Healthy Family Expo 2017
March 26th 2017 was the 4th annual Healthy Family Expo in Vancouver with 200+ exhibitors offering healthy, active and eco-friendly products & services. Adults (16+) costs $15 admission and children 15 and younger get in for free. The price is fairly cheap considering how much samples are given out! Also the first 200 people through the door get Science World admission passes. ($23.25 value). I was interested in attending and discovering healthy products sold at grocery market that I may not be aware about. There were plenty of samples and discount services to eco-friendly and active services which will make up for the admission costs easily!
I would recommend going early as I showed up 15 minutes early and there was a long queue to get in. Luckily I got early access to get in first. Within the next 30 minutes the expo was packed! It was great chatting with the exhibitors and learning about their products.
Beansfield Bean & Rice Chips had a very satisfying crunch. One serving of these chips give you 5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. They are vegan, certified gluten-free, kosher, and Non-GMO project verified. Beanfield makes every chip flavour without corn or any of the eight ingredients recognized by the FDA as top food allergens. At the expo they had sea salt, black bean with sea salt, white bean with sea salt and pico de gallo. On their website they also list Jalapeno Nacho, and BBQ flavour! I personally enjoyed the crunch of these and would definitely pick some up the next time I'm at the grocery market.
When I first looked over I saw the colourful shots and thought this was kombucha! Famhouse culture sells gut shot packed with probiotic cultures using sauerkraut. They had 4 flavours available to try at the show, Classic, Garlic Dill, Ginger Beet, and Kimchi. They also have smoked jalapeno flavour listed on their website! These are all USDA certified Organic, Non-GMO project verified, plant based vegan, gluten free and dairy free. These were all very tasty, and my favourite was the ginger beet flavour! They also had sauerkraut in classic and flavoured variations. It was interesting but I feel like I've had better pickled cabbage.
Black River is a Canadian owned certified organic producer of unclarified pure fruit juices and juice blends. Their products are Premium Choice, 100% Pure, unfiltered, no sugar added, and no preservatives. At the expo they had apple+mango, apple+strawberry, and pure tart cherry juice. They also had sparkling versions of their juice blends for those that like a bit of bubble!
Deebee's TeaPops are certified organic, non-GMO, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and kosher. They offer 5 flavours, raspberry citrus, berries+cherries, pink lemonade, strawberry harvest, and chocolate fudge. At the expo they had mini versions and coupons for grabs! I tried the pink lemonade. This would be a nice treat on a hot summer day!
Smart Sweets is a company tackling one of the largest problems in our every day foods, sugar. Their candy is enriched with 24 grams of plant-based, GMO free, soluble fibre per bag and 2 grams of sugar. The soluble fibre slows the digestion so you stay satisfied for longer. Their soluble fibre is known for prebiotic and blood-sugar stabilizing properties which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and aid to improve mineral absorption. They taste pretty similiar to normal gummy bears. They'll make for a healthier alternative to the leading gummy bear candies on the market.
JusTea is a Canadian company working with a small-scale farmer-owned tea farm in Kenya. The tins come wrapped in Kenyan cloth and hand-carved Kenyan tea spoon. I believe usually the packaging is like the image on the left with the pink sticker but they're releasing these artisan style tins with the Kenyan cloth to help create more jobs there. I like their mission and purple tea is a new concept to me! I picked up a tin of the purple leaf and the kenyan ear grey tea. The two at the booth were super friendly and helpful with how to use the spoon. Don't just shove the spoon in there! You may end up damaging the leaves. Just leave the spoon near the edge and shake the can till some of it falls into the spoon. As for the purple tea, it actually doesn't brew purple. You have to add 2-3 drops of lemon to it and it changes colour. If you add too many drops of lemon apparently it changes to a pink colour! I'll need to try it later!
This was one of the first stalls I visited. I overheard COFFEE flavoured ice cream and immediately grabbed my attention. I was pretty tired and wanted something with caffeine! This ice cream is a dairy free ice cream made with coconut milk. It's free of fluten and priority allergens. They were featured on Dragon's Den too! It had the texture of ice cream and flavours for the Mocha was very nice! I would definitely pick this up at the grocery market.
Earth's Choice is a chocolate company committed to a more sustainable industry practices such as supporting ocean-friendly practices to eliminate by catch, protecting marine habitats and by offering earth-friendly packaging. At the expo they were giving out samples of dark, blueberry and milk chocolate. They were selling 3 bars for $10 and gave a Himalayan Pink Salt grinder ($7 value) with each purchase.
Live.Love.Eat is a small batch artisan granola made in Burnaby BC. At the show they had samples of their coconut, cinnamon raisin, and the works flavour. It's made with organic ingredients, no refined sugars and lots of love! They tasted pretty good and would go nice with yogurt! They'll also make a nice snack while watching Netflix.
Bob Ali Foods makes tasty hummus, tapenade and pesto locally in BC! The colours and flavours are unique and bold. I tried the Beet Tapenade, and Beet Horseradish Tapenade. Both was fantastic, and would buy them at the grocery market! They're only available at a handful of stores so check out their website for store listing and farmer market pop ups.
Veggemo is the first non-dairy beverage to originate from veggies. It is dairy free, gluten free, soy free, non GMO, cholesterol free, vegan and kosher. I tried the original and it was very good. It's got the smoothness and creaminess of 2% milk. It's rich in calcium, vitamin D and B12. My immediate thought was how would this steam for an espresso drink? I picked up 2 cartons to bring home with me!
