MGU 23 | Winter Fancy Food Show

 

The Winter Fancy Food Show is an annual event that brings up-and-coming food brands to the forefront. There’s so much to see at these trade shows, so you will want a guide who can help you navigate through that labyrinth of brands you might not have heard of. Whitney Lauritsen goes solo to discuss the brands that she and Jason Wrobel enjoyed at the Winter Fancy Food Show. New discoveries abound—especially sustainable alternatives and vegan foods. This is a delicious discussion you’re not gonna want to miss!

Listen to the podcast here:

Brands To Look Out For From The 2020 Winter Fancy Food Show

This is a solo episode and it’s about the Winter Fancy Food Show, which is an annual event that happens in San Francisco. Jason and I have attended the past years and wanted to share some of the exciting food discoveries and a few drinks there. What I’m going to talk about is some of the incredible products that we tried out. If you didn’t know this about me, this pertains to Jason as well, but for me in particular, I am a big foodie and I also love beverages. I like beverages even more than I like food. I get so excited to try any new food products. I love going to trade shows like the Winter Fancy Food Show to see what’s new and exciting plus to be able to connect with the people that make the food. I do a lot of product recommendations. I’ve been doing product reviews since the very beginning of my career when I started Eco-Vegan Gal in 2008. It was almost entirely about product recommendations.

I did do a lot of ecofriendly tips and tricks, but I got passionate about reviewing restaurants and reviewing all the different food. This has been ongoing for several years of my career. These food shows are wonderful because instead of having to go and buy all the new products that come out, you can go try them before you buy them and talk to the people that make the foods to ask lots of questions. I take it upon myself to not only be able to recommend things but also to find out the details, find out the stories behind the products. I’m going to share with you some of the products that Jason and I tried out at the show, our highlights I went through and I couldn’t even keep track of how many products I’m about to share with you. I would say maybe 30-ish.

One thing that we’ve done before we started this show was to do live videos of us going through and talking about the products and those have always been long videos. I think people have enjoyed them, but doing it through a blog is a much better medium. I will link to the old videos if you want to see me and Jason reviewing and showing products that we’ve tried at Fancy Food Show and Natural Products Expo, which is another big trade show. A lot of these products are available nationally throughout the US. Some of them might have an easier time ordering them online and some of them are available outside the US. I always feel a little bit bad when I talk about products that people can’t get all around the world. The good news is that brands like this are starting to get wider distribution and this is one of the reasons that they participate in shows like the Fancy Food Show.

The Fancy Food Show Is An Annual Event

First, let me start with a little bit of context. The Fancy Food Show is an annual event. It happens twice a year, once in San Francisco in January and once in New York City in June. I have been to the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco three times. I’ve been to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York once and it’s amazing. At the Winter Fancy Food Show, there were 80,000 specialty foods and beverages, thousands of new products. This was a three-day event. In the past, I felt like I didn’t need much time there. This feels like a relatively small show, believe it or not, because I’ve been going to the Natural Products Expo for a long time.

Fancy Food Show felt smaller to me in the past, but now it felt big. I was there for about two days total and I know for a fact I still missed some products. You walk around the show and you stop at all these different booths where the brand is set up and you talk to the representatives and you try the food. It sounds like heaven. If you’re a foodie like me, it truly is heaven. There aren’t as many beverages there as I would like, but there are increasingly more and more brands coming. The purpose of these shows is mainly for these brands to get exposure to stores and distributors. In order to get into a store, they have to basically go through all these different processes and people need to try their products and figure out if it’s the right fit for the store.

I feel like that’s been one of the biggest aims, but over the years, these shows have also been great for these brands to get press. Jason and I are considered press because we do a lot of online content. We have this podcast plus we have our websites. We have Wellevatr.com. I have WhitneyLauritsen.com and EcoVeganGal.com. Jason has JasonWrobel.com. We have all of our social media platforms. He’s @JasonWrobel. Together, we’re @Wellevatr. I have @EcoVeganGal and @WhitLauritsen. We do a lot of content across the web and over time, we’ve started to be considered press as a result. I think a lot of these brands are looking for more exposure and this works into their marketing plan, which is why they participate in shows like this.

If you’re wondering if you could go to a show like this, it depends on what you do. These trade shows, meaning Fancy Food Show, as well as the Natural Products Expo, those are considered industry events. They’re close to the public. You cannot buy tickets to go to them. You have to be part of the industry. Jason and I are part of the industry because we work as press and we do all this online content. If you do that as well or if you’re traditional press such as a journalist and anybody who creates content, depending on how it’s published, you can get into these shows. You could even be like a YouTuber or something and get in. As long as you’re helping promote this industry, you could potentially qualify to get into these shows.

MGU 23 | Winter Fancy Food Show

Winter Fancy Food Show: Food shows are wonderful because instead of having to go and buy all the new products, you can try them before you buy them, and talk to the people that make the food.

 

You can go to the Fancy Food Show website, the Natural Products Expo website and there’s other trade shows too that I don’t attend and you can apply. They review your credentials and they decide if you’re the right fit for this. If you do not work in the industry like Jason and I do, there are similar events that you can go to. I’m saying this because as I get into all these products and talk about the experiences, what I’ve noticed over the years of attending these trade shows is a lot of people start to feel a little envious. I don’t want you to feel envious of this because you can buy all these products and our aim here is to help you make those decisions about what you want to buy.

You also might want to go to similar events. The number one thing that you could do is to go to festivals. A lot of the brands that I mentioned participate in festivals as well. These could be any festivals related to wellness, veganism, health or to fitness. You can go to the farmers’ markets. Usually, that’s going to be a smaller brand that might not fit into the category of these big trade shows, but you can still try a lot of things at events like that. My recommendation is if this sounds fun to you, is to look for the events that are open to the public, whether they’re free or ticketed, or for you to start working in the industry like Jason and I do. We’ve been each doing this for over several years and it’s a lot of work. It’s not necessarily the simplest thing, but social media influence is being taken more and more seriously. If you start to develop a following and create a brand around yourself, you too could apply as a press for these events.

