Natural Products Expo West 2015

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This year in March, the Natural Products Expo West comes back to Anaheim, California for their prestigious natural and organics products event. Showcasing over thousands of natural and organic brands as well as B2B marketing, the Natural Products Expo West along with New Hope Media and Engredea, welcomes companies from across the world to present and educate the public with their newest products.

I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the show again this year and while I noticed a few dramatic changes, the expo was still an exciting and impressive event. This year the security was definitely tighter as anticipated, as I’m sure there are those unregistered to attend will inevitably sneak into the show. There were more information booths which really helped and signage was clearer than last year’s. But what really impressed me this year was the extra events at both the Marriott Hotel and Hilton Hotel. This year a new section called “Hot Products” showcased brand new companies who introduced their newest products, some not yet out in stores. It was nice to see new companies who brought innovative and useful products to the natural products industry, such as design your own reusable glass water bottles and chocolate hot sauce.

Of course I had to bring my son to the show and it seems that each year companies are involving kids more with their interactive booths and games tailored only to kids. There were companies who also gave out unique toys and trinkets to kids that visited their booths. With so many companies to visit and sample their products, I still had to stop by my usual contacts which included Stonyfield Organic (www.stonyfield.com) who my rep had kindly demonstrated their newest interactive organic sourcing map which was pretty cool. Stonyfield also came out with a couple of new types of yogurt last year and early this year including, Stonyfield Organic Protein, Oh My Yogi!, Greek & Chia, and a few new flavors of their traditional varieties. I will be writing a review of their newest products in a later post. I also visited Amy’s which is coming out with some new Asian-inspired dishes and pasta dishes. They were so delicious it took a bit of willpower to leave their booth instead of staying there all night sampling their new dishes.
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Other companies including Nordic Naturals were celebrating their 25 years in the business and they had some fun interactive games for kids and adults. Yummy Bears had new products as well and I had a nice greet and meet with the founders of Veri Organic Soda, which I will have a giveaway very soon.

There were so many companies this year and so much walking as well! But the good thing was that every few steps there was something you can sample or interact with and so we were able to take a breather now and then. And as offered every year, there were seminars upon seminars educating everyone on the world of organic and natural products and food. This year’s show broke last year’s attendance record by about 7%. Here are some highlights of the show:

New Hope’s team of editors and analysts identified the five macro trends influencing the marketplace. They include:

  • Transparency advancements: Consumers are increasingly demanding to know what is in their food, and brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.
  • Ancient Wisdom Gets Wiser: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimally processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.
  • Paleo 2.0: Paleo-positioned products were even more prevalent. The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.
  • Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.
  • Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers’ insatiable hunger for protein,natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.

 

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Thursday before the start of the show, there was the Fresh Ideas Marketplace where companies showcased some of their newest and most innovative products yet to be out in the market. This year Organic Valley did something really fun by bringing their Save the Bro campaign with their Organic Fuel milkshake to the event. The milkshake is really delicious and has high amounts of protein so it’s great as a post workout drink or a mid day healthy snack. Pictured above you see several muscle men wearing the Save the Bro t-shirts and challenging anyone to show off their strength with the carnival-like test your strength game. The “bros” were cute and funny and definitely drew in a lot of crowds as they flexed their muscles and handed out prizes to the winners.

Overall, this year’s Natural Products Expo West had a lot more going on than last year. With the additional hotel sites hosting new products and special events and the evening parties on the promenade, there were more to see than anyone could take in a 4-day event. For more info about the Natural Products Expo please visit their website: www.expowest.com.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Earth Balance – Products Worth Reviewing

In our family, we do our best to eat healthy every day, make healthy living choices, and be conscious of our planet Earth and our environment. In order to accomplish all of these feats, choosing the right foods and the right companies are extremely important. To make a conscious effort to do better for your health and our precious Earth may not be easy for everyone, but it can be accomplished – even in small steps. One way of starting is to evaluate what you eat on a daily basis and determine if the foods you eat are detrimental to your health, or beneficial. I chose to be a vegetarian mainly for health and ethical reasons as are with most vegetarians and vegans, but I also know a few vegetarians who do not eat as healthy. And although these junk food vegetarians eat a meat-free diet, they prefer to dine on salty, fried french fries and foods made with hydrogenated oils and other unhealthy additives. But if we were to look at the common American diet in the United States, we’d see a lot of people eating foods cooked with artificial food coloring and flavors, and food that will eventually ruin their health. And although we can’t truly blame those who eat a lot of junk, because after all, junk food is prominent in the US, we can as individuals, make the right decisions when it comes to eating the right kinds of food.

