Lucire
The global fashion magazine September 22, 2023 

 

Power plant

BEAUTY “New or improved” only scratches the surface of what attendees discovered, tasted, and talked about at the 2023 Natural Products Expo (a.k.a. Expo West), according to Elyse Glickman and Amanda Satterthwaite
Photographed by the authors
From issue 47 of Lucire

 

 

Expo West Expo West Expo West Expo West Expo West

 

Creative energy ran high at Expo West 2023. You could feel it in the air, and see it among the larger numbers of attendees, estimated to run as high as 60,000 people a day during the show’s five-day run. It’s a given that all of the usual buzzwords (organic, sustainable, natural, pure, innovative) were again shouted from the rooftops, the show floors (especially in the North Hall, where exhibitors intentionally timed their product launches during Expo West), and the carnival-meets-street market outdoor areas with yoga classes, concerts, and food trucks.

If Expo West 2022 was all about the show being back on, 2023 was about producers, representatives, and entrepreneurs doubling down to generate a buzz for better environmental habits could potentially be the ultimate byproduct of all the launches and intros. While samples abounded as they have in the past, exhibitors worked separately and collaboratively to get attendees and interested consumers watching at home (via social media) excited about the ever-evolving relationship between innovation and sustainability.

Rather than specific product categories dominating the show (specialized water and nut beverages, guilt-reduced snacks, international flavours, plant-based meats, minimalist ingredient products), a “better for the earth, better for you” lifestyle theme set the feel-good mood and made the often-intense crowds bearable. Indeed, everybody was in good company.

 

The grateful med
The supplements section of Expo West would have impressed Willy Wonka, with its preponderance of gummies, jellybeans, chocolate truffles, and other nutrition-packed treats in every conceivable colour, shape, and packaging. Although the union of flavour, fun, and pragmatism among just-launched and existing natural health brands with new offerings furthered the incentive for consumers to get their nutritional fix, there were several serious rollouts that highlighted health innovation or the importance of rediscovering time-tested remedies to get better overall results.

• Lily of the Desert (lilyofthedesert.com): expanding interest and applications of the mighty alœ vera plant.

• Onnit (www.onnit.com): if looking and feeling good comes from the inside out, this company’s line argues everything begins with the mind.

• Promunel Ultra Performance Propolis (www.plthealth.com): this Italian company takes the ancient power of propolis and its 300 active compounds that protect bees in the hive, and puts it into a handy, immune-bosting spray.

• Truvani Plant Based Protein (shop.truvani.com): non-gmo, vegan composition, stylish packaging, and bake shop-inspired flavours power this line of protein powders and supplements. We can have our cake, and eat it, too!

• Utiva (www.utivahealth.com): while nobody likes discussing urinary tract health, everybody needs to take it seriously. This Canadian company makes the necessity easier to address and implement into our self-care routines with supplements for men and women, and test kits to keep track of things.

• Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets Rescue Plus and Rescue Pastiles (www.rescueremedy.com/en-us): the UK-based company’s pet and human anti-stress remedies never get old. However, the Rescue Pastiles add new flair and flavour to their formulas.

• Boiron Arnicare Arthritis Cream (www.boironusa.com): arnica and harpagophytum (devil’s claw) work together to reduce minor stiffness, soreness, and joint pain of arthritis without medicinal aromas or stickiness.

• US-based Honey Pot (thehoneypot.co) and UK-based Ah-Yes! (www.ahyes.org) show you don’t necessarily have to turn to a former movie star’s endorsement or pricey website to find modern, well researched products to show your “inner self” love and care.

 

Animal instinctive
This year, several pet food and nutrition companies followed the lead of their human-focused counterparts in becoming more inclusive. While dog owners (and retail catering to them) attending the show always have their day at Expo West, there were more sustainable offerings for cat owners and their allies on display this year, made with the same high-quality ingredients, sustainable methods, and research and development:

• Alzoo Calming Spray (alzoo-vet.com);

• Bundle & Joy (www.bundlexjoy.com);

• Tender & True (www.tenderandtruepet.com);

• Portland Pet Foods (www.portlandpetfoodcompany.com);

• I and Love and You (www.iandloveandyou.com).

continued below

 

Homing instincts
No matter how hungry you get at Expo West, with edible and drinkable temptations and tidbits at every turn, you cannot deny eye-catching cleaning products and home-improving gadgets have a siren song of their own. Although covid may linger, the appetite for a cleaner, more sanitary, better organized, and æsthetically pleasing living space has not gone away. While Mrs Meyer’s, Nellie’s, and other returning house cleaning favourites mixed nostalgia and 21st-century living concerns, a few newer lines (including some of this year’s NEXTY Awards’ winners) amped up that motivation.