The Fancy Food Show feels so much bigger now. Click To Tweet

Let’s dive into the products. I’ve organized them into a few different categories. The biggest category here is the sweets. There are a lot of sweet treats and there are snacks. I have dairy alternatives. I’ll mention the sweet dairy alternatives, like the ice creams and the sweet section, but I’m separating out the milk and the cheese alternatives. I have a section for meals, which is the type of products that you could use to create a meal or center a meal around. I have a couple of drinks mentioned. Lastly, I’m going to talk about low-carb and keto products. If you didn’t know this about me, I have been doing a low-carb diet since August 2018 and I came out with a cookbook called The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Cookbook. I’m very passionate about seeing the rise of vegan and keto products.

First and foremost, I want to give a shout-out to two brands that have been supportive of Wellevatr. Number one is LAIKI Crackers. They gave us their delicious gluten-free rice crackers for our podcast launch event and we’ve been working on doing either an episode or a video around that. There are a lot of things coming up so you’ll see us talking about LAIKI. They are some of our favorite crunchy snacks and we saw them at the show. They were so grateful to be part of the podcast. I thought, “What better way to start off this list of amazing products and to talk about them.” They came out with some new flavors. They have four flavors in total. My favorite flavor, if I had to choose, is their cheddar flavor. They also have this red rice with cracked black pepper. They have two red rice flavors and then two black rice flavors. The black rice is the vegan cheddar flavor that I love. They’re all equally good. They have little subtle differences between the different flavors. I highly recommend them and they’re passionate about their ingredients, which is important to me. They have simple ingredients and I love what they stand for.

The other company we wanted to give a big shout-out to is Miyoko’s. They make incredible dairy-free products and we have an episode coming up with the owner and Founder Miyoko herself. It was one of our favorite episodes ever. Miyoko’s came out with a couple of products that we’re excited about. I love everything they make. They have phenomenal cheeses. They’ve great butter and they expanded their butter line to include an oat milk-based butter. As you’ll see, oat milk is an ongoing theme in new products. It has been growing in popularity over the years. Miyoko’s oat milk butter is so delicious and creamy, especially the garlic Parmesan butter. It is outstanding. It’s instant garlic bread if you put it on top of the bread. It’s so delicious.

They also have a Pepper Jack Cheese. Get ready because those will be in stores soon. I should mention that some of these products will be in stores right away. In fact, I went to Whole Foods in Los Angeles and saw some of these products on the shelves already, but some of them take some time. I know that a number of products take a few months after they debut at a trade show and some of them take like six months or even a year. Sadly, some products never make it to market or they might be very limited in distribution. I recommend reaching out to a brand and asking them a few questions. You can ask them, “When is this product going to be available? I heard about it from Whitney and Jason and I want to try it.” They can tell you all of those details that we don’t know. You can ask where they’re available and they’ll give you specific lists. I found that a lot of brands have pretty limited information on their website in terms of availability. I want to encourage you to ask a lot of questions before you go to the store looking for something, especially if you’re going to get your hopes up.

Lastly, once you get the information from that brand, another thing you can do is to ask your local stores to carry that product. Depending on the distribution of that product, you might be able to put in a request for them to get it in. This food industry is fascinating and also more complicated than you might realize in terms of how things become available and all of that. Get as much information as you can. Social media is one of the best ways to get information like this. You can go onto a brand’s Instagram account and send them a direct message or go into their Facebook account and do the same thing. It’s an easy way to reach them. If you don’t get a response there, then go onto their website and find their support email address or even their phone number, if you want to call them.

That’s my shout-out to LAIKI and Miyoko’s. Miyoko’s not only was amazing in terms of coming on our podcast for a future episode, but they also provide products for our podcast launch party. They are wonderful partners in our celebration. I’m going to start with the sweets because why not? I thought about like, “Should I save the sweets for last?” I naturally started to put them into categories and the sweets were at the top, so why not? That’s also the biggest, most exciting category in my opinion. These are in no particular order. Most of the products are based on when I ended up trying them. To give you some more context and visual at these trade shows, there are rows of booths lined up and you go from booth to booth.

The Biggest Category: Sweet Treats

Luckily because otherwise, it’d be overwhelming. Jason and I are both plant-based, so we didn’t go to every single booth. We probably went to 100 or 200 booths, which are still a lot. Considering that there are over a thousand booths there, it’s overwhelming. There was a lot of walking. We walked at least three miles a day and burned off a lot of the calories from all the food that we’re eating. The first one I want to give a shout-out to is Renewal Mill who makes these interesting flour-based products, especially their vegan soft-baked cookies. They are made out of okara flour. Apparently, this is flour that fights climate change and I have not researched them much since I tried their products. They’re an eco-friendly flour and something more unique.

They’re helping reduce global food waste by upcycling okara into a nutritious, versatile flour that’s better for you and the planet, which is awesome. Their soft bake cookies were delicious. You can go onto their website. On their website, they say, “Okara is soy milk’s sustainable sibling. It’s a delicious superfood harvested from the pulp of organic soybeans that are created during soy milk production.” They probably told me that at the show, but I forgot and that’s cool. I do recommend visiting all the links because you can learn a lot of interesting things by going to each of these brand’s websites.

Next up, there were a number of delicious chocolate, so let’s get into that sub-category of sweets. The first one is Hemp Love and they make delicious chocolates out of hemp seeds. They had a number of different flavors. The standout flavor for me was their Lavender Salt and Hemp Seed Crunch. If you like floral flavor as much as I do, you should definitely give this a try. It’s fairly rare to find chocolate that has floral notes in it, like lavender, but it is a phenomenal combination. There’s another company called Vgan. They had a line of vegan chocolates that were lovely.

