Last year, 77,000 people sampled acai chocolates, turmeric popcorn, matcha teas and almond flour breads at Natural Products Expo West show, the world's largest trade event for natural brands. The four-day event returns beginning Thursday in Anaheim.
Carlotta Mast, executive director of content and insights at organizer New Hope Network, says popular trends in healthful food and drinks will continue to see "innovative refinement," such as drinking vinegars, jerky made from coconut meat and wellness bars incorporating mushrooms. Though the show itself is for the industry, the area outside the Anaheim Convention Center and its adjacent hotels has a street fair vibe with food trucks (Chobani, 4th and Heart) and prominent brands like Late July snacks, Stonyfield and Annie's encouraging passers-by to taste their new offerings.
Otherwise, look for these in the coming weeks.
Avoiding grains but miss the crunch of a tortilla chip? Coconut continues its reign over all things healthy. But now, it's being fashioned into a tortilla chip by the Real Coconut, a brand founded by holistic restaurateur and hotelier Daniella Hunter. Flavors include Himalayan pink salt, Thai green curry and chipotle barbecue. $3.99 at Whole Foods Market and www.therealcoconut.com
Protein-rich meat bars are a hot health-food trend: They're convenient, low-carb and paleo-friendly. New brand Wilde Boldr takes the idea further by slow roasting its grass-fed, free-range and uncured meats before turning them into ready-to-eat snacks. Options include Sweet Thai Basil and Peach BBQ. $2.49 at Whole Foods Market and Sprouts. wildebrands.com
The demand for plant-based everything continues, especially in products designed to replicate the texture and taste of dairy. Kite Hill employs a culturing protocol identical to that used in "real" dairy. The result: creamy, sweet yogurts in new flavors like key lime, caramel and pineapple. $1.99 to $5.69 at Whole Foods Market and Target. www.kite-hill.com
With their base of apple cider or coconut, Suja Drinking Vinegars makes drinks it says are a tangy and fruity way to boost gut health. The brand is soon to launch its new Guayusa Lemon flavor, adding to a recently unveiled stable that includes Lemongrass Lime and Grapefruit Jalapeno. $2.99 at Whole Foods Market and Target. sujajuice.com