There was definitely a lot to take in at Expo West in Anaheim, CA. This year’s event saw record attendance of 63,000 industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies. Needless to say, that is a lot of ground to cover in three days, but I did my best.
I thought this year I would let you know about my favorite products found at the event, and then follow up with a more thorough article of all of the notable gluten-free products. Here are my top gluten-free picks in alphabetical order:
Brad’s Raw Foods - their new line of Onion Rings in four flavors: Original, Coconut, Bourbon ST. BBQ, and Rings of Fire. This product is not baked or fried, but it they have nailed that texture. The original is my favorite and I can see using it in a salad like crouton, on top of green bean casserole, and just straight out of the container as a great snack.
Daiya Foods - launched 10 new products at Expo West and all of them were free of gluten, dairy, and soy. For me, their crowning achievement is their line of four flavors of pizza: Mushroom & Roasted Garlic, Fire-Roasted Vegetable, Margherita, and Cheese Lovers. I have been nagging pizza companies for years to make a dairy-free version using Daiya’s cheese, but I am glad Daiya decided to introduce this first-to-market line of delicious pizzas.
Feel Good Foods - is set to launch a line of Asian Entrees in five options: Sesame Orange Chicken, Chicken Fried Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, General Tso’s Chicken, and Lemon Ginger Chicken. They were demoing General Tso’s Chicken at the event and it is fabulously delicious. You can really taste the crunchy breading on the chicken that combines perfectly with the flavorful sauce and vegetables. It almost doesn’t taste like a frozen entree!!
Glutino - their Strawberry and Apple Cinnamon toaster pastries were on display and I have to say I was intrigued to try them and their claim of ‘good source of fiber’ on the front of the box. They were a tad bit too sweet for me, but I really like that you can eat them straight from the box with no toasting. They hold up great to travel and don’t break or crumble when eating. They also have a good amount of beet fiber and they are free of dairy and soy.
Gratify Foods - the original manufacturers of Glutino’s line of pretzels, was on hand with their new line of Pretzel Thins in three flavors: Sesame, Regular, and Sour Cream & Onion. Their sesame thins have a marvelous texture that is crispy and flaky without being too crunchy. I am really excited for this line and I hope I have persuaded them to make a line of Pretzel Rods in the not too distant future!
Harvest Snaps - Calbee has two new lines of snacks called Harvest Snaps. One line is made out of baked green peas and comes in three flavors: Lightly Salted, Caesar, and Black Pepper. The second line is made out of lentil beans and it comes in three flavors: Wasabi Ranch, Tomato Basil, and Onion Thyme. Both are a great source of fiber and protein, they have a crispy texture, and I am intrigued by the flavor combos.
Julie’s Organic - has developed a non-dairy version of their gluten-free ice cream sandwiches. The Gluten Free Simply Vanilla Sandwich is filled with coconut ice cream and wrapped between two chocolate cookies. I didn’t get to try it, as I was too full, but this is another first-to-market product that has me excited.
Mi-Del Cookies - launched a first-to-market line of gluten-free pre-made cookie crusts in three flavors: Graham Cracker, Chocolate Snap, and Ginger Snap. I got to sample the chocolate snap crust and it stayed perfectly crisp even with filling. What a great idea and one that will be well received by the gluten-free community.
Noosa Yoghurt - launched a new flavor at Expo West: Passion Fruit. This line of yogurt from Down Under (Australia) reminds me of what yogurt was like back in the 70s. It is creamy, but not too thick, and it has that great tangy bite with generous pieces of fruit and active cultures. Too many yogurts contain gums and thickeners, but not Noosa.
Surf Sweets - through their sister company TruJoy Sweets, they are getting ready to launch a line of healthful Starburst-like candies. My daughter, who loves Starburst and never gets to eat them, gave them two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Stay tuned for my next article(s) that will detail all of the gluten-free yumminess I found at Expo West.
Author Information: Jennifer D. Harris, Atlanta, GA
Jennifer D. Harris, http://www.jenniferglutenfreeingeorgia.blogspot.com
Gluten-Free Product Specialist, Return to Eden
Program Chair, Atlanta Metro CeliacsTwitter@jenniferGFinGA