Pocket Latte is a brand that I’d tried before and I don’t think that they had any new products, but I did feel like they were worth mentioning because they’re pretty original. I go to all these trade shows and I try a lot of products and you’ll see some things where there seems like there are a lot of similar products out there. Pocket Latte is still pretty unique. They make chocolates that have coffee in them. It sounds like it’s a latte in your pocket. The idea is to have a coffee anywhere, anytime. It’s ready to eat coffee. What’s interesting about it is that it’s very sweet and chocolate-like. They have a few different flavors.

Half of them are vegan. My favorite one is the hazelnut. That one is vegan and I love hazelnut coffee. It’s delicious. Their whole aim is to give you a caffeine boost, boost your productivity, make it quick and convenient. Apparently, if you do the cost comparisons, they can be cheaper than drinks at your local coffee shop. Three out of the four of their flavors are vegan. I wouldn’t say that it’s a replacement for coffee. Because if you drink coffee as I do, I like the experience of drinking a warm coffee or an iced coffee. This is very similar to having some chocolate that happens to have coffee in it, but their aim is to give you an alternative, which I thought was nice.

This is where the expense gets affordable because they come in these little square bars and each bar has four square pieces that you can snap off and apparently one square is one coffee. I had some on my drive back from San Francisco to LA and I ate the entire bar. They also have a lavender vanilla flavor. I wonder if that’s also vegan. I can’t remember if I tried that or not, but that’s cool to see. Next up is Endangered Species Chocolate, which has been around for such a long time. You’ve probably had their chocolate before if you’ve tried dark chocolates. I love that they have a good mission behind them.

Endangered Species supports conservation efforts for endangered species and habitats. It’s very straight forward. They’ve donated $1.4 million. I like them because they have a wide variety of products. They’re fairly easy to find. You can find them in tons of stores. They’re affordable and the reason that I wanted to mention them is that they have some oat milk-based chocolate bars. This is a theme number of oatmeal products coming up. I love those brands, especially chocolate brands are using oat milk because it’s a great alternative to cow dairy. It’s also very creamy and a lot of brands are finding it a lot easier to make vegan options because of how versatile oat milk is.

Speaking of milk, there were a number of amazing plant-based ice creams available. What was interesting to me is the number of dairy-based, traditional ice cream companies that are offering plant-based dairy-free options. The first one is this company called O’MY and they make gelato. They’ve had dairy-free gelato for a while, but they offer a low-sugar. It only has two grams of sugar. It did not qualify as keto and fully low-carb, but it is much lower in sugar than there are other gelatos, which I thought was cool. There’s another brand called Humphry Slocombe. I’m not sure about their availability. I know them because I used to live in San Francisco and I’m fairly certain they’re a San Francisco-based company. They have dairy-free ice cream. What I thought was neat about them is they call it Vegan by Accident. I recall there was some controversy with Humphry Slocombe. I think they put bacon in their ice cream and all the vegans got upset. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that sounds familiar. That happened many years ago and it’s cool that they have delicious ice cream.

MGU 23 | Winter Fancy Food Show

Winter Fancy Food Show: Sadly some products at these shows actually never make it to market or they might be very limited in distribution.

 

There’s also the brand called Alden’s, which has dairy-free ice creams as well and I love their double strawberry flavor. Maybe my favorite ice cream at the show was Eclipse and they call it Cowlessly Creamy soft serve. I’m excited about this because they’re going to start serving their soft serve at this great little LA-based hamburger shop. It’s entirely vegan. It’s a little fast food restaurant that specializes in vegan burgers and they are going to start selling their soft serve there, which I thought was interesting. It’s called Honeybee. They had been selling their own soft serve for a while, which I thought was quite good, but this Eclipse soft serve is so phenomenal. It’s one of the best vegan soft serves I’ve ever had. It was so creamy. I think it was a swirl of chocolate and vanilla and there’s something about this brand that made me feel happy. That was one of my favorite sweet treats at the entire Fancy Food Show and I cannot wait to have it again at Honeybee. You can go to Honeybee if you’re in LA or if you’re going to visit LA. If not, go check out Eclipse on social media or visit their website and see if they might be available in another restaurant near you.

Another ice cream I liked is from a brand called Enlightened. They specialize in low-calorie ice creams. They have a dairy-free ice cream that’s only 100 calories. A lot of brands are making their entire pint low-calorie so that you can feel less guilty. Halo Top started or spearheaded the movement, meaning you could have the entire pint of ice cream and it’s only a few hundred calories. I don’t recall off the top of my head if Enlightened is 100 calories per serving or per pint, but regardless of their dairy-free Monkey Business ice cream was lovely. It’s 100 calories per serving and it’s six grams of sugar per serving. It’s not fully low carb but low calorie and delicious. A lot of these brands are not going to be known as healthy snacks, but these are all plant-based snacks and it’s all about moderation. I’m a big proponent for low carb or sugar-free. The reason I don’t fully identify as keto in my life is that I like being able to try things like this and not worry too much about counting the calories or the sugar content. I’m a big believer in moderation and balance and Jason is too.

A couple more ice creams, one of them is Van Leeuwen. They started off in New York City. They’re pretty big out in Los Angeles. I’m not sure in between the coast where else they’re available, but they do have pints of ice cream and they launched an oat milk variety of their ice creams. They were using either cashew or coconut in the past and they’ve always had phenomenal vegan ice cream options. In fact, if you go into any of their stores, about half their menu is vegan and they even have vegan toppings and they’re very creative with their ingredients. That was exciting to see that they’re adding oat milk to the line. There were a couple of bars and ice cream pops that I liked. One is from this brand called Dream Pops. Jason and I have been a fan of them for a few years. They’re easily available in Los Angeles. You can get them at markets like Erewhon and maybe the co-op has them. Co+opportunity is a great store in Los Angeles.