Little Big Shot is a healthy energy drink that has no caffeine, or taurine. It uses ginseng as the healthy alternative. Since I woke up extra early and did not have my coffee, I had to try it. It did help wake me up a bit. Now is it as effective as redbull or espresso? Probably not but is healthier. It's supposedly safe for kids and pregnant women to drink. I'm a coffee lover so I don't think I'll be jumping off the caffeine ship anytime soon.
FreeYumm is a company from North Vancouver making allergy friendly cookies and bars in a dedicated allergen-free bakery to protect you, your family and friends living with food allergies. It's free of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat/gluten, soy, fish, shellfish, sulphites, and sesame. It's also a non-GMO verified project.
Brew Dr Kombucha is from Portland Oregon. They started off as a tea company named, Townshend's Tea Company. After 2 years of running their tea business they began to make kombucha at home. It was natural for them to use the tea offered at their tea house for their Kombucha. It comes in a variety of flavours such as citrus hops, ginger tumeric, clear mind (rosemary, peppermint, sage, dandelion)
King Island is a beverage company specializing in coconut water. I had a taste but I'm not too sure if I can really taste much of a quality improvement from the next brand selling coconut water. The boast their coconuts are all single origin from Thailand unlike other brands which may source from multiple countries. The result is suppose to be a more consistent taste.
Hippie Foods is a snack company producing veggie chips, gluten free granola, coconut chips and coconut clusters. They are a local company from BC. I only tried one of the veggie chips as I was pretty full by the end of the expo. It's got a good bite to it and is a twist to traditional chips.
Organic Meadow is a group of 6 organic grain farmers from Ontario. At the expo they were showcasing organic Kefir in a variety of flavours, blueberry, strawberry and vanilla bean. It tastes like drinkable yogurt with 10 organic cultures in it. On their website, they also sell a range of dairy products from milk to ice cream to cheese.
Quesava Kitchen is a gluten free vegan bakery. At the expo they had cheese buns and perogies to try.
Kaslo another local company to BC caught my eye with the word sourdough. The pasta is made with natural sourdough culture. Its definitely a very innovative idea but from the pastas I tasted there, it didn't really have any of the sourdough characteristics I was expecting to taste. I eat a lot of sourdough bread so it's kinda strange it tastes like normal pasta.
Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Tea created a new product in the western market! Aside from a delicious product, it solves a major problem in the coffee industry. Wize won product of the year at the speciality food expo 2017, best new product at the world tea awards 2015, and Product of the year BC Food Association 2016. Now this product has been on the market since 2014 and it's local company in BC but I have never seen this product in any local coffee shop I visit. It's not like the product is gimmicky either. it actually taste really smooth. I tried all the flavours they offered and bought the Original to bring home. I'm going to be ordering more of this for sure.
Kind offers bars and healthy grains snackable clusters. They believe that if you can't pronounce the ingredients it shouldn't go into your body and pantry. Their snacks are made from whole nuts, fruits and whole grains.
Neil Brothers is a Canadian company from Ontario offering tasty snacks such as cheese puffs, popcorn, chips and sauces. At the expo I tried the cheese puff, popcorn, chips. For the chips I had pink salt, montreal steak spice, Vij's Delhi-licious (Curry), and Srirachup (Spicy Ketchup) flavour. I left with 8 bags of chips @_@ I've been buying their chips for a while and the deal was just too good at the expo. it was 4 bags for $10 and includes a re-usable grocery bag! They also had sauces to try but I didn't get a chance to give it a go.
L’Ancêtre is a group of dairy farmers from Quebec who worked together to improve their production methods in an environmentally frieldly way. They farm organically and produce Canadian organic cheese, and butter.
Jilly V's Jump Starter is packed with yogurt, oats and chia topped with low sugar fruit compote. This is a quick and easy on the go snack for those who don't have time to make breakfast. You probably won't know these are healthy!
Wise Bites is a bakery and distributor based in BC making cookie bars, cookies, muffins and small size treats that are vegan, gluten free, and kosher certified. That snacks are supposedly allergy friendly of the top 11 most common allergens.
Seasnax Chomperz are bite size seaweed wrapped in rice. They are the first NON-GMO Project Verified roasted seaweed snack and use olive oil, not corn or canola oil which are at risk for GMO. I tried original and onion. Both were very tasty but my opinion is probably biased as I grew up eating roasted seaweed as snacks.
Below is some items I took home. The FitBite Cassava root chips is another local company in BC. It has a nice crisp crunch to it. It went perfect with beer! The cassava root provides twice the fiber as potato chips while having 40% less fat. It's also non gmo certified and gluten free. These health benefits don't compromise in texture, and flavour. I wouldn't mind having these over potatoes chips any day of the week. I took home the sea salt and spicy flavour chips!
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF HEALTHY FAMILY EXPO 2017:
The expo has tons of products that everyone can sample. The entrance fee ($15) is inexpensive considering they give out bags of goodies to people coming in to take home and the amount of samples you can try. It is a good way to experience a ton of new products and finding for yourself what you like and don't like. My experience this year was a positive one. I got to learn about so many brands and products I had no idea about. And maybe I can be more open to vegan and gluten free products too. They can actually taste pretty good! I would definitely be interested in visiting again next year.