When it comes to natural foods, we’re always up for trying anything new. We’ve been vegetarian since age 11, and adore anything soy-based and pesticide free. However, we also have more vices than Lindsay Lohan (thought not anything dangerous, of course). So we were a little intimidated to visit the Natural Products Expo East, held last week at the Boston Convention Center. A gigantic trade show of natural food, home and body products, and everything else under the sun, it would have taken an entire day to cover the whole area. It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you get lost in IKEA. Translation: Overwhelming.
Since we went as MenuPages roving reporter, we went straight to the food section, and it was definitely a feast for the stomach and the eyes. The brilliant company Clif Bar, which makes our favorite Luna Bars, the delicious chocolate-y health bars designed for women and packed with nutrients, had a gigantic stand that featured their new children’s bars and fruit snacks. They taste just as good as the typical Gushers/Fruit by the Foot/Fruit Roll Up type goodies you put in your children’s lunch bag, except completely healthy and packed with vitamins. Luna is also coming out with a line of cookies, which were equally delicious. After 5 o’clock they brought out the Clif Bar brand wine, which we didn’t even know existed. However, it’s not yet available in our area, so stick with the Charles Shaw for now. Kidding.
A lot of the brands featured at Expo East are available in your local Whole Foods grocery store. For example, Tofurky is a meatless product that makes delicious “sausages” and “chicken”. As a long time fan, we swear some people wouldn’t even notice the difference if it was put on their plate. But once they hear the words “fake meat” they run for the hills. Nasoya makes great tofu in different flavors, and we were thrilled with their strawberry smoothies made from strawberry flavored tofu. While tofu is one of those items that many people cringe at, we can’t even begin to describe its versatility and health benefits. However, their dip for chips was so overly salty that even we were running for the hills. Luckily we ran into the Kikkoman booth. Now, we know you’re thinking, Kikkoman? The soy sauce people? Yes, that’s them. But they now also make a variety of salsas, and surprisingly, soy milk in flavors such as vanilla and coffee. Delicious!
We have to give a shout out to the lovely people who run Cedar’s, a delicious and widely available company from here in Massachusetts. We told them of our rapid hummus consumption, and they were so friendly and adorably Greek. Another surprise booth was Kaweka, a company from New Zealand. Kaweka is all meat, and the man tried to serve us venison before we gasped in horror. However, their sister company Cyclops is a delicious frozen yogurt worth a try. Honestly, we’re just suckers for men with New Zealand accents.
Other stand out companies included Ciao Bella, the popular gelato and sorbet company. Their chocolate is gelato is delicious, but we weren’t daring enough to try their new flavor, Chocolate Jalepeno. Also present was Ito En, the number one Green Tea company in Japan. Sold almost everywhere Japan, we pretty much carried their dark green tea around with us everywhere when we traveled through the country.
One of our favorite hangover helpers, Emeregen-C, had a gigantic lounge with buckets of samples. Don’t even think we didn’t steal as many as we could get! We tolerate the raspberry flavor for the Vitamin C jolt, but we’re never going back since there’s a new acai berry flavor. It’s a smooth taste and a great way to get your daily vitamins, not to mention help kill a hangover.
Overall, we wish we could have stayed longer and checked out the entire show, but that would have taken days. So if you’re a natural food lover, or someone who thinks anything that’s labeled “organic” tastes like foot, believe us when we say there are some great options out there that can be healthy and delicious.
Natural Products Expo East [Official Site]
[Photo: Megan Johnson]