There’s a chain of restaurants that’s vegan-friendly called Sweetfin. It’s a poke restaurant. It’s a fast-food chain in LA. I don’t know if they’re available outside of LA, but they have a good vegan poke. Instead of fish, they have sweet potato and edamame or tofu. They also carry the Dream Pops there for dessert. That’s how Jason and I were introduced to them a few years ago. We love them. What’s cool about Dream Pops is that they add in all sorts of superfoods, mushroom powders, and things. You’re getting a little bit more than just a sweet treat. They’re also low in sugar. I would say out of a lot of these brands that I’ve mentioned, Dream Pops may be thought of as the most nutritious or the healthiest option.

Some brands are extremely passionate about their ingredients, which is important. Click To Tweet

The other one that’s good in terms of ingredients is called Roots. It’s a frozen dessert, no sugar added and about 90 calories. There are little bars of ice cream and that was delicious as well. A couple of things that did not qualify as chocolate or ice cream is Sweetaly. They have a plant-based tapioca pudding. As I was trying it, one of the owners or the main guys at the company came up to me and asked my opinion and asked me how he can make it taste even better, which is another reason that these trade shows are cool. It gives you an opportunity to give them feedback and he wanted to make it as good as possible. It’s nice to see that they’re testing it out, getting feedback on it and then improving it as they go along.

That’s another reason to reach out to brands. If you can find a kind and constructive way to give feedback, a lot of brands will take that into consideration because they want to improve their products. The last product in the sweets category is Yummy Doh. They make fully vegan cookie dough and it was lovely. It was quite sugary. I couldn’t have too much of it because it was a little too much for me but the flavor was delicious. They’re a Canadian company which I thought was neat. I always loved seeing brands outside of the US embracing veganism, so definitely look into them as well.

Let’s move over to the savory snacks. Starting with one of my favorite products from the entire show is from this company called Snacktivist. I would say the entire line would fall into some of my favorite things. They had the most delicious, plant-based and gluten-free. Their entire brand is about being allergy-free and they had phenomenal waffles. What was cool is they had savory waffles and sweet waffles. They were serving the savory waffles with avocado. Thinking about it is making me hungry. It was good. All gluten-free, vegan baking mixes. Conscientious Indulgence is their tagline and I love that. They use ancient grains and other sustainable ingredients to create inclusive and indulgent foods. This is what they stand for and the way that their taste was special. They had cookies as well. They had some bread and everything that they make was delicious.

The people that worked there were passionate and kind. I think I should buy their bags of food, but I wish I could go back in time and have that waffle again or snap my fingers and have a waffle with avocado on it in front of me. This is part of the Snacktivist, Superfood grain blend with Ivory Teff. The next snack food that I enjoyed is Rhythm Superfoods’ Cauliflower Bites. They’re not soft at all. They’re very crispy and they had a few different flavors. They had Buffalo ranch, which was my favorite, plain sea salt and they had a white cheddar, which is vegan. Those are satisfying. Rhythm Superfoods is a brand that’s been around for a long time. You may have tried their kale chips before, so the cauliflower is the new kale. There are a lot of different cauliflower products out there and I thought these were satisfying. Trader Joe’s have a dehydrated broccoli snack that was okay. I think Rhythm Superfoods also has that, but the cauliflower I thought made a much better snack than the broccoli.

Next up is Harmless Harvest who you may know for their delicious coconut water and they have all sorts of coconut products. Their brand-new product is a coconut yogurt alternative. It was one of the better vegan yogurts I’ve had in a while. I love Harmless Harvest, so does Jason. They are an ethical brand, very mindful of the way that they get their coconut. The quality of it and making it as simple as possible. They also have a protein and coconut drink that was satisfying. In terms of their yogurts, they’re excluding some ingredient that’s very common. If you look at the ingredients of a lot of products, some of them have a lot of things in them that are meant to make them more shelf-stable, to maybe contribute to the texture, but those ingredients may not be things that you want to have on a regular basis.

The Harmless Harvest yogurt alternative is organic coconut milk, cane sugar, tapioca starch and culture. It’s four simple ingredients. That’s for their plain flavor. They also have the strawberry vanilla and blueberry and those have the extra ingredients for whatever flavor it is. They use some pectin in some of them, but they were lovely. Next up is Young Kobras Whole Grain Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread. That’s another product. Thinking about it, I’m like, “I wish I had some.” I saw it in stores before I went to the Fancy Food Show and the packaging looks enticing and Jason and I both agreed it was one of the better gluten-free bread that we’ve had. It’s amazing to see what’s happening in the gluten-free category.

I went gluten-free in 2010. I did it because I was curious about it. Gluten-free was becoming a big trend back in 2010, but when I experimented with it for a week or two, I felt a huge difference. I’ve been tested for allergies. I don’t have any food allergies. At least not the last time I checked. I’m not celiac or anything, but I do notice a huge difference between how I feel when I have gluten versus when I don’t have gluten. I do have gluten from time to time, but probably 75% to 90% gluten-free. I try to avoid it unless it’s accidentally in something or something that I want to try.

I’ve noticed sometimes when I allow myself to have more gluten than usual, I can notice a huge difference in the way my gut feels. Often times I’ll start to sneeze. I’ll have an allergic-like reaction to it, but I don’t have like my throat closing up or anything. I think the gluten-free movement is interesting. I have this belief that if I don’t need to eat it, then why should I eat it? I’m either going to eat it for pleasure or I’m going to eat it for nutrition. There are many amazing gluten-free products in the market, including bread that it doesn’t feel necessary for me personally to have it. That’s my little background on gluten-free. To give you some context, I’ve tried a lot of different vegan and gluten-free bread. The other trick is that a lot of gluten-free products contain eggs or dairy.

