocolate Cookies 'n' Cream, which was (duh) delicious; Sophie's Kitchen debuted Vegan Seafood Jambalaya and Vegan Lobster Mac and Cheese - my fave was the jambalaya, as it had fantastically spicy flavor; I sampled the Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk from Nature's Charm and was stunned how milky it tasted - can't wait to make vegan Thai iced teas with this; Tofurky unveiled new pizzas, and my fave was their new Chick'n BBQ with Roasted Corn; finally, the Dark Chocolate with Blackberry Sage from Endangered Species was such a lovely, unique flavor!

If you went to Expo this year, what were your favorite finds?

Which of these products are you most excited about?


  1. Thanks for the great round-up! It's always fun to see what new products are coming on the scene. I have an unopened package of Miyoko's butter waiting for me in the refrigerator. I am glad to know it's a hit!

    1. Ooooh drool!! I need to track some is SO TASTY!

  2. Great stuff! Was there anything new from Beyond Meat? and was Hampton Creek there?

    1. It was paradise! Unfortunately nothing new from Beyond Meat this year, though they did have a booth and were serving up their burgers with the Sir Kensington vegan mayo! And it looks like they will be re-branding their packaging. Hampton Creek did not have a booth there this year - they were at SXSW. They have a ton of new products hitting the market - I wish they had been there so I could have tried them!

  3. I'm so excited that the US will be getting VioLife soon, it's SO good! And interesting to know that they make the FYH and Field Roast cheeses, I thought they had similar gestures / flavour profiles when I tried them. Because I can already get VioLife I'm most excited about the pistachio nada moo and Miyoko's butter. I'm super excited to see a delicious palm oil free vegan butter option hitting the shelves, maybe we'll see one in Europe soon!

  4. Have you ever had jerky from Louisville Vegan Jerky? It's the absolute best! And they have a jerky of the month club.

    1. Yes, I have! They are delicious, but I think I like the ones from Vegetarian Plus even better!


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