Welcome to this post: Expo West 2022 Recap.
This year marks my 5th (maybe 6th; I’ve lost count) year attending Expo West. However, it’s only my second year paying my whole way to get here. In the past, I graciously had help with some components of getting there by way of brands I was working with. For example, when I was working with Now Foods, they comped my press badge, but I still paid for my hotel and flight. Before that, I attended a few years with the Hilary’s Eat Well Team. They took care of my hotel and flight and also let me roam the show half the time as a blogger.
As my small business has grown, I’ve decided it’s a good investment and worth it for me to pay my way to get there so that I could have complete freedom to roam and connect.
Anyways, just wanted to paint the picture in regards to the nature of how I began going to this event. It’s an event that I really look forward to every year, and have had some of my most exciting moments as a human (honestly) at Expo. I’ve been able to meet two humans that I never could imagine or comprehend meeting, two of my role models, Laird Hamilton & Gabby Reece.
Attending Expo West as a Blogger
Attending Expo West as a blogger means that I have a few main focuses. The first is to be present! You never know who is around the corner and who you might see or meet. The second is to form meaningful connections with brands that align.
Moreover, I find myself aligning with brands for a few different reasons normally. This is often because they use & advocate for clean ingredients without harmful additives. Also, I sometimes align with them because of their overall mission, giving back efforts, and commitment to sustainability. Too, there are times when I’m simply curious at first because their brand is called “Feel Good Superfoods,” for example.
Too, just wanted to quickly mention my gratitude for having the chance to be beachside when I’m in California for this event. I normally take an Uber/Lyft ride to the beach for a whole day or parts of the days while I’m on the trip. I look forward to it so much. Also, the beaches I’ve explored so far in the Orange County area have been Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach.
Brands Mentioned Here in this Recap
As you scroll through the brands below, please accommodate that I included brands that may have ingredients that you actively avoid. For instance, a few products contain dairy components. I included them because I know that many people include dairy and want to know about these options.
Another very important aspect to this recap (and vital for me to say), is that I have skimmed the surface of these brands I’ve newly experiencing. Further, I have not deep dived their ingredient sourcing, mission statements, nor learned more about the background of the founders. But, I’ve grabbed the brands that have caught my attention and I think could be worth looking into for you.
Favorite Event of the Year
On the whole, this experience is a highlight of my year, every year. The like-minded humans I get to meet and talk to are so meaningful. I would even say they have shaped me. Expo West, overall, is an incredibly powerful experience for me.
Morning Yoga outside the Anaheim Convention Center
Really enjoyed the morning yoga sessions outside the ACC. My favorite morning was with Pixie. She was such a wonderful guide + instructor. Check out her website and Instagram page; she’s such a great follow.
From an upper to a brief downer; I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few things that I don’t love but are a part of the experience. Yet, they are a part of it when you do what I do. After all, I suppose this is a recap, right?
For brands attending and paying for a booth spot at this event, it’s a big deal. They are looking to form meaningful/fruitful distribution chains and perhaps make connections that help their business in some way.
That said, I think when a human walks up to their booth, most of them seem to be hoping that you (in this case, me) are a Whole Foods buyer or somebody that has a pull in distribution/buying. Because of that focus, they look down at your badge (which we all wear dangling around our neck, in plain sight) looking for your credentials. It appears that they are seeing who you are so that they can position themselves to speak with you. It felt like there was an agenda, rather than simply sharing their product and treating everyone equally.
One could say “well, of course they have an agenda, they want to sell!” I’m just sharing my experience that it was noticeable how many company reps don’t look you in the eye first. It’s my least favorite part of the event, to be real. I think everyone should be treated as important, and one consumer not more important than the other.
Walking Up to Booths
Lastly, in regards to connecting with brands as a blogger, there were two ends of the spectrum with treatment by brands. There were brands that could not have been more excited to be connecting with a voice in the natural products blog world. then, there were brands that only cared about how many followers I had. Moreover, some brands asked me that first; instead of inquiring at all about my experience, the content I make, etc. I didn’t love that. It felt very inauthentic to forming real relationships.
Furthermore, I equate it to me walking up to a brand I don’t yet know and asking “okay, so what were your sales from last year?” and then using that as a basis for whether I want to be a customer/advocate for them or not. My interest in being a customer has nothing to do with sales. Conversely, I am interested mostly in product quality and the authentic feeling of the brand/founders. In a way, noticing this interaction pattern helped me sift through brands that I would even be interested in connecting with.
Natural Products Trends
One thing I noticed right off the bat is that sparkling beverages are everywhere. Whether they pack a certain superfood, adaptogen, nootropic, and/or sweetener, they were foundational to the show. CBD and Turmeric in everything have been trending for a few years now, but they are still making a splash, for sure.
Low or no-sugar options are still trending, which are welcomed by me as long as they do not have an artificial sweetener as a substitute. Too, many brands though still have no problem including plenty of processed sugar in their products. I thought that was interesting.
Another trend, if you want to call it one, is that many brands are founded because they are on a mission that is not just making money. For example, the drink brand Riff is focused on upcycling the lesser-used part of the coffee bean, called cascara. Moreover, they are carbon neutral. So, this is one example of a brand I discovered that is mission-focused.
Favorite Brand Booths I Stopped By
These brand descriptions are not comprehensive in terms of what the brand offers. However, I’ve linked each brand so that you can further your own research.