To find not only a vegan and gluten-free product but one that’s made from simple ingredients like Young Kobras is special and one that tastes good. Usually, there’s some compromise and I would say that Young Kobras gluten-free sourdough bread felt like there was no compromise whatsoever. You could probably slice this up and serve it at a restaurant and no one would question that it was vegan or gluten-free. They’ll enjoy it and I love products like that. Next up for crunchy snacks. One of my favorites was Avo Crazy. They have avocado puffs and I love avocado. You probably do too. It’s such a popular ingredient. I know one person that was allergic to avocados, which I have compassion for it because I have a high allergy-like reaction to almonds and people are always like, “That must be awful to be super sensitive to almonds.” I feel that way about avocados. I would feel sad to not be able to have avocados. The avocado puffs were very satisfying. I feel like the puff category of crunchy snacks has grown a lot in popularity and these were delicious. They had a vegan ranch and I feel they might’ve had a vegan cheddar as well.

Vegan cheddar is also a huge thing. It’s a big trend in vegan foods. Apparently, they have a barbecue salsa, so they have three flavors. They were lovely. They also have very cute packaging. I feel like they would be appealing to kids as well. If you’re trying to get your kids to eat some more plant-based foods, sometimes having bright, colorful packaging could be so appealing. A couple more things in the snack food category. One of them is called Bada Bean Bada Boom. I’ve seen these products around. They’ve never appealed to me that much. I guess I didn’t think that they would be that exciting, but I was wrong because they are delicious. They have all these different flavors.

They’re meant to be alternatives to other crunchy snacks. One of them is a sweet onion and mustard that’s meant to be an alternative to honey mustard and onion snacks. Remember those pretzel snacks? Maybe you still eat them. When I was younger, I used to eat the honey mustard and onion pretzel snacks all the time. As I recall, they’re not the highest quality ingredients, so it was nice to try their sweet onion and mustard snacks because they tasted almost exactly like those pretzels. They’re higher in protein. They’re all vegans. There’s no honey in them. Gluten-free and no soy plus non-GMO. The people behind this brand were passionate about them. It’s also the same brand that makes the 100 calories, dairy-free ice cream I mentioned called Monkey Business. They’re the same brand. They could not be prouder of what they do, but in a way that you feel excited too because they love what they make so much.

These Bada Bean snacks are made with fava beans, so you can get some more beans into your diet. I tend to be sensitive to legumes such as beans, but these felt good on my stomach. That’s usually a good sign. Their ingredients are pretty good. Some of them contain cane sugar or corn starches. You want to check to make sure that they’re the right fit for you. Each of us has different preferences and different bodies, different reactions to things. That’s one of the reasons we’re listing all these products on the website. You can go there and check them out and see if it’s something that you want to try both from a taste perspective and also from an ingredient perspective.

The last product in the snack category is a brand that Jason and I had tried before and fell in love with. It’s called Wellnut Farms. They make delicious Walnut butter. They could fall into the sweets category, but I put them in the snacks category because that’s probably how you would have it. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if you decide to have them as a sweet because they have the most incredible salted caramel flavor that tastes like a decadent dessert. One spoonful of this and your sweet tooth will be satisfied. As long as you’re not allergic to nuts or walnuts in particular, you’re good to go. They’re very passionate about the sourcing of their ingredients. There are four generations of farmers, two family farms. We’re talking to the owners, they’re talking about how much their kids love their product and they’re into sustainability. There’s something about this brand that gives you a very happy feeling.

Walnuts are also very good for your health in a lot of different ways. They’re especially good for your brain health and they look like brains. This is a fun way to have them. There’s cool information on their website, so I recommend you check them out. Here’s a list of why walnuts are good for you according to Wellnut. They are high in essential fatty acids, cancer-fighting, high in many micronutrients, good for your heart. I guess they can assist in weight loss, although maybe not if you eat the salted caramel flavor all the time. It helps decrease aging and assists in male reproductive health. It’s all very important things. Why not add some more walnuts into your life?

Let’s move into the dairy alternative category, which are a few products here for you. Number one is one of my favorite products of the entire show. It’s called The Uncreamery. It is a vegan cheese company that is outstanding. You’re probably going to want to try this, but they don’t have huge availability. However, if you go on their website, you can order through a company called Mylk Guys and you can find out more about where to buy them through their Instagram as well. You might need to message them because the website is very minimal, but it’s worth investigating. If you live in San Francisco, you are in luck or if you’re visiting there, you must try these cheeses. You can buy them at Rainbow Grocery, which happens to be my favorite grocery store of all time. There is no exaggeration. I go to every grocery store I can find when I’m traveling, especially. I love grocery shopping and Rainbow Grocery is hands down the best overall grocery store that I’ve been to.

One of the things that makes them so great is carrying products like The Uncreamery. This is a nut-based cheese alternative and it has a phenomenal taste and texture. They have an unbelievable vegan brie. They have the traditional brie and then they have one that is a truffle brie and it’s unbelievably good. It’s a must-try. Get your hands on them if you can. Next up in the cheese category, the other cheese I liked is Urban Cheesecraft and they have a Mac sauce. Meaning, there’s a sauce that you put on top of macaroni. Thinking macaroni and cheese, except they don’t include the macaroni.

MGU 23 | Winter Fancy Food Show

Winter Fancy Food Show: If you can find a kind and constructive way to give feedback, a lot of brands will take that into consideration because they want to improve their products.

 

You buy your own macaroni and you add their cheese sauce on top of it. It was excellent. They also have a vegan fondue. That was delicious. I love products like this because if you’re a plant-based, like Jason and I are, we don’t ever want you to feel like you’re missing out or compromising. One of the reasons we get so excited about going to these trade shows is finding options like this. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a packaged vegan fondue. If you’re into fondue and maybe you’re going to a party, like a fondue party or a holiday party, you could make your own or you could buy a packaged vegan fondue.

The other innovative vegan cheese I saw at the show is called OATzarella. Remember I talked about oat milk a lot. This is a vegan cheese made from steel-cut oats and olive oil. I’m going to say for me personally, it did not blow me away. I feel like they have some work to do on the taste and texture. I did think it was cool. There was a lot of buzz around them. They seem like a brand that’s pouring a lot of heart into their products. I’m definitely willing to give it another try and I want to give them a shout-out because I thought making a product from still cutouts is cool. Lastly, I wanted to give a shout-out to Sproud. They make a milk alternative made from peas.

