expo west 2018

Ever feel overwhelmed by the aisles at Whole Foods or Erewhon? Try hitting the floor at Expo West – one of the world’s largest natural products events that happens right here in L.A. each spring (where else?). 

TCM contributor and wellness devotee, Alexa Gray, is rounding up this short list of products from Expo West 2018 that meet our Chalkboardy criteria: responsible, functional, pushing the envelope on eco, high-quality and well-designed…

Expo West 2018 attracted more than 85,000 attendees and showcased a number of innovative and mission-based brands that caught our eye. Our selections for this year’s round-up feature companies with the best taste, quality, design, innovation and, most-importantly, mission.

Companies are creating value and meaning in the consumer’s experience by committing to positive change. So whether you are buying a cleaning product, yummy snacks or a gift for someone you love, this list features a curation of brands that we support. They are companies who believe in style, quality and also take action to make a more conscious and beautiful world.

big food goes transparent: Annie’s Homegrown Honey Bunny Grahams, Limited Edition This marks a moment in history when large-scale brand, Annie’s (General Mills) commits to a fully transparent product and a better future for soil health.

We all probably know about Annie’s. If you are a mama, your child is probably one of many fans of this healthy sweet cracker. Launching in a limited edition 2018 box, Annie’s Bunny Grahams are part of a widespread advertising campaign that uses the entire package to tell the story of the sustainable farmers who grow the wheat and oats. The initiative is designed to spark conversation about how their ingredients are grown using regenerative farming practices and to bring the consumer closer to the hands that grew the food. | CHECK OUT

plant based plastics: Repurpose Plastic lasts forever, but Repurpose makes straws from plants — their products can be composted in 90 days. This is the first biodegradable bendy straw on the market and it launched this year at Expo West. Some of us have a need for our straws. We may not be able to explain it, but there is a satisfying element to drinking down a nice cold refreshing beverage with a straw. Unfortunately, straws are typically made from plastic, but now we can enjoy them without hurting the environment. In the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the entire 20th century. Made with soy-based inks and BPA-free plastic, Repurpose is a sustainable tableware company you can be proud to bring out to any party. | CHECK OUT

One For One Cereal: The Soulfull Project One in six people in America face hunger. At first glance, the Soulfull Project is a dynamic warm breakfast cereal featuring rye, oats, quinoa, chia and flax. Looking more closely, this certified B-Corp company has a unique buy-one-give-one program. For every serving purchased they provide another box to a local food bank. This hearty grains and seeds multigrain cereal is non-GMO, low in sugar and is a food you can consume with joy, knowing you’re helping to nourish someone in need.| CHECK OUT

Gut-Friendly Botanicals: Improper Goods We are such suckers for good packaging, but also for high quality, family-owned companies. Genevieve makes old-fashioned bitters and uses 100% organic cane sugar paired with natural, sustainable and fair-trade ingredients. Our favorite is the The Bitter Housewife Grapefruit Bitters and RAFT Botanicals Hibiscus Lavender Syrup combo pack, which allows you to create an epic floral and citrus drink . Complete with a recipe card and guide to craft cocktail making, this perfect cocktail kit is a simple way to become your own mixologist at home in style, without fake ingredients or syrups.

Probiotics go beyond: Counter Culture Cleaning products with friendly bacteria? Yep. Most cleaning products tout their ability to kill 99.99% of germs. Counter Culture, on the other hand, is a revolutionary product that actually has bacteria in it. It’s not just any bacteria but beneficial bacteria, AKA probiotics. This Australian-made cleaning spray is changing the way we think about cleaning. It has purified water, 13 probiotic cultures, brown sugar, mineral powder, sea salt and essential oil. After testing their products against other cleaning supplies, they found by adding in the good bacteria, it actually had more long-term impact of crowding out the bad bacterial. While the other cleaning products killed the bad bacteria, the bad bacteria came back even stronger in the end. The way we think about adding these little creatures into our diets can also be applied to our home care. We are a product of our environment, and this simple solution may be the best upgrade for supporting a truly healthy home. | CHECK OUT

ecosystem friendly: Crown Maple Syrup This maple syrup is a prime example of how a business can protect the forest. Robb and Lydia Turner’s story starts while they were looking for a family retreat in the Hudson Valley. After coming across Madava Farms, with its lush grove of both sugar and red maple trees, they saw an opportunity to establish roots and “tap” into maple syrup production. They’ve established themselves as one of the leading artisan producers of delicious maple syrup, while also protecting and enriching the forests and its wildlife. The act of harvesting maple syrup thrives off a healthy ecosystem, which incentivizes this business to do right by the land. Enjoy some of our favorites like bourbon-barrel aged and vanilla flavored syrup, which is a perfect match for a healthy sweetener option! | CHECK OUT

Same, but different: Masienda Tortillas Masienda was originally heirloom corn bought and sourced for Michelin chefs and gourmet restaurants. Now they bring the same quality food – which is also ethically sourced and made from farmers in Oaxaca – to the average consumer. These non-GMO, gluten-free, three-ingredient, hand-harvested heirloom corn tortillas are changing the food-quality game. Masienda is connecting the dots between quality sourcing and the larger market to bring a nutritious and authentic tortilla to the plate. Supporting heirloom foods is a way to enjoy the highest quality product but also support a rich and vibrant agricultural network.

sea buckhthorn + wild berries: Goodio Raw Chocolate – Goodio offers the best packaging + best chocolate you can find. “Chocolate can be healthy when it’s done in the right way,” says founder Jukka Peltola. Goodio is a bean-to-bar chocolate company based in Helsinki. It’s stoneground at a low temperature with rich and creamy flavor. They source wild blueberries, sea buckthorn and mint from their local farmers and sweeten their chocolate with low-glycemic coconut palm sugar. This is one of the most delicious, decadent and healthy chocolates on the market. It’s wrapped in a gorgeous package with biodegradable wrapping, which makes it a great for your chocolate connoisseur with an eye for design. | CHECK OUT

Non-Gmo + Giving back: Live Love Pop – Live Love Pop is a delicious and mission-based popcorn. When Lauren Brundage Mariel found out that her mother had developed a rare form of cancer in 2013, Lauren quit her job and started Live Love Pop, so she could spend more time with her mom and give back. The popcorn is gourmet, non-GMO, gluten-free and made with really simple and delicious ingredients. Lauren also started the #SelflessSnacking campaign, where Live Love Pop donates a percentage of sales to a specific charity (including the breast cancer research foundation) for each individual popcorn flavor, like Honey BBQ, Truffle and Lime Fresco. The next time you’re curling up to watch a movie, enjoy this purposeful and delicious snack. | CHECK OUT

Traditional local ingredients: Hawaii Ola Kona COFFEE LEAF Tea Have you ever had Kona coffee before? Well, Ola Hawaii makes a tasty and nutritious tea out of its leaves. You are literally taking a sip of Hawaii when you consume this drink, and it’s all sourced from organic and ethically grown ingredients from the islands. According to the company, “Noni is grown in the Puna region of Hawaiʻi, the sea salt is harvested from the coast of Molokaʻi, the ginger is grown on Kauaʻi, and the honey is made by hardworking Big Island bees.” Purchasing this refreshing tea supports Hawaii and the future generations of farmers on the islands. | CHECK OUT

How did last year’s trends stack up?
Check out our fave products from Expo West 2017 here.

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