Expo West is truly a sight, and a testament to the rapid growth of the natural foods industry. This year, there were over 8000 companies (yes, that is three zeros) and probably ten times that many attendees (no exaggeration). The Anaheim convention center was bursting at the seams, much like our pants. With so many amazing foods to sample, it was impossible to hit every dairy-free vendor, but between the three of us, we managed to get nibbles of hundreds of new dairy-free products.
Make no mistake, the amount of amazing food reaches far beyond this list… there were new categories of milk alternatives, superfoods in new snack forms, and dairy-free ice cream tastings at numerous booths. Not to mention, we didn’t have the time, or the stomachs, to taste test everything. But the following new dairy-free products captured our palates and remained in our memories, even more than a week after the show:
Parmela Creamy Tree Nut Cheese – Even our resident dairy cheese eater proclaimed it to be awesome and couldn’t believe it was dairy-free. We loved the simple ingredients and clean, rich taste. It is cashew-based, creamy, and soon to be available in several varieties… Stay tuned! (photo from Parmela, credit Vegan Fatty Boombalatty). Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, soy-free.
My Dad’s Cookies – Sandwiched at the end of an aisle, a Brooklyn couple proudly showcased their assortment of gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookies, and we ate it up. At the time, we only had room to sample one cookie, but that soft, cakey, sweet black and white was enough to put this baker on our best new dairy-free products list for this year. We’ve since sampled their crunchy chocolate chips, and a full review is on the way. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also gluten-free and nut-free.
Bare Coconut Chips – Coconut is still hot, and chips of all sorts were the rage, but these were a surprise love. Perfectly light, crispy, crunchy and full of amazing flavor. Another one that we hope to review in full soon. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also gluten-free and it may be nut-free and soy-free (need another look at the packaging!). Select varieties are vegan, but at least one contains honey.
Immaculate Baking Co. Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookie Dough – For those of us who eat wheat, this new cookie dough is to die for!! Everyone who tried the baked cookies raved… and I do mean everyone. With thousands of other products calling, I swooned over this pure indulgence and its buttery deliciousness for a good 10 minutes, and later in the show, had multiple people bring up this exact product as a show favorite. These may be “just” dairy-free.
So Delicious Dairy Free Cococcinos – Though I’m not a big coffee drinker myself, our two coffee tasters reported these as sweet and scrumptious. Available in both Latte and Mocha flavors, these coconut milk-based drinks are sure to hit the market with a splash. A full review coming on these very soon. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
Beanfield’s Ranch Tortilla Chips – Had they offered us full-sized bags of this delicious new flavor, we would have found a way to safely shield them in our luggage – they were worth the space! Alas, a single-serve was all we got, but it was enough to know that we had found a new love. A full review soon (we hope!). Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
Cacoco Superfood Drinking Chocolate – This full-bodied delight was hand-crafted with care (the owners were notably proud of their creation) and high quality ingredients like cacao butter, carob (yes!), lucuma, and spices. Somehow it all married beautifully into a luxurious tasting experience. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
Nut Balls – We were a bit too full to sample the Nut Burgers, too, but all are made with the same formula and the Balls were generously-sized and beyond fantastic. We shy away from faux meats, but these were just darn good eats that weren’t pretending to be anything but delicious. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan and gluten-free.
Ian’s Chicken Tenders – Whole grain with a little kick, this is a dinner the whole family will love and ask for. They use whole breast meat in these tenders and coat them with gluten-free grains that have an everyone-friendly flavor. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
Nemi Chia – Make no mistake, I’m actually a bit annoyed by the chia seed boom. The chia drinks are slimy, and quite repulsive in my opinion. However, this little company has created a “spoonable” chia made with coconut milk and almond milk that hits the sweet spot. It has a delightful yogurt-like consistency, and a wonderful “just sweet” flavor. I sampled the Plain, but they said their Fruit on the Bottom flavors are getting accolades from many tasters. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Hail Merry Cookie Dough and Lemon Raw Macaroons – There were many new bars at the show, none that truly grabbed us beyond “good”, but I feel like Hail Merry macaroons do cross over into that healthy snack category, and their two new flavors were awesome. More details on these later when we do a full review. Beyond dairy-free: This product is also vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
Allergies? Always check with the manufacturer if potential cross-contamination of an ingredient is a concern for your health. Also, check the packaging – ingredients are subject to change, especially with newer products.
Availability? Some of these products are out now, some will be rolling out in the months ahead. I’ve linked up to their websites where you can get more information, inquire, and in some cases, purchase.
Nutrition? We all have differing opinions of what is healthy and what is right for our individual needs and lifestyles. Several of the above are “indulgences” for me, but definitely worth sharing (these are our honest opinions and favorites!). I’ve included some dietary notes above, but choose what is best for your own body and mind.