Now that we have recovered from the overwhelming experience of attending Expo East, we wanted to call attention to a handful of companies that we believe are on the brink of something big. As we grazed our way around the expo floor, taking it all in, we sampled everything from shots of cold-brew coffee with butter, maple waters and functional probiotic beverages to spoonfuls of Icelandic yogurt (skyr), fermented honey and various nut butters like Maple-Date Cashew Butter.
After sifting through the countless aisles of products and talking to many eager and hopeful entrepreneurs, several inspirational companies rose to the top that are truly innovating and helping to launch entirely new categories. Here’s a special shout-out to those companies below:
Super Foods 2.0
We’ve been hearing some buzz around moringa, a product that comes from a tree native to Northern India, but also grows in Asia, Africa and Latin American. ME Moringa is new to the U.S. market and its products are available as a powder, tea and capsules. It has so many culinary applications, our heads were spinning. For example, the moringa powder can be added to orange juice, almond milk, coconut water and even salad dressings. It can be blended into smoothies, ice cream, sauces and soups; sprinkled into pasta, salads, and on vegetables; stirred into yogurt, chia pudding, and tea; and even baked into cakes, cookies and muffins. In addition to all the culinary applications, moringa provides high volumes of antioxidants and micronutrients, which can help your immune system, hair and skin, digestion, vision, muscle growth and serve as an energy booster.
Unique fruits, awesome tastes, and great for smoothies! Amafruits are easy to blend fruit purees made from Acai pulp that come from the Brazil Amazon. We loved that they were different from the typical fruits used in smoothies. For example, some fruits include cupuacu, goiaba, and graviola. While the names of these fruits didn’t quite roll off our tongues, they did make our taste-buds happy. The product was even packaged in convenient pouches for portion control.
Dear North, Wild Alaskan Salmon Bites are great for high-protein snacking with 11 grams of protein per serving and serves as a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. The Wild Coho Salmon is lightly smoked and infused with unique Alaskan flavors which are unique in their own right including flavor combinations like Savory Sea Kelp & Sesame, Spicy Fireweed Honey, Wild Alaska Spruce, and Salted Rhubarb & Raspberries.
In a word, delicious! This was such an unexpected application for oatmeal. Who would think of making a savory dish such as jambalaya with oatmeal as the star ingredient? Grainful features eight chef-inspired frozen entrees made from 100% whole-grain steel cut oats.
Greek yogurt, watch out! B’More Organic’s products offer a higher protein and lower sugar content than most Greek yogurts do. Their main difference is that these are portable, drinkable smoothies with unique flavors like Mango Banana and Caffe Latte. You may have heard of Siggi’s, also made of skyr, which has a cult-like following. Well, B’More Organic has the potential to attract a similar loyal following as well.
Tiny But Mighty Popcorn
Snacking has become the norm for millions of consumers and popcorn still reigns supreme as a healthier-for-you snack option. There were what seemed to be hundreds of popcorn brands showcased on the expo floor, but we are now obsessed with a brand called Tiny But Mighty. Not only will it not get caught in your teeth, but it is more easily digestible than other popcorns. This is particularly noteworthy for the millions of Americans who suffer from digestive conditions. Their little heirloom seed creates tiny hulls that virtually disintegrate when popped which prevents them from getting stuck in your teeth, throat or digestive tract. Thank you Tiny But Mighty Popcorn!
Better-For-You Ice Cream
Packed with protein and fiber, this product uses erythritol and monk fruit to keep the sugars and calories low. This category is exploding on retail shelves across the nation, especially among Millennials. We tasted many of their flavors and it was by far one of the creamiest when compared to others. When it comes to Halo Top, Enlightened is going to give it a run for its money. Disclaimer: This was already one of our favorite products – and now we know that the founders are equally as delightful!
Where have you “bean” all my life? This trail-blazing brand has reinvented the pasta category as “Pasta 2.0”. Banza aspires to be the Chobani of this category. Protein and fiber-rich, this pasta contains only four ingredients: Chickpeas, Tapioca, Pea Protein and Xanthan Gum.
This protein-packed pasta, made from a combination of lentils, rice and pea protein, provides your body with a source of complete protein. Its kid-friendly flavors are perfect for easy weeknight family meals including dishes like Cheese & Broccoli and Creamy Alfredo. Modern Table meal kits are more nutritious than your average pasta dish.
Although our bellies were full by the end of each day, it was all in the spirit of “research” and well worth each and every sip, nibble and nosh.
Were you at Expo East in Baltimore this year? Share your favorite food and beverage products with us in the comments section. We’d love to hear your thoughts!