I’m personally a huge fan of Ripple and that’s a pea protein milk. There aren’t that many pea protein milk out on the shelves. There was one by a juice company called Suja Juice. They had an organic pea protein milk that was good and then they took it off the market and so far Ripple is the only widely available one. Sproud is I believe a European company that’s introducing their pea protein milks into the US and it was delicious. A few products in the meals category. Meaning the plant-based meals such as meat alternatives. The first one is Adda Veggie, which is a protein mix. All you do is add fresh vegetables into this mix that they provide and you can turn it into patties like a burger or you could turn it into a meatball.

It was delicious and great ingredients. They were using broccoli. All they did was put the broccoli into this mix and heat it up and it was tasty. In terms of meat alternatives, aside from mixes for a packaged meat alternative, Uncut, was lovely. What made them unique is they have a vegan Turkey alternative, which you don’t see too often. I know Gardein has a turkey option, but there’s gluten in it. If you go to Before The Butcher, they have their plant-based burgers there, which is called the Uncut Burger and they have a plant-based burger, a savory chicken burger, a roasted turkey burger and a breakfast sausage patty.

They’re all vegan. They don’t look very vegan as many of these products don’t. They’re into sustainability. They try to use less water, land and less time to make or produce their products compared to animal-based products out there. They’ve got a lot of good educational elements. Everything is gluten-free and none of their products contain genetically-modified ingredients. You can go into their FAQ section, they have a lot of good information. Cool Beans is the name of a company that makes plant-based wraps. They have three different flavors. My favorite is the tikka masala. It’s also gluten-free. It’s made with chickpeas, Jasmine rice, riced cauliflower, which is for somebody who’s mostly low carb, green peas and seasoning. They also have a spicy Chipotle and a Moroccan gold. I love convenient foods like this. It’s surprisingly not that common to find good frozen plant-based wraps like this. A lot of the most delicious plant-based wraps contain gluten. If you’re gluten-free like me, this checks off a lot of the boxes. Lastly, a little sneak peek at an upcoming product that’s not available yet, but I did get to taste is called the Taste Republic.

They have an upcoming vegan and gluten-free ravioli that is absolutely delicious. There are a few brands that have vegan ravioli, but not that many. I don’t even know any off the top of my head that is also gluten-free, at least not that I’ve seen in stores. I’m sure there’s a few online. Taste Republic is cool because its products are grain-free. I’ve seen them for a while. I thought they looked good and I always felt like I was missing out because they didn’t have a vegan option. Now, not only are they offering a vegan option but it is filled with vegan cheese because a lot of their products are like fettuccine. It’s more simple pasta. This one is an actual ravioli stuffed with Violife cheese, which is one of my favorite vegan cheeses out there.

There are so many amazing plant-based ice creams out there. Click To Tweet

This ravioli from the Taste Republic was delicious. I’m not 100% sure, but I think based on their other line of products that this is also going to be grain-free. It’s vegan, gluten-free and potentially grain-free as well. Violife is entirely nut-free. They’re cutting out most of the major allergens, which is exciting as well as creating a delicious product. The next one is the beverage category. I didn’t try that many drinks. As I said, it’s called the Fancy Food Show. It’s mostly food. There are more and more drinks there. There were a ton of coffee drinks there, but most of them I tried before.

The two brands I wanted to give a shout-out, number one is REBBL. They have been a brand favorite of me and Jason for a long time. In fact, Jason actually might’ve been the first person I heard of them from. A fun little history there because I have become a big fan of them over time. They have these sparkling tonics. It’s an in-store exclusive. If you go to their website, REBBL.co, you can buy most of their products online, but if you want to try these tonics that they created, you have to buy them in stores. The good news is REBBL has good distribution in the US at least and you can find them in a lot of stores.

I’ve got to try the prebiotic tonics for the first time. They’re sparkling drinks. They were so satisfying. The prebiotics is there for digestive support and REBBL has great quality ingredients, organic, ethically sourced, all plant-based. Everything tastes amazing. They have continued to expand their line. When I became a fan of them a few years ago, they had four products and now they have many different choices. There are all these different delicious elixirs, chocolate, turmeric and matcha. They have some coffee drinks. They have this one that I haven’t tried yet, but I know Jason is a huge fan of their Mayan Cocoa Gold Label Elixir. It is literally a gold label. It’s gorgeous. They have super herbs in there. Four different types of mushrooms that you would never know there are mushrooms in there because they’re so delicious.

The other brand of drinks that I wanted to give a shout-out to is fascinating. We did not get to try them because they just announced them and they haven’t even started sampling them, at least not at these shows. I am so excited to try this. There’s this brand called Vegan Rob’s. Before I started doing the keto diet, I used to eat their puffs snacks all the time. I was a little bit overboard. I had them a little too frequently. They were my go-to snack. I would eat them almost every single day. Sometimes I would skip meals because I would sit down and eat an entire bag of their puffs snacks and then get full and not have a complete meal, which might not have been the best thing for my health. They are super tasty.

The story behind Vegan Rob’s is interesting because the owner Rob himself was behind the brand Pirate’s Booty. Pirate’s Booty has 1 or 2 vegan options, but then he started a fully vegan company called Vegan Rob’s in 2015 and their product that they’re coming out with is a line of teas to help solve mental health issues. They have one called Relieves Boredom, Relieves Loneliness, Relieve Depression and Relieves Anxiety. They have anti-aging tea and a sober fasting tea. I have not tried these. There’s very limited information about them, but I think they’re cool. I don’t know if relieve is the best word for depression or anxiety to be honest. I know that they have great intentions. They’re made with herbs, roots, and flowers to support your mental health.

