The Natural Products ExpoWest 2016 is an annual trade show featuring some of the newest and most innovative products on the market. Over 2,700 companies representing 113 countries gathered in Anaheim, CA, USA in March of 2016 to showcase their products. More than 77,000 industry insiders attended the 3-day event. One of the most noticeable trends at this year's Expo was the marked increase in the number of vegan companies and vegan products. Some of the vegan products included:
There were also vegan options at the food trucks present at the Expo. There were almost certainly more vegan options...these were just two that we found and enjoyed:
Another unmistakable trend were the numerous products that are now Non-GMO Project Verified. The highly recognizable blue certification logo with orange butterfly was proudly featured on numerous products and banners throughout the Expo. I was also fortunate to attend the non-GMO Project educational session led by Executive Director Meagan Westgate. It was actually here at ExpoWest a number of years ago when I first learned about GMOs, through a non-GMO Project session. Although I had heard of GMOs, I mistakenly thought that GMOs were simply hybrids. I was shocked to learn GMOs actually included food such as corn and soybeans that were genetically altered with toxic pesticides in order to make them "pest-resistant". Whenever a pest eats any part of the corn or soybean plant, it ingests enough of the inserted insecticide to kill it. In GMOs, the insecticide is genetically a part of the food, and cannot simply be washed off. Consumers in America deserve the right to know which foods contain genetically modified ingredients so they can make their own decision in regards to whether or not they want to eat GMOs and feed them to their families. The growing awareness of the potential dangers of GMOs among consumers is prompting the massive increase in the number of non-GMO Project Certified products.
On Friday evening, March 11, 2016, there was a ExpoWest 2016 Vegan Meet-Up organized by Eco-Vegan Gal. This event was attended by over one hundred vegan company executives, bloggers, industry leaders, and many others involved in promoting cruelty-free vegan living. It is inspiring to see the vegan community coming together to support each other and working together to promote veganism at one of the world's largest natural products expos.
Vegan products were also recognized with many awards, beating out numerous non-vegan products in the process. Three notable wins for the coveted NEXTY Awards were Miyoko's Kitchen for their vegan Creamery Butter, EatPops for their green smoothie popsicles, and Sir Kensington's for their vegan aquafaba-based Mayonnaise. And another vegan product, Veggie Fries, won the 2016 NEXT Accelerator Natural Products Pitch Slam. Congratulations and thank you these companies (and countless others who make wholesome and delicious products) for showing that vegan food can more than hold its own against non-vegan food.
For a trade show as huge as this one, it was nearly impossible for one person (or even team of two people) to cover all the vegan products featured at ExpoWest 2016. Be sure to check out Ryan's post Vegan Finds at Natural Products ExpoWest 2016, as well as posts by the many fantastic vegan bloggers covering the event (google vegan ExpoWest or search hashtag #vegansatexpo). Based on my experience at ExpoWest 2016, I am grateful and thrilled that momentum is clearly and quickly growing towards a more vibrant, sustainable, and compassionate vegan world.
Thanks for reading. Peace and love to all who live.