–Laird Superfood – founded by my heroes Laird Hamilton & Gabby Reece. Laird Superfood’s line includes high-quality coffee creamers, hydration products, greens & energy & recovery drink mixes, and paleo snacks. My tiny brain still can’t comprehend how special it is that I get to talk to them in person and vibe. They have and continue to be so impactful to my life. I stopped by, grabbed a coffee containing their turmeric creamer (thanks, team for making it for me), and drank it while chatting with Gabby and got to check in with Laird, too. Just beyond grateful for the experience.
–Navitas Organics – an extensive line of organic superfoods to round out your pantry. Navitas products have been in our house for many years, tracing all the way back to 2011.
–Dr Bronner’s – these products have been a mainstay for me for a few decades now. From their castile soap line, to their toothpastes and now chocolate, they really help amplify many aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
–Sunwarrior – so thrilled to meet founder Denley Fowlke and his wife Jan at the booth this year. I am an active ambassador for Sunwarrior and really value their place in my routine. Their plant-based supplements and protein powders are a staple for me.
–Primal Kitchen – I’ve followed founder Mark Sisson’s blog for any years now and appreciate all of the insightful information he puts out into the world. I love that he uses better oil choices in his condiments like avocado oil.
–Rise Brewing Coffee – love their canned cold brew coffee options. Also, their team was so fun!
–Rowdy Mermaid – their low-sugar kombucha and adaptogenic drinks and a fave pick of mine for a gut-friendly drink. Their team was especially friendly, too.
–Kor Shots – I’ve reached for their on-the-go wellness shots for many years now.
–Vive Organic – another wellness shot brand that I look to for their quality and portability.
–Remedy Organics – their superfood-packed, smoothie-like, plant-based drinks have been a portable fuel choice of mine for a few years.
–Suja Juice – when I’m looking for cold-pressed green juice in a grocery store that’s not packed with sugar, I look for Suja’s Uber Greens or Twelve Essentials juices.
–Kevita Drinks – water-based, plant-based kefir options that’s perfectly portable. Great for gut health & balance.
–Health-Ade – a low-sugar kombucha option; love their flavor options.
–Pressed Juicery – making plant-based snacks and cold-pressed juice with some low-sugar green juice options.
–Intelligence of Nature – founded by Dr. Zach Bush, ION products help to support the body on a cellular level by fostering intracellular connection. I had a wonderful experience meeting Dr. Zach Bush, giving him a hug, and sitting right next to him as he spoke for about an hour. Also, loved chatting and connecting with Michal from the ION team and meeting a few other humans that contribute to this incredible company.
–Quicksilver Scientific – leading the industry in liposomal and highly absorbable detoxification and optimal health supplements
–Ancient Nutrition – I admire and look up to founder Dr. Josh Axe and believe in the quality of his product line. Too, I was able to meet him and co-founder Jordan Rubin at Expo in 2019 and both were upbeat, kind, and passionate.
–Sprout Living – organic, superfood-packed, plant-based proteins to elevate your active lifestyle and improve your overall vitality. It’s amongst the very cleanest proteins out there.
–Lively Up Your Breath – a nontoxic way to freshen up your breath. Lively Up Your Breath uses organic ingredients, delicious formulas, and an uplifting company ethos.
–Zum Soap – this brand is local to me, here in Kansas City, MO. Everything from their ethos, and commitment to plant-powered, effective, and enjoyably (and naturally) fragrant products is refreshing. We love using the laundry detergents, bar soaps, and aromatherapy mists the most.
–Thayer’s – the rose used in their witch hazel products helps to calm and tonify my skin. Too, I’ve been a customer for years.
–Heritage Store – a sister brand of a company I had in the house for a few decades (Aubrey Organics), Heritage store offers an expansive line of skincare products to suit a clean lifestyle. And, my favorite is their rosewater spray to calm skin.
–Clean Cult – this non-toxic home cleaner brand allow you to toss out every toxic cleaner you currently use and replace it with an effective, coconut-powered option. And, our favorite product by Clean Cult is the dishwasher tabs.
–Stasher Bag – this brand has changed how I and many individuals reduce plastic waste in our daily food prep/cooking life. We no longer need/look to plastic bags around our kitchen, as we have about 7 different stasher bags of various sizes to take care of any storage need. I’ve even used them to transport bars of soap and toiletries on roadtrips & flights.
–Simply Straws – I didn’t get the chance to swing by their booth, but I LOVE their glass straws and use multiple ones daily.
Memorable Brands I Discovered
This list also includes some brands that I’ve heard of, but got to revisit or experience again. Too, the brand descriptions here are brief, as this list/post is long. However, I’ve linked each brand so that you can further your own researching.
–Path Water – recyclable, sturdy, aluminum water bottle with alkaline, still, and sparkling options.
–Gen Z Water – plain water in an artistically creative aluminum bottle that’s BPA-free.
–Mananalu Water – aluminum bottles of water on a mission to reduce single-use plastic waste. Too, this brand is affiliated with Jason Momoa.
–Nirvana Water – bottled water from Adirondack springs that’s infused with HMB, a naturally occurring substance in the body that promotes muscle function.
–Drink Sound – an adventure in bubbles, Sound makes sparkling waters and teas with botanicals. Too, these drinks are unsweetened and organic.
–