Cooking your own food and buying organic ingredients as often as possible is a surefire way of eating healthier. And when you buy packaged foods, it’s extremely important to read the labels. I’ve been a label reader for many years now mainly because I was aware of how eating foods ladened with unhealthy ingredients were affecting my health. I’ve even gotten most of my family and friends to read labels on the foods they buy and it has helped them a great deal. So when I see a product that contains natural and organic ingredients and ingredients that also enhance my health I’m doubly excited. That’s why when I discovered a company called Earth Balance I was very intrigued. Earth Balance (http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/) is an all-natural food company that makes organic and natural soymilk, spreads, dressings, nut butters, baking sticks, coconut, and soy nog. All of Earth Balance foods are made without any genetically modified ingredients, are plant-based, vegan, without any artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils, and do not contain gluten, lactose, and eggs. We are particularly nuts over their spreads and nut butters and can easily polish off an entire jar or bottle in less than a week. Yes, they’re that good! And I feel better knowing that when we eat Earth Balance foods, I am actually giving my loved ones something better and healthier. And Earth Balance is an environmentally-conscious company too. They strive to make the world a better place for both people and the planet.

You may have heard of Earth Balance. You can see their products in most natural grocery stores as well as conventional supermarkets who carries their Smart Balance brand. Earth Balance makes a great amount of better-for-you everyday food that definitey beats the conventional nut butters, spreads, and soymilk. Their nut butters are smooth, creamy, and intense in flavor and their soymilk are refreshing and easy to mix into your dessert recipes. We particulaly enjoy Earth Balance’s Creamy Coconut and Peanut Butter Spread because there’s just something unique and unusual about coconut and peanut butter. If you’re a fan of coconuts, then you’ll enjoy their robust coconut flavor and if you’re fairly new to coconuts, then you’ll be surprised at how delightful the blend of coconuts and peanuts can taste. I like to spread their Creamy Coconut and Peanut Butter on bread of course, but it’s also really tasty on crackers and graham crackers. I’m sure you can also use them to make Rice Crispies and I’ll have to try that soon.

Earth Balance began when a need for more natural, wholesome, and plant-based foods arised. With so many overly processed foods nowadays, and foods ladened with unnecessary additives, it’s no wonder that more and more people are trying to make smarter choices in the foods they purchase and eat. It’s not hard to avoid unhealthy foods – just don’t buy them. And yes, sometimes that may be hard to accomplish, but if you start somewhere and you keep at it, then eventually your refrigerator and pantry will be stockful of healthier foods. It’s always better to buy fresh produce whenever possible, but we aren’t all Martha Stewarts in that we can’t make our own butter or soymilk or dressings all of the time. So if you’re going to go for convenience and practicality, then it’s important to buy those items that are made with natural ingredients and at best, organic ingredients. With Earth Balance products, I can clearly see the ingredients listed, and I can certainly taste the superb quality of them too. Although I’d love to make my own mayonnaise and butter eventually, right now, I can stick with products that I know contains at least the same ingredients I might use if I were to make them from scratch.

So if you’re in the market to try something different, and that isn’t made from unknown ingredients, then you’d have to give Earth Balance a try. Currently their lineup of products include Soymilk, which comes in flavors such as Vanilla, Chocolate, and Unsweetened; Spreads, which come in flavors such as Olive Oil, Whipped, and Soy Garden (and all of their spreads come in a base of Palm Fruit, Soybean, Flax, and Olive); Dressings which are made from canola oil; Organic Soy Nog; Nut Butters with flavors including Creamy Coconut, Creamy Peanut, and Creamy Almond; Baking Sticks which also includes Vegan Baking Sticks; and Coconut Spreads which can be used in place of regular butter. All of Earth Balance’s products are made without any genetically-modified or engineered ingredients and they source their coconuts and palm fruit responsibly and ethically.

Earth Balance had kindly sent me coupons to pick up and try any of their products for review. The products I tried were: Soymilk in original flavor, Olive Oil and Original Spread, Organic Dressing, and Creamy Coconut Nut Butter. We really liked their spreads and dressing and nut butters and although I’m a constant soymilk drinker, I wasn’t overjoyed by their original-flavored soymilk. To me, it tasted really strong, unlike the soymilk that I’m used to, so perhaps I will have to try their Vanilla or Chocolate flavor next to see if I notice a difference in taste. All of the products I tried can be easily incorporated into your daily meals whether as part of the meal, as a supplement, or as an addition to a recipe. In fact, if you’re looking for some good recipes using their products, please visit their website: http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/recipes/.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products. 

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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Mom Deals (and for dads too) – Current deals going on right now.

Buying organic and natural products all the time can get quite expensive but it’s absolutely necessary for our health and for the environment. You may ask – what do I care about the environment? Well, the environment is all around us. We live in it, we breathe it, and we support it through our daily activities. With so many diseases arising out of toxic chemicals in the foods we eat and toxins in the air, it’s important to buy and use organic and natural products whenever possible. Below I’ve outlined some great deals that are happening right now which will benefit you and your children as well as not harming the environment. Some of these are limited-time offers so take advantage of them now!

Kiwi Online – ( http://www.kiwishoponline.com/) entire order! THANKS10

Sibu Beauty(http://www.sibubeauty.com/exfoliating_scrub.php)  – Buy a Sibu Beauty Exfoliating Scrub with sea buckthorn and apricot kernel oil works great on face and body for $19.95 and get a FREE Clarifying Toner (MSRP $24.95).! SBTONER10

Nature’s Gate (http://www.shopnatures-gate.com/) – 20% off purchase! NATSAV20

Mambo Sprouts ( http://www.mambosprouts.com/messenger/september-2012-messenger) – Great coupons on organic and natural food and products!

