Alisa Fleming ~ I love March. The largest natural products expo in the country, Expo West, occurs every year in March. Though I have yet to attend in person, I enjoy the fact that just before, during, and after this event tons of new food products are released, inevitably giving the dairy-free community some fantastic new options.
2011 was no exception … in fact it may have been one of the biggest years yet for the special diet community. Natural Products Expo West 2011 swelled to record breaking numbers with 3533 exhibits and more than 58,000 attendees. And believe me, the vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free industries were well represented.
This week, I have over 60 new dairy-free products or product lines to introduce to you. No doubt my reports will be missing at least a few of the newly introduced milk-free products, but I have gathered together the “big” ones and even many of the “small” up and comers, and I think many of you will be pleased, if not downright excited …
But, because there are so many new products, rather than overwhelm you, we’ve dedicated this week on Go Dairy Free to a five part series on Expo West (a dozen new products per day!). Let’s get started, shall we? Feast your eyes on Part 1 of the new dairy-free products that will emerge on grocery store shelves this year:
Rudi’s Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns, Hot Dog Rolls, and Pizza Crusts (www.rudisglutenfree.com) – This long-standing bakery is making huge strides in the gluten-free market, and the new products they introduced at Expo West received rave reviews. Like all products from Rudi’s Bakery, the hamburger buns, hotdog rolls, and pizza crusts are dairy-free. However, these gluten-free versions do contain eggs.
Silk Pure Coconut All Natural Coconutmilk (www.silkpurecoconut.com) – On the heels of releasing their Silk Pure Almond™ almondmilk, Silk has created competition in the coconut milk beverage market. Silk Pure Coconut is calcium-fortified, containing 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk, and it is also fortified with vegetarian-friendly vitamin D and vitamin B12. It is available in two flavors, Original and Vanilla, which are already rolling out to grocery stores nationwide. Rumor has it, this is a very rich and creamy milk alternative.
Cool Cups Natural Snacks (www.cool-cups.com) – Vegans rejoice! The gelatin-free alternative to grab-and-go Jell-O has arrived. Cool Cups are sold in Whole Foods markets and Specialty Markets throughout the U.S., and they boast an impressive profile. They are gluten free, fat free, dairy free, GMO free, nut free (nut free facility!) contain no artificial colors or preservatives, are 100% vegan, and are high in Vitamin C. At present, you can find these 95 calorie snacks in Orange, Peach Mango, and Black Cherry.
environment. Visit www.cool-cups.com for a full list of nutritional information or to learn more about Cool Cup gels.
Earth Balance® Organic Coconut Spread (www.earthbalancenatural.com) – Earlier this year, Earth Balance rolled out their Organic Soymilk line, but in my opinion, this will be their new product of the year. This product is made from a similar formula to Earth Balance's buttery spread, with organic extra virgin coconut oil replacing soybean oil. Soy-free and vegan, the Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread can replace butter in baking and cooking, and should be tasty atop toast and steamed vegetables (we can’t wait to try it!). This product is organic, verified by the Non-GMO Project and is more affordable than shelf-stable coconut oil.
Earth Balance® MindfulMayo™ (www.earthbalancenatural.com) – Unable to stop at one, or even two new products for 2011, Earth Balance has also come out with their own new “refrigerated dressing and sandwich spread” – aka vegan mayonnaise. MindfulMayo is available in Original, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic, and should work well as an egg-free replacement for regular mayonnaise. I haven’t seen it in stores yet, but it sounds like it has already hit the distribution channels.
Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (www.justinsnutbutter.com) – Oh my word, I had the chance to trial this heavenly delight at another event. If this doesn’t become a Justin’s best seller, then I will be shocked. The chocolate is closer to a semi-sweet than a true dark, making it both kid- and adult-friendly in my opinion. I was kind enough to share with my husband, and he proclaimed these “better than the original.” Amazingly, they are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.
Love Grown Granolas (www.lovegrownfoods.com) – Love Grown Foods has already made its way to stores like Whole Foods, but they were still featured as a “new product” at Expo West. Started with the love of a young, health-oriented, and inspired couple from Colorado, this brand of granola features gluten-free oats, and a host of all natural ingredients. The granola is available in five varieties: Cocoa Goodness and Simply Oats are the new comers, while Apple Walnut Delight, Raisin Almond Crunch, and Sweet Cranberry Pecan are the base line. All are gluten-free and dairy-free, but strict vegans take note, they do use honey.
Greek-Style So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt (www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com) – For all of the healthy dieters out there who are dairy-free, except for Greek yogurt, Turtle Mountain has your solution. Under their So Delicious coconut line (vegan, dairy-free, AND soy-free!) they have released “Greek-Style Cultured Coconut Milk” in four flavors: plain, chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry!
So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage – Holiday Flavors (www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com) – We won’t be seeing these new flavors until later this year, but Turtle Mountain is generating some early buzz by announcing the upcoming release of seasonal Nog and Chocolate Mint Coconut Milk Beverage varieties. We’re assuming these will be soy-free too!
Honest CocoaNova in Mocha Cacao (www.honesttea.com) – This is an interesting one; brewed cacao beans to make a chilled tea. CocoaNova has just 50 calories in the whole bottle, but 1/8 the caffeine of a cup of coffee. According to Honest Tea, you get the antioxidants and theobromine (50mg) found naturally in dark chocolate. Nancy at Gluten Freeville says, “Think Yoo-hoo meets tea. Light and refreshing.” Honest CocoaNova is of course dairy free, gluten free, and organic.
CrunchMaster 7 Ancient Grain Crackers in Sea Salt (www.crunchmaster.com) – This is a finicky company for dairy-free consumers, since they almost always use dairy in their seasonings. But the “plain” flavors like their new “Hint of Sea Salt” are fair game, and this new variety boasts seven, gluten-free whole grains – brown rice, sorghum, quinoa, sesame, millet, flax and amaranth.
Kim & Scott’s Gluten Free Soft Pretzel (www.kimandscotts.com) – Alas, Kim & Scott make loads of incredible soft pretzel flavors, but only the plain is dairy-free. And while they still haven’t made their cinnamon roll pretzel sans milk ingredients (despite our begging) they have expanded that “plain” line to include a new gluten-free soft pretzel! These can be found in the freezer section – they are a quick heat and serve snack.
One dozen down, and over 4 dozen to go! Stay tuned for more new products from Expo West as our five part series continues this week …
Article by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org, blogger at Alisa Cooks, and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.