Obviously, that’s a huge thing that we talk about here on this podcast. Jason and I are eager to try these out. Last but not least, I’ll get into the keto category. For anybody else who’s interested, curious about keto or maybe you’re already keto. Maybe you’re low carb like I am. I wanted to give a shout-out to a few brands. I’m going to put together a video either on my YouTube channel, the Eco-Vegan Gal channel or one of the others. The first one is this sweet company called LUV. They make a variety of keto products. Most of them are vegan and they have chocolate chips. They’re all soy-free, keto and zero grams of sugar.

There are a few brands that make vegan chocolate chips, but I thought theirs were good. They also had some keto vegan bars. Not all of their products are vegan. If you go on their website, if you find them in stores, make sure to double-check if you are a plant-based, like Jason and I are. They were incredibly passionate. You’ll see from their website. They’re a little old school, but that was cool to see these brands that have been doing it for a long time. They’ve got doctors involved. One of the founders is a doctor. It’s interesting. You can read their whole story on their website.

Next up is a brand called Belichka. They make vegan keto bars made from cacao butter, monk fruit and Jerusalem artichoke. There are few more ingredients, but those were the three that I thought were most interesting. If you’ve ever had cacao butter before, it comes from the cacao plant, which is where chocolate comes from. It is rich and creamy and that’s a huge element of chocolate making. I think at least most chocolate has cacao or cocoa butter in it, but this had such a strong high amount of cacao butter that it has this interesting, unique taste and texture. I’ve used it a lot to make my own vegan keto chocolates, like fat bombs and it was satisfying. They had a few different flavors. They had matcha that I liked. The only downside for me is that they contained almonds and I’m very sensitive to almonds.

The other brand that I thought was interesting is called Giuliano’s Bakery. They had at least one vegan product. They specialize in high-quality bread. They had a huge sign up at their booth that said keto on it. I went over to talk to them and it turns out that at least 1 or 2 of their products was not only keto but vegan as well. I think the rest of them had eggs or something in them. They’re also old school too, which I thought was neat because they’ve been creating bread for nearly 70 years. They’ve got bread covered and now they’re dipping into the keto world.

The other brands that you may be familiar with are called Califia Farms. They’re known for making delicious plant-based beverages. They’re mostly made with almonds, unfortunately for me, but lately they started doing some almond-free milk made with oat and/or coconut. They have a grab-and-go keto coffee. It’s a latte with coffee and almond milk. I did try it for the very first time. I had never purchased it before because of my almond sensitivity, but every time I saw it on shelves, I was like, “I want to know what it tastes like.” Now that I’ve tried to, I can say it’s delicious. If you’re into coffee and into keto like I am, or you want to have some of the keto benefits, I recommend this. If you’re curious, some of the benefits of keto are that it can help you speed up your metabolism.

This keto cold brew that they have is actually a formulation that they rebranded because it happened to be keto. It has seven grams of plant-based protein and it has MCT oil in it, which is an oil derived from coconuts. It’s good for speeding up your metabolism. It’s also good for making you feel full. If you’re doing something like intermittent fasting, you can have some keto coffee in the morning and that’ll suppress your appetite so you can wait until later in the day to eat. That’s one of the big reasons that I drink lattes. This is a longer conversation, but some people on the intermittent fasting stated just have black coffee in the morning because anytime you start to take in calories, it technically is no longer fasting. Some people believe that it’s okay to have a certain amount of milk in your coffee. Having a keto coffee is a good way to go, especially if it contains MCT oil.

Another brand that I’ve loved for a while and I’m excited, they have a newer product called The Good Chocolate. These are sugar-free chocolates. They’re keto chocolates. I think all of their products are vegan as well and they’re offering a Double Crunch Vegan Milk. I like the good chocolate, but most of their chocolates felt a little too bitter for me. This Double Crunch Vegan flavor felt the smoothest. They are one of a very few chocolate companies out there that’s vegan and keto. I did mention LUV chocolate. They have less distribution. I had never even heard of LUV chocolate before, versus The Good Chocolate I’ve seen in a ton of storage.

You’ll see it in most places like Whole Foods or Erewhon if you’re in Los Angeles. Any of these specialty markets will carry this brand. I saw it in Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco too. Yes, it is 58% chocolate. It’s a low percentage of chocolate. A lot of dark chocolates, especially the sugar-free chocolates tend to be 70% or more, so that’s what makes them so bitter. The ingredients are all organic. It’s cacao beans, erythritol, cocoa butter, coconut milk, Mesquite powder, Aquafaba, Stevia, and vanilla. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Aquafaba in chocolate before, this is interesting. Aquafaba is exclusively made from chickpeas. It’s neat.

If you look at their packaging, they have a lot of interesting information about their products. They’re very passionate about what they don’t contain versus what they do contain. They’re soy-free, they’re bean-to-bar, they’re 100% organic, no Maltitol, no Inulin fiber, it doesn’t promote tooth decay. I find it interesting when you see packaging like this then you start to think, “If they’re talking about all the things that they don’t contain, that’s implying that most chocolates do contain those things.” I don’t know about you, but for me, it starts to have me reconsider everything like, “If I’m going to eat this chocolate, maybe I should start to examine the ingredients of the other chocolates I might have do contain.” I haven’t done a side by side comparison between the Good Chocolate and LUV chocolate yet, but I bet you that there are some interesting comparisons between the two.

I mentioned how cauliflower is the new kale or it’s a big trend alongside oat milk. One thing that I found interesting at the show was Argania. They make a cauliflower hummus. I don’t think that they’re the only ones, but they are the only ones that I tried at The Fancy Food Show. In addition to being an interesting take on hummus, it is a keto hummus because chickpeas that are usually in hummus are higher in carbs. Cauliflower is the staple of a keto diet. Making hummus from cauliflower is an innovative way to make it keto. It was surprisingly delicious. It was even better than I thought it was going to be.

