Newcomers and Makeovers

The natural evolution of naturals is evolving faster than ever.  There are new products to buzz about and old standbys that are getting makeovers. I was on the lookout for both at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim March 6–8, 2015. 

Here is what I found:

Shrooming: The naturals industry is more hip than hippy now and the same goes for mushrooms.  This fungi is showing up in new formats.  Mushroom Matrix turns medicinal mushrooms into powders for improved immunity, memory, better hair, skin and nails, etc. Mushrooms are widely used around the world for therapeutic benefits. Since they are not for flavor, they disappear into soups, dressings, hummus, eggs and sauces and act as a healthy, creamy thickening agent.

Beans get better:  You don’t have to cook them or depend on a can anymore to get more protein-rich beans into your diet.  Better Bean makes fresh, ready-to-go bean-based meals.  Snack Out Loud makes totally scrumptious crunchy bean snacks.  Biena chickpeas are sold in Target.

Edgier veggies: You don’t have to be vegetarian to want great vegetarian options.  There are more soy-free meat-like substitutes to choose from than ever.  British movie mogul and philanthropist Lord Rank led the search for a new source of protein in the 1960s to address concerns about our ability to nutritionally sustain the growing population.  What he found was a fungi-based protein fermented like yogurt and sauerkraut, that ounce for ounce has as much fiber as broccoli and as much protein as an egg with a satisfying bite, texture and taste that leaves both vegetarians and carnivores feeling full. Now a popular UK brand, Quorn offers this protein to the U.S. market in the form of foods that Americans like to eat like burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets and can be served in chili, pasta, tacos and sandwiches. 

Probiotic wars: People are taking probiotics for different reasons and everyone should be taking a probiotic for something. This year, we will mark the start of the mass awareness of why and which ones.  With fortified cultures that pack a whopping 50 billion biomes per serving, Bio-K+ teaches people about boosting gut health and immunity to new heights with their range of luxury probiotics. Probiotics like BioK+ are showing up in everything from cocktails at trendy LA restaurants to beauty treatments in celebrities’ favorite spas. 

More fermentation: Quorn and BioK+ are part of an overall growing trend in fermented ingredients.  I’m happy to see more kombucha and sauerkraut like Farmhouse Culture and an entire selection of fermented salsas from Wild BrineMarukome’s easy liquid miso is great for DIY fermented soups and flavorful foods.  

Prickly waters: New sources of water are boosting hydration and not crimping flavor. The pricklier the plant, the better the water. Made from the prickly pear cactus, True Nopal Cactus Water is the new front-runner in the growing plant water category. And it manages to taste better than its other plant water counterparts without any added sugars.

Chewable juices: Harvest Soul is starting a chewtrition revolution with some tasty juices that also include  nuts, berries and seeds that you can literally sink your teeth into while drinking your juice.

Tea takes an adventure: This category is not just good for soothing and healing. Tea companies like Pukka are waking up our taste buds and shaking up the category with unexpected fusions. 

Gluten-free authenticity: Everyone is trying to jump in the game but the original players have both the innovation on taste and the research to back up the claims.  Dr. Schär has been Europe’s leading innovator & manufacturer of gluten-, GMO- and preservative-free products for over 30 years. This year Schär launched a new game-changing gluten-free croissants using flavorful and nutritionally-dense ancient grains such as buckwheat, millet and quinoa. People who have been deprived of this buttery, flaky, crusty treat were excited. 

Brands that project credibility beyond food: While gluten-free is all the rage, The Lancaster Food Company produces fresh, USDA Certified Organic breads and delicious seed and nut spreads with great credibility and pride. Royal Ridge Fruit has excellent fruit, a fascinating family legacy and a history of charitable good works.

High protein foods: PlantFusion’s organic powder scores a perfect 10.0 on the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score. RxBars offer the right balance of high-quality egg white protein, fats, carbs, and natural fiber.

Living with allergies: Gluten isn’t the only allergy being talked about.  Another legacy brand, Freedom Foods has been providing health cereals to allergy-conscious consumers for close to 20 years. 

Naturally sexy: I was happy to see the Sinclair Institute at the show bringing more natural products for a healthier sex life. 

Less pause for menopause: One in three women claim to battle symptoms.  Diet, exercise and new supplements are squashing symptoms faster and with less side-affects. EstroG-100 is an all-natural, over-the-counter supplement that provides menopausal symptom relief with zero side effects. It safely and effectively minimizes the severity of the toughest common menopausal symptoms (i.e. hot flashes, dizziness, mood swings, insomnia, vaginal dryness and fatigue.) EstroG-100 is not only a much safer alternative to its outdated competitor, black cohosh, it is also proven to work 6 times faster than any other botanical option available, providing noticeable results within 7-14 days.

Coming from Korea: Keep an eye on this country for cutting-edge health and beauty trends.  It’s where EstroG-100 got its start and where popular sheet masks like masque Bar hail from. 

Natural health and beauty products getting better than conventional alternatives:  Primal Pit Paste is a great example of a truly natural product that actually works and it’s a deodorant!  blueNutra’s aromatherapy products are fantastic but they don’t get “tree-huggy” about it. They offer the best essential oils at the best prices. WF

Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives.  A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at  You may also visit

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 3/31/15