Friday, 11 March 2011 11:07

Eco-Vegan Products at Natural Products Expo West: Thursday, March 10, 2011

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It's the moment I've been waiting for - Natural Products Expo West! After my fabulous time there last year, I couldn't wait to go again. And with all of my new eco-vegan standards I have been chomping at the bit to discover companies that meet my criteria, which is:

  • vegan
  • organic (not concerned with certification)
  • minimally processed (ideally not at all)
  • eco packaging (minimal, recyclable, or truly compostable)
I also prefer products that are:
  • made locally (in United States or ideally in same state as manufacturer)
  • gluten-free
  • soy-free
  • little or no added sweeteners (especially sugar and agave nectar)
  • little or no oil
Now this all may seem like a lot, but I know there are companies out there meeting all or most of this criteria, and I aim to find them. You can visit many blogs to learn about eco or vegan products at Expo West, but I am to show you the healthiest and most sustainable options.

Here are my favorite eco-vegan products from March 10th at Natural Products Expo West.

LunchSkins ~ reusable cloth pouches for sandwiches and snacks, made from high-quality European cotton fabric, coated with a food-safe polyurethane liner (lead, Bisphenol-A and phthalate-free). Designed, printed and hand-sewn right here in the United States by a socially responsible, family-owned company. Tags printed on 100% recycled paper. 

New Earth SuperConscious Living: Banana Walnut Bites & Chipotle Chia Crackers ~ excellent tasting super healthy raw snacks. Organic and free of gluten and soy. Plastic packaging.

Fabe's Organic Macaroons (gluten-free) ~ everyone is raving about these and now I know why! Moist and very flavorful, and sweetened with rice syrup. Plastic packaging.

Mama Jess' Bean Good & Garden Good pasta sauces ~ organic and sugar-free in glass jars, these sauces tasted so fresh and bad they're impossible to find online (I'll have to get their website this weekend)

CalNaturale wine ~ an organic, vegan wine from California in an eco-friendly cartons (Tetra Pak). Some plastic used.

Earth Balance Mindful Mayo & Coconut Spread ~ both organic products are really yummy. Mayo is in glass and spread is in plastic, and they're pretty processed. But they're a great, convenient alternative to dairy-based products.

Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta ~ organic, gluten-free, soy-free, and very tasty. Great texture - just like wheat-based pasta. From Canada. Comes in a plastic bag.

Nature Factor Organic Young Coconut Water ~ World's first certified organic coconut water - excellent taste. From Edward's & Son's (an almost entirely vegan company). Comes in a can instead of the typical carton.

Dr. In The Kitchen Flackers ~ the people behind these yummy raw, organic flax seed crackers are incredibly sweet and caring.

ecoVegan ~ no, this isn't my brand. It's a separate company that makes really yummy GMO-free meat alternatives and the owner is incredibly sweet. Been meaning to post my review since the summer - I'll get to it as soon as possible I promise!

Sunshine Burger ~ organic, gluten-free, soy-free and tasty.

Kootenay Kitchen by North of 49 Naturals ~ organic, handmade, gluten-free, vegan pâté- sooooo good! Family-owned business, ingredients locally grown in Canada.

Mary's Gone Crackers ~ excited to see their vegan "bread" crumbs (made from their gluten-free cracker crumbs). Also love that their samples have coupons on the back, so there's no extra waste.

Pacari chocolate ~ really delicious earthy flavors, some raw. Sweetened with evaporated cane juice. Passionate about sustainability. The first single-origin organic chocolate made in entirely in Ecuador. Comes wrapped in foil and inside a box.

NibMor chocolate ~ completely vegan, organic, gluten-free, and free of refined sugar (although they use agave nectar). All of their chocolate bars are over 90% raw. Their moto is "as close to nature as it gets" 0 can't say I fully agree, but I love what they're doing.

Green & Black's dark chocolate ~ I've had this many times before, but for some reason it really tasted great a the Expo - one of the best dark chocolates I've ever heard.

Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ~ these are incredible: organic, gluten-free, in sustainable packaging. For my full opinion check out my review from January.

Note about chocolates ~ companies now have to list milk as an ingredients even if it's less than .1%. This is the case if a company makes both dark and milk chocolates and processes them on the same machine, even if cleaned in between. Green & Black says on their website, 
"by definition vegan products contain no ingredients derived from animals within the recipe and this still remains true for Green & Black’s dark chocolate. However as our dark chocolate is made on the same production line as our milk chocolate there is some risk of cross contact. As a result, the desire for clearer allergen labelling now conflicts with the vegan statement and we have reluctantly decided to remove it from our labelling."
So if you start to see milk listed as a last ingredient on products you thought were vegan this is why. Personally, I'm OK with that trace amount, but if you have allergies or want to be 100% vegan than you probably want to buy from companies that do not use any milk in their facilities, which may be hard to find.

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