By: Jennifer Harris – Gwinnett Gluten-Free Food Examiner
Expo West is simply the best and the largest natural foods event in the United States. Each year the event grows in exhibitors and attendees and shows no signs of slowing down. One of the trends noted this year was the surge of vegan/gluten-free products, like bread, cheese, cheesecake, cookies, frozen desserts, macaroni and cheese, salad dressings, yogurt, etc.
Here are this Examiner’s top 20 gluten, dairy, and vegan product finds:
CoYo’s coconut milk yogurt hails from Australia and is made from coconut cream and natural flavors in four varieties: Natural, Mango, Mixed Berry, and Raw Chocolate. The berry and mango are incredibly creamy without a funny taste or texture and taste fantastic. This product debuted at Expo West 2014, but this was my first time trying it and color me impressed. Availability: In stores
Cosmo’s Dairy-Free Spicy Ranch is thick, rich, and mildly spicy. Made from coconuts, it works as a salad dressing, dip, and sandwich spread adding a nice kick to what would be ordinary. It does contain eggs, but is soy and nut free. Availability: Online for now
Daiya Foods, Inc. gets a nod for their new Cheezecakes and Cheezy Mac kits that are soy free and vegan. Available in three flavors, Deluxe Alfredo, Deluxe Cheddar, and Deluxe White Cheddar Veggie Medley, each kit comes with a bag of liquid cheezy sauce ready to be combined with cooked brown rice pasta.Their cheezecakes are also available in four flavors: New York, Chocolate, Key Lime, and Strawberry. Availability: Rolling into stores now
HomeFree Treat’s new Lemon Burst Cookies are free of everything, but flavor. All of the company’s products are free of: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, rice, sesame, and corn. The cookie, shaped like the inside of a lemon, are vegan, and kosher pareve with each cookie containing at least half a serving of whole grains. Bright with flavor and crunchy, these cookies are made to be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Availability: Online and in stores by summer
Field Roast Grain Meat Company’s new line of vegan Chao cheese slices is made from a combination of fermented chao (tofu) for seasoning and coconut oil and water as the base. It comes in three flavors and tastes good cold and melts nicely. The cheese is vegan, but it does contain soy. Availability: In stores now
Follow Your Heart unveiled vegan and soy-free cheese slices in four flavors: American, Provolone, Mozzarella, and Garden Herb. These cheeses also come in blocks for enjoying cold or shredding. A base of coconut oil and water is used to create cheese slices that can be enjoyed straight from the package. Availability: In stores now
Jackalope Good Food Company launched their grain free, sugar free, and vegan bread at the expo to rave reviews. It is nominated for a NEXTY by New Hope Media and its texture and flavor are like nothing experienced previously. Soft in the middle with a great crust these breads are available as a mix or premade sandwich bread and baguettes. Availability: Online ordering and working on distribution
Jolly Llama added Coconut Cream Pops in Dark Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Chip to their line of dairy-free frozen treats. These creamy pops, which contain only natural flavors, are made using coconut cream and free of peanuts and soy. Availability: Rolling out to stores by the summer
Liz Lovely’s new Cookie Truffles are soft baked cookies enrobed in chocolate. These cookies offer a complete texture experience from the soft cookie to the creamy chocolate and the crusty bottom each bite is a new discovery. Availability: Online ordering now and in stores soon
Maplegrove Foods added Mac Uncheddar to its Pastariso line that is soy free too. Brown rice pasta waits to be coated in un-cheese seasoning mix resulting in creamy and cheesy pasta without the cheese.
Nada Moo added Cookies & Creme to its line of non-dairy ice cream. Made with coconut milk and sweetened with agave nectar, their creamy desserts are appropriately sweet and layered with flavor that rivals dairy-based desserts. Availability: In stores now
Paleo Passion Pops incorporate superfoods and fruit (no added sugar) to create a pop that is truly a treat. The pops are made with natural ingredients and come in seven flavors: Apple Crip with Flax, Blueberry Pomegranate with Green Tea & Spinach, Chocolate Passion, Green Passion with Kale, Green Tea & Spinach, Orange Mango with Chia, Pineapple Ginger with Chia, and Strawberry Passion with flax. Availability: Online and select stores in the Northeast
Raw Foodz line of raw, paleo, organic, vegan, nut, and soy-free products include two cheese sauces and two buttery-style spreads made from all natural ingredients that deserve to make this list. These products don’t taste like butter or cheese sauce, but their ingredients form a tasty alternative that tantalizes the taste buds and leave one wanting more. Availability: In stores now
Rebel Kitchen introduced two flavors of Coconut Mylks (chocolate and coffee) sweetened with date nectar and loaded with creamy goodness. Availability: Online for now
So Delicious Dairy Free rolled out their new line of cashew milk frozen desserts made from cashew milk and cane syrup in five flavors: cappuccino, creamy cashew, salted caramel cluster, dark chocolate truffle, and snickerdoodle. This new line is much creamier than their almond or coconut based frozen desserts. Availability: In stores now
Steve’s Ice Cream’s frozen desserts are made from coconut cream and sweetened with organic sugar and agave. They offer sweet and spicy flavor combinations: blackberry honey, carrot habanero pepper, cold-brewed cinnamon coffee, dark chocolate salty caramel, mint cacao chip, and scotch chocolate. Speculoos cookie butter is a new addition and more dairy-free flavors are on the way. Availability: In stores now
Suncoast Gold’s macadamia milk comes with a seal of approval from Tess of The Blender Girl who was making smoothies for samples. Straight out of Australia, the macadamia milk is available in unsweetened and vanilla. It has a slightly sweet taste and a thick body of flavor. Availability: On store shelves this summer
Teese Vegan Cheese Alternative isn’t new to the natural products scene, but this was the first time this Examiner tried their Nacho Cheese sauce flavor. Free of soy and nuts, this cheese is as close to the dairy-based cheese sauce commonly served with nachos. It is slightly spicy, has a nice thickness, and is easy to heat and add to foods. Availability: Online and in select stores
You Are Loved Foods offers a line made for chocolate lovers everywhere. Their cinnamon almond bites, chocolate bites, and chocolate fudge balls are paleo, soy free and use natural sweeteners (monk fruit and stevia). Availability: Online only
Vixen Kitchen offers a line of premium Vegan Gelato made from organic raw cashews and sweetened with organic maple syrup. Choose from strawberry vortex, chai & I, pumpkin pie, coffee cream dream, midnight mint, mocha madness, vanilla, and chocolate and marvel at their creation that tastes rich and is layer with flavor without a spec of dairy.
Already planning to attend the 2016 event and can’t wait to see what gluten, dairy, soy, and vegan products it has to offer.