NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST
11-13 March 18, 2011
ANAHEIM CONVENTION CENTER
This was an awesome Expo that took us by surprise. After reporting on more than 20 Conventions and Expos during our year in Las Vegas this was unusual. The exhibit floor was huge and there was absolutely no way that we could cover the 3-4 exhibit floors on a one day visit. We zeroed in on certain interest that we felt would have the most appeal to our particular audience of Seniors and women.
In recent years flour has been transformed from just picking up a 5 lb. bag of flour at Wal-Mart or other grocery stores and selecting the one with the lowest price to choosing special flours for special breads, rolls, cakes and so on. There has been a resurgence of milling companies to bring back the flours used in ancient time. One such product (and there are many others) is Kamut flour. I have enjoyed experimenting with it replacing one to two cups of regular flour with the Kamut. Other flours, such as Garbanzo, Rice, and Durum are just a small sampling one can bake with today. Some of the major players in this field had booths at the show: Heartland Mill, Central Milling, Montana Flour & Grain and, of course, King Arthur Flour. A few are giving classes on their site for those interested in perfecting their skills. The staff running these classes often has Master Bakers in charge. That classification is harder to get, and takes longer, than a Master’s and PhD. Together. The people manning the booths were quite willing to give a helping hand. A true major player is Bob’s Red Mill with perhaps the broadest selection of flour, grains and related products and in sizes best suited for home bakers. We even had the pleasure of meeting Bob. He looks great at 82 and while the company is now employee owned he still keeps his hands in.
We had to be pried away from the Theo Chocolate booth. Their broad range of chocolate ranging from 92% to “regular” chocolate was awesome.
As the first and only organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country
This company has set the Gold Standard for production of chocolate. We shall do our best to become much more familiar with their broad range of products. It is well worth the time to visit their website: www.theochocolate.com. As the reader can tell, we are confirmed Chocoholics. Another company where we loved sampling the product is Kopali. Their range of chocolate products – dark chocolate and fruit treats – offered many taste treats!
We are familiar with Pacific Natural Foods and their wonderful line of soups. We learned even more about how this product is made. It is quite impressive! We have all read and heard about the advantages of Organic Sweeteners and the www.organicsugars.biz provides a much broader range of flavors than we anticipated. Of course, at a Natural Products show organic was the major word — along with green whenever appropriate.
Amy’s is a major player in the natural and organic food field and their big booth gave us a chance to see the broad range of products available from this company. They provided an opportunity to taste many of the products and while we did not linger as long as at the chocolate booth we did avail ourselves of the offerings.
While our son was in the Air Force we sent quite a bit of Beef Jerky to him. At that time we were unaware that this product was available as a natural food without the additions of artificial stuff. Golden Valley Natural has a broad line of Jerky and we brought a few samples for our son to sample.
Hugo Naturals has a broad line of natural products ranging from lip balm to skin care. Great Northern Maple line of products was impressive. Even more impressive is their claim that most of the maple products come from Canada. We had always assumed they came from Vermont. The broad range of flavors was intriguing and we only wished there had been a way to sample them.
Unfortunately, we did not have time or energy to visit all of the booths. We are certain that we missed out many great companies and for that we are sorry. We owe a big vote of thanks to the staff that engineered this awesome show! Our hat is off to them!
Perhaps next year we can cover a broader field.
John Lustig, Senior Reporter
Anne Leona, Reporter