• ChicoBag and To Go Ware (www.chicobag.com): one of the rock stars of the show, not only because of its many cheerful, durable, and customizable multi-use grocery, tote, and beach bags (made with recycled plastic bottles), but because all attendees could try it out themselves and fold it up into its pocket when they were done.

• Serene House (www.serenehouseusa.com): bring the spa home, aromatically and æsthetically with one of these affordable but beautifully crafted pieces and your favourite essential oil.

• Nine Elements (nine-elements.com): the ultimate less-is-more cleaning brand, with minimalist packaging and composition of nine or fewer ingredients.

• True Earth Laundry Detergent Sheets (www.tru.earth): one tiny sheet (or two, depending on the size of your laundry load) does it all. Bye bye bottles!

• Alaffia (www.alaffia.com): a multi-line collective featuring beauty, baby and home products made Fair Trade ingredients traditionally harvested and authentically crafted in its cooperatives in west Africa.

 

Global gold
Different food trends dominated in different years. In some years, Mexican food made a big presence while at other times, producers and distributors of Asian (South Korean, Japanese, and Indian) foods lured attendees to their booths with their aromas and the ever-widening palate of American consumers. Gluten-free, guilt-free, and plant-based were also back and spreading the word that eating well and eating right could be one and the same. However, the global expanse of offerings made the buffet really interesting and appealing this year.

• Eat Meati (meati.com): these meat substitutes taste just like meat, and are made from 95 per cent mushroom root protein, which grows underground. Absolutely crave-worthy. Animal-free, with the positive impacts on the environment that that entails.

• Dosa by Dosa (dosabydosa.com): a family-owned company creating memorable and delicious lassis and sauces.

• Origem (origemacai.com) hails from Brazil. The company offers açai, frozen fruits and gelato, and it’s the last one that really caught our attention. Some are dairy-free, with açai and guarana bases in five out of their six entries; different creams are added, namely peanut, cupua­çu, hazelnut, Greek yoghurt, and milk.

• Zyn (drinkzyn.com): an amazing range of wellness drinks founded by two brothers, Asim and Qasim Khan, who were inspired to create their range after witnessing how a natural remedy using turmeric helped their father. From there, they formulated a range of drinks using turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, mixing it with piperine to help with absorption. We were impressed by the positive back-story and how tasty and high-quality the drinks are.

• Tatemada (www.tatemada.com): Mexican salsas, chips, and condiments.

• Wyld CBD (wyldcbd.com): supplements, gummies, and drinks in garden fresh flavours.

• Mekhala Living (mekhalaliving.com): bringing your Asian restaurant and street food favourites to a better place—and not just your kitchen.

• Brooksmade Gourmet Foods (brooksmadegourmetfoods.com): the dawn of a better “new south” is in the hands of chef Walter Brooks, who developed this line of gourmet clean-label sauces empowering everybody to create delicious, soulful food in the comfort of their kitchens while helping cultivate the next generation of black entrepreneurs.

• Olyra (olyrafoods.com): delectable breakfast treats made from 100 per cent ancient Greek grains.

• Hawaiian Soda Co. (hawaiiansodaco.com) headlined the Hawai‘i pavilion with its naturally sweetened line of fruity prebiotic drinks blended with real island fruit and a touch of fizz.

Also must-haves from this year’s Expo West:

• Green Girl Bakeshop Plant Based Superfood and Icebox Treats (www.greengirlbakeshop.com);

• Wicked Kitchen (linktr.ee/Wicked2772);

• Pop Art Snacks (popartsnacks.com/products/pop-stars);

• MIA Green Foods’ Italian vegan charcuterie (www.miagreenfood.com);

• Pride of India Papadams (www.prideofindia.co/collections/papadum-lentil-crisps).

 

Calm, collected, and crunchy
Savor by Susie (savorbysuzie.com) was our personal best in show, not only for its delicious and perfectly crisp sweet and savoury gluten-free pretzels, but a back-story that embodies the reasons why any entrepreneurs should launch a business—anticipating the needs of the public and addressing current social issues while having a success story he or she can truly own. When Susie Carpenter’s daughter was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, celiac disease, and other food intolerances in 2000, the whole family bid goodbye to grain-based foods, but found the joy left with it. Susie hit the kitchen with a mission to create satisfying snacks without gluten, grains, GMOs, sugar, soy, dairy, nuts, or animal products. Hundreds of experiments and one serendipitous bakery partnership later, these grain-free pretzels more than meet the taste criterion, while bringing awareness to autism.

 

Chicago-landed
It’s always fun to spot childhood favourites from Elyse’s hometown (the Spice House, www.thespicehouse.com; Garrett Popcorn Shop, www.garrettpopcorn.com), but also gratifying to know they are made with conscientiousness and care. •

 

 

Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire, and co-founder of Lucire Rouge. Amanda Satterthwaite is a writer and photographer for Lucire.

 

 

 



 

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