We’re back with Part 3 of our NEW Takes on Old Favorites. Up this round? Soda, Juices, and Bars!
Drinks: Say it ain’t Soda
Haters gonna hate, and NEW haters are all about bringing down the big soda companies in favor of more natural sodas, lower-calorie sweeteners, kombucha, and accompanying hybrids, and other NEW soda alternatives.
Have a SIPP organic soda is self-proclaimed “eco-chic soda sophistication.” With expertly layered, bright flavors like Lemon Flower and Ginger Blossom, we’re on board. Organic Fair soda syrups bring an upscale, old-school soda fountain vibe to make any at-home Soda Stream owner feel like a 1950’s soda fountain mixologist extraordinaire. Flavors include the usual suspects like Kola, Ginger Ale, Orange, Cherry Cola, and the more avant-garde Lavender Lemon Bomb Lemonade.
Raw and Organic Live Kombucha soda takes on many of the same well-loved flavors, adding Limon, Doctor, and Ginger. “Wait,” you’re thinking, “kombucha soda?!” That’s right! With bubbles and just the right amount of tang from kombucha and sweetness from stevia, this fantastically fun, incredibly imaginative beverage is an absolute must-drink!
For those straight-laced kombucha drinkers, Health-Ade Kombucha is the newest mover in this increasingly saturated space. Health-Ade crafts seasonal flavors like pink lady apple, plum, and California grape with market-fresh juice for a delightfully bright and inviting daily kombucha.
We want Som-more! Continuing this tangy trend, drinking vinegars are popping up left and right. Pok Pok Som’s dose-your-own drinking vinegar concentrate plays well in any number of tempting cocktails, or simply mixed with soda or water. Bold, zesty, amazingly vibrant and aromatic – all 8 flavors are hands-down winners in their own right.
Genki-Su’s Japanese drinking vinegar is contrastingly light and refreshing. Pop a bottle of Asian Pear, Cranberry, or Shiso (a Japenese herb) for an uplifting experience any time of day.
Love Birch? You should. This just-launched, wonderfully invigorating, birch sap based drink is a game changer, prized by herbal practitioners and packed with health benefits.
Bonus: Not present as a vendor at Expo West, but certainly making the rounds, Silk Road Soda’s Organic Mediterranean Refresher more than deserves an honorary place on this must-drink drill-down.
Juices: Juice Couture
What’s haute on the juice scene this year? Bright colors, bold designs, fantastically fresh, wonderfully satiating. NEW juices were around each and every corner at the show. So, I asked myself, If I were stuck on an island and could only choose three to take along, what would they be?
1.) Daily Greens cold-pressed juices take the cake. Biased, I admit, since my favorites are towards veggie-heavy beverages, but no one can deny these bottles pack a pretty punch – 6 pounds of raw, leafy greens and 9 servings of fruit and veg in each serving.
2.) Garden of Flavor is next on the must-haves list. Fun, colorful design; strong flavors; vast assortment to fit every palate. No matter what your go-to-juice is, you just can’t go wrong with Garden of Flavor’s cold-pressed diversity.
3.) Urban Remedy – but only if I can snag their killer PB&J meal replacement shake. And/or hang out with their spokeswoman Cindy Crawford for a day or two.
Bonus: Are you ready to rummmbbbllleeee? For that extra energy boost, I’d choose to sustain myself, hands-down, on the hungry-fighting, ultra-healthy Rumble super-shake.
Bars: No Holds Barred
Remember when the only bars you could buy were strangely chewy, chalky PowerBars or soft and smooshy Quaker Oats “granola” bars? Erase those old bar associations – the NEW bar revolution is all about breaking the mold, bringing incredible innovation to a sector previously thought to be wholly saturated. Out with the old, in with the NEW! From crickets to chickpeas, here are the most interesting new bar brands.
Meat EPIC, an animal protein-based bar taking a discerned culinary approach. From bison to beef, lamb to turkey, Epics compliments the meat’s flavor by treating each bar like a dinner you’d actually eat, like adding almonds and cranberry to turkey. Add a side of sweet potatoes, a bit of stuffing, and you’ve got yourself a Thanksgiving meal! All bars are wickedly high-protein, low glycemic-index, and beautiful packaged.
Watch out, beef jerky! Omnibar has arrived. This new bar artfully mix with their grass-fed beef with three sources of complex carbs, nuts, dried fruit, and exotic spices for sustained energy.
Want to eat crickets? I know you do! Get your paws on a Chapul Aztec, Chaco, or Thai bar now. The dried, ground-up cricket powder incorporated into the bar is undetectable, definitely not distinctly insect-tasting. Plus it provides plenty of iron, protein, B12, and is better for the planet than other animal-based proteins.
Savory Snack Bars: Sometimes sweets just won’t cut it. You’re on the go! You’re hungry! And that 3-course meal gum Violet Beauregarde enjoyed in the original Willy Wonka is still getting the blueberry-reaction kinks worked out. So what to do? Slow Food for Fast Lives comes to the rescue with 4 veggie-based, savory snack bar options – Thai, Moroccan, Indian, and California. They’re delicious, and probably the closest Violet Beauregarde moment you’ll get in this lifetime.
Age and Gender-Based Bars: Buying bars can be overwhelming. Time and again, there you are, a tiny speck in the miles-long aisles ridden with sports and energy bars. Which one to choose? Version Sports takes the guesswork out of it with their smart 16-product line. With just 2 flavors to choose from – either more chocolate-peanut or cinnamon-raisin – customers then select whichever bar states their age decade (20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s) and sex (female or male). Rather That’s it! The bars selected contain nutrients relevant to that customers’ body’s needs at that time. No guessing, no hemming and hawing in the bar aisles, just the perfectly formulated performance bar!
No-Nut Bars: How refreshing! A bar sans any kind of nut. The Good Bean packs their bars with fruits, seeds, and even chocolate for a low-calorie (130), nutrient-dense option. I’m obsessed.
No-Bar Bars: Whoever said a bar is the best form? Frontier Bites bucks the bar trend. Their small bite-sized squares of well-balanced fruit, nut, oats, and puffed rice are smartly secured inside of resealable pouches, making them the ultimate on-the-go quick, energizing bite!
Bounce Balls declare “delicious nutrition” in 100% natural energy ball form. Delicious, nutrition, fun, and sassy? Sold!
One-for-One Bar: The one-for-one social responsibility model was seen across the show – the aforementioned Yumbutter and Love Birch, Pitch Slam winners Soapbox Soaps, and now foraying into bars with KUTOA. KUTOA offers both healthy bars and kid’s snack squares; for each bar or pack sold, KUTOA gives nutrient packs, bars or packs, or healthy sandwiches to those in need. Delicious snacks giving back – an incredible win-win-win!
All the Rest: Here I plead the Granola Clause: so many NEW bars made a showing, picking the top few from a remaining multitude is a daunting and, on some level, irrelevant, exercise because of palate subjectivity. The NEW bar revolution has a little something for everyone – so, get up! Go ahead! Start tasting for yourself.
We’ve covered everything from beet yogurt to cricket bars, pickled okra to nut-based vegan “meat”, kombucha soda to chia muesli. What could possibly be left to discover? How about some of our favorite combos, reinvented with the NEW twist? Perfect. Coming right up in our fourth and final blog post covering our tops from Natural Expo West!