Five interesting items from the Natural Foods Expo

September 21, 2012|By Andrea K. Walker

Dozens of companies are in town pushing their products at the National Products East Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center.

I took a strolll around the humongous showroom floor checking out the latest in natural foods, body products and households goods.

Here are five things I found interesting at the show:

1. Happy Squeeze Food got its start selling organic baby food in a squeeze pouch and is now expanding its target audience. They are rolling out new flavors that go after older kids and even adults. They say their products is a good way to get the older sect to eat more vegetables. I tried a blend of blueberry apple & carrot that was suprisingly tasty. One pouch had just 60 calories, 2 g of fiber and 1/2 cup of fruit. Didn't taste processed at all.

2. Chobani Greek Yogurt is rolling out a flavors and smaller portion sizes in January. New 100-calorie yogurt containers will be sold in a pack of four. They come in new funky flavors including fig with orange zest, caramel with pineapple, coffee with dark chocolate chips and raspberry with dark chocolate chips.

The greek yogurt company is also introducing what they call perfectly paired, which come with separate compartments for mixing flavors. For instance, the honey low-fat yogurt with banana will house the honey separately from the yogurt.

3. Ethnic Foods - Organic food is becoming more diverse with everything from Thai Rice to sweet potato pie coming in a natural or organic form.

Hearthy Foods has individual-sized, gluten free, soul food pies that include pecan pie, sweet potato pie and cheesecake apple pie.

The company Tasty Bites was passing out free samples of the Indian dish Channa Masala. It's line of ethnic foods also included Thai Lime Rice, Tandoor Rice and Curry Lentils.

Another company was sampling tasty Mango Lassi with probiotics to help with digestion.

4. Popcorn - Popcorn was in abundance on the showroom floor. And we're not talking your basic movie theater variety. This popcorn came in non-traditional flavors such as peanut butter and chocolate; herb, buttermilk and seatsalt and maple. One vendor suggested I try his dark chocolate chili pepper popcorn with a glass of red wine.

5. The owner of Suzanne's Kitchen Pepper Jelly grew up watching her mom and friend grind jalapenos through a meat grinder for their hot pepper jelly recipe. They wore gloves to protect their hands from the heat of the peppers.

When Stephanie Glover's mother died she made a few batches and friends started asking for more. The pepper jelly business was born. Glover and other family members created new flavors including one with habanero peppers for more of a kick. The name: purgatory and hell fire.

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