I love hummus. I love cauliflower, I love tahini, which is a big part of hummus and had this rich, creamy tahini flavor and it was exciting. You can dip some veggies in there and have a good snack with this. With all of these products, you don’t have to be keto to enjoy these things. If you want an alternative to chickpea-based hummus, then you can have the cauliflower hummus. There are a couple more things to mention. Laird Superfood is a brand that I liked. They’re coming out with a superfood creamer made with coconut milk. They have an unsweetened one that makes it keto. I think all of their products are pretty keto-friendly, but there might be a couple that contains more sugar than you would like. If you get the unsweetened one, it’s a nice thing that you can add to your coffee.

Laird Superfood has been making these powdered superfood creamers for a while, but this one is an actual ready-made product. It’s in a carton just like any other creamer you would buy at the store. They have high-quality ingredients too and it was delicious. One of the most exciting lines of products and one of the leaders in the keto worlds, a brand that’s been promoting this lifestyle for a long time is Miracle Noodle. I’ve been using their products ever since I went keto and I think I even was using them off and on before I went keto. They have these low carb noodles. They’re calorie-free as well. You’ve probably seen them or noticed them before. There might be all shelf-stable. Their competitors are usually in the refrigerated section. They are Shirataki noodles. These are a little on the slimy side.

MGU 23 | Winter Fancy Food Show

Winter Fancy Food Show: Cauliflower is the new kale, and it’s become a huge trend alongside oat milk.

 

They’re odd if you’ve never used them before. You take them out of the packaging and they smell horrible. You have to rinse them off for a few minutes to get rid of the smell and then heat them up. Once you do, that smell goes away and they have this interesting chewy texture that’s a nice alternative to pasta. Maybe the way that I described them doesn’t sound that appealing. I honestly don’t feel like it’s the best low carb noodle out there, but Miracle Noodle has done such a great job innovating this category. They have keto rice. They have all different types of keto pasta. The most exciting thing is they have these keto meals. All you do is heat them up or maybe you have to add water to them.

I haven’t taken them home yet to play with, but I did try them at the show and they are delicious. That’s super exciting because there aren’t a ton of vegan and keto meals like that. There are a few things that you can piece together. A few things that maybe are a little too high in carbs but not super high in carbs. I’ve looked for a lot of convenient vegan keto products out there and it’s hard to find. When I saw that Miracle Noodles are doing keto meals, I was thrilled. They taste great. They also launched a hearts of palm pasta. It’s a phenomenal pasta alternative. There are a couple of other brands that have been doing hearts of palm pasta. One’s called Palmini. That’s the one that I buy the most regularly.

There’s another brand that was at the Fancy Food Show and I forgot to try them, but they make a vegan keto lasagna noodle and they’re all made from hearts of palm. I thought it was cool that Miracle Noodles is joining and offering hearts of palm as well. FullGreen is a company that makes a variety of different products made from rice cauliflower. All of them are ready to go. All you have to do is heat them up, but some of them you can eat right out of the package. They were pretty interesting. They have a little work to do in terms of the flavor.

Vegan cheddar has become a huge trend in vegan foods. Click To Tweet

They had good concepts behind them, but the flavor was a little off for me. For me, it tasted as it came out of a package. That was the downside. However, a lot of the times I don’t know how something tastes until I start to take it home and play around with it myself. It looks like they don’t even have it on their website yet. They had cauliflower oatmeal, which was a unique tasting. They had a buffalo ranch risotto-style rice cauliflower. It sounded great. It tasted as it came from a package. They also had a Portobello mushroom.

I don’t know if I ended up trying that. I think I just tried the Buffalo ranch and the oatmeal. I feel like this is a company that is passionate about this and they’re going to put a lot of work into getting the flavor right. I don’t want to discourage you from trying them. I think that they’re on the right track. A lot of brands are experimenting with rice cauliflower. Cauliflower is a big ingredient and it’s wonderful as a low carb alternative to rice. It’s worth trying to form your own opinion about it. Last but not least is a brand called Keto Butta. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a keto butter, but not butter in the sense of a meal goes better that would put on toast.

It’s nut butter, and these are cool because they have all these other great ingredients in them. Sadly, I think all their products are made with almond butter. I told the owner that I was sad that I couldn’t have it and he was like, “I’m going to try to work on a different nut to use so I could have another option,” which I thought was so sweet. These looked so amazing. I wish that I could enjoy them too. They had a few different flavors. They had an original Keto Butta, which was made with almonds, MCT oil, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, monk fruit, flaxseeds and sea salt. They had a matcha flavor. They have cacao powder, turmeric and black pepper and pumpkin spice.

I think they all have the same base, but then he adds in different flavors to give it a little bit of variety. He was very passionate and everything looks cool. The packaging is simple but very colorful. It was one of those brands that left a good taste in my mind. I didn’t get the taste in my mouth because of the almonds, but I could tell it was made with love and I could tell it probably tasted good. I know this has been a very in-depth dive into all the products we tried. That was about 50 products that I mentioned.

If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you. I’m curious about what you think about episodes like this. We haven’t done anything where we’ve dove into the products, but Jason and I are both very passionate about this. I also am curious, what do you think of the solo episodes? How do you feel about me doing them alone? What if Jason does it alone at some point? We love hearing your feedback. We want to make this podcast super valuable for you and we’re still relatively new. We want to know what you think. You can leave us a review on iTunes. If you love us, you can give us five stars. You can also review us on other platforms. There’s a little section to show you how to leave a review and where to leave a review. You can go onto the individual posts. You can privately email us or direct message us on social media. We’re @Wellevatr.

You can also reach out to us personally. My name is Whitney. Most people find me at @EcoVeganGal or @WhitLauritsen. You can always hit that subscribe button so that you don’t miss another episode. We bring on interesting people. We have a great episode coming up with Miyoko, which is one of our favorites. We have all these people that we know and love and want to introduce you to that have interesting things to talk about in terms of health, wellness and feeling our best. That’s our mission. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed learning about all these amazing products. If you give us some feedback and you liked this episode, maybe we’ll do another one with Jason. Maybe we’ll do another one after the Natural Products Expo. We love to know what you think. I will be here for another episode coming soon and I hope to have you part of it.

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