Amazon Mom Event (http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000829351&ref_=pe_190830_25735550) – Get 20% off if you join Amazon Prime and Amazon Mom.

*Happymomblogger is in no way affiliated with any of these companies and have not been monetarily compensated to bring you these deals.

Kiss My Face Kids Sun Collection – Products Worth Reviewing

Just because official Summer months are almost over doesn’t mean that sunscreen protection has to stop. In fact, over here at sunny California, currently we are getting a bit too much sun for our liking. It’s almost impossible to stay outside for even a few seconds but being outside is necessary especially for kids who want to play outside all of the time. So if you’re going to go outside with your kids, make sure to arm them with the best sunscreen possible. Sunscreen is crucial for preventing sunburns and skin damage later and children’s skin are much more susceptible to damage than adults. But not just any sunscreen will do. If you’re looking for something that is effective and made without any toxic ingredients, then you’ll have to be extra picky in what you choose.

When choosing the right sunscreen, it’s important to buy one that contains both UVA and UVB protection otherwise known as broad spectrum. Because the sun’s super strong rays can penetrate both clothing and skin, be extra diligent when your babies and children are outside. Choose sunscreens that are made with naturally-derived ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide – both  are effective minerals derived from the earth. And make sure their products do not contain the controversial toxic ingredient oxybenzone. But perhaps the best protection besides lathering on sunscreen is protective clothing and a sun hat. Combined with both safe, effective sunscreen and protective clothing, your kids will still get the benefit of the sun’s much needed Vitamin D as well as excellent protection. And when you think about the sun, remember that the sun’s powerful rays can still penetrate car and house windows so for little kids riding in the car all day and especially during the strongest ray absorbtion (between 11am-2pm), they’ll need sunscreen before you put them in the car.

When we were searching for suncare products for both my son and I, we were introduced to Kiss My Face’s newest kids suncare collection. Kiss My Face has been making natural and effective skincare products for over 30 years and are constantly improving their products that promises to use only naturally-derived, plant based ingredients. We’ve been using Kiss My Face products for many years now and we especially enjoy their Kids line. In Kiss My Face’s kids line, they make everything from toothpaste to body wash to suncare so there’s definitely something you can find for your children to use. Our favorite is their bubble bath because not only does it create delicioiusly fun bubbles, but the smell is wonderful too. And what child doesn’t like to be bathed in bubbles?

Kiss My Face’s new suncare line currently comes in stick form as well as in a cream so it’s easier to apply to wiggly little kids who hates to stay still for even a few seconds. The easy to use glide on stick applies smoothly and quickly and it comes in fun colors blue, pink, and white. In both blue and pink, the colors stay on until it’s time to reapply. Once the colors are clear, then you’ll know it’s time to add some more sunscreen. Because the stick is a smaller size, it’s made specifically for the lips, nose, cheeks, and ears (often the hardest parts to apply sunscreen without a battle with your kids). And if your kids are old enough, you can even have them apply the stick sunscreen on themselves. It’s a lot of fun to see the light colors go on their skin and I like to tell my son that they are “warrior” paint. The fragrance isn’t overpowering and with essential oils of citrus fruits, you get a nice refreshing scent that won’t have your kids end up smelling like chemicals much like the other generic sunscreens.

I think what’s great about Kiss My Face’s new kids suncare collection is that they are fun to use as well as offer the best sun protection – with an SPF of 30. And I’m pleased with the fact that Kiss My Face cares about their consumers and the environment. If you’re going to use anything that goes on your children’s bodies, be sure that they do not contain anything toxic or might be harmful later on. With Kiss My Face, their ingredients are transparent so you can see what they offer and decide for yourself.  And not only does Kiss My Face make great products for kids, they have an extensive line of body and skincare products for adults too. Kiss My Face’s current lineup of products include bodywashes, handsoaps, moisturizers (my favorite is their Aloe & Olive Moisturizer), bar soaps (which was their initial products), toothpaste, shampoo, sun protection, and lip gloss, to name a few. Their complete line up natural body and skincare products makes it really easy to stick with one company so that you get the combined benefits. And each of their products uses essential oils so you don’t have those yucky smelling “fake” fragrances. You also won’t find any other toxic ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, sls, or artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Their kids sun care products also has a low toxicity rating on the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe skincare database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ with ratings between 1-3.

The good folks at Kiss My Face had sent me their Kids Sunstick in Blue, Pink, and White, as well as their sunscreen in cream form. My son thought the colored sticks were rather funny and I was glad that when the color was no longer blue, it indicated to me to add more sunscreen. Now that’s a real time-saver for parents! For more info about Kiss My Face and their new Sunsticks, please visit: http://www.kissmyface.com/. You can find Kiss My Face products at most natural grocery stores, in some Babies R Us and Toys R Us, as well as certain supermarkets that sells organic and natural products.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products. 

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

*If you’re unsure about supplements, please be sure to consult your health practitioner before using.

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