This being my second year attending Expo West as media, I was really psyched to see all of the gluten-free products on display and to meet with some of my favorite companies. The event never disappoints and this year kudos goes out to the staff (especially Will) for the media room set up, which made it worth the wait to obtain press credentials.
I saw a lot of trends at Expo West including: coconut water, chocolate, bars, chips, yogurt, grains (quinoa and chia), and drinks. I also saw a lot of companies demoing their product in less than appealing ways. If you are going to offer hot food, then put it under a heat lamp, sneeze guards are a must because they help to keep germs off the food, and please don't demo anything in a large bowl with tongs. I really don't want to get sick from poor food handling or germs passed on from other attendees.
First up are bread and pasta:
Kinnikinnick debuted their new line of soft bagels in three flavors: Plain, Cinnamon Raisin, and Blueberry. They now offer a complete line of soft products that include: sandwich bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, and now bagels. These products will be sold frozen, but they can be kept on the counter for up to five days without molding.
Schar - introduced their shelf-stable hot dog buns and they sent me home with a package to try. I have to say I am impressed with this product. I think you could eat them straight out of the package, but I chose to heat them in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for a couple of minutes. The result is a bun with great texture (soft in the middle with a nice crust on the outside) that can stand up to most any filling without tearing or flaking.
- DeLallo Gluten-Free Pasta - had their two lines of gluten-free pasta: corn and rice (70% corn flour, 30% rice flour), and 100% whole grain brown rice. Both pastas are made in Italy in a dedicated facility and claim they taste like authentic Italian pasta. The corn and rice pasta is available in five shapes (elbows, penne, fusilli, spaghetti, and orzo) and the brown rice comes in four shapes (shells, penne, fusilli, and spaghetti).
- Jovial Foods - brought two new brown rice pastas to Expo West: Lasagna and Tagliatelle. Now, if you are thinking it is just brown rice pasta and who cares, then you will really miss out. This line of artisan pasta is GFCO certified, it is made in Italy in a dedicated facility, and it redefined gluten-free brown rice pasta as a force to be reckoned with. The lasagna noodles do not have to be boiled prior to use and their egg-based tagliatelle is the first to be made using eggs from pasture raised hens. I can't wait to try them!
- Pappardelle's - has a number of new gluten-free pastas at the show: Lemon Pepper Fusilli, Sweet Potato Penne, Dark Chocolate Shavings, Chipotle Lime Orzo, and Della Terra Trumpet Trio (mushroom, roasted red pepper, and spinach).
- Tolerant Foods - offers a line of pasta made with only one ingredient that is high in protein, fiber, and iron, and it cooks quickly. Their pasta is free of flour, which makes it quite unique, and it is available in the following choices: Red Lentil, Black Bean, and coming soon Garbanzo Bean.
Most of these products will appear on store shelves starting in May/June. What looks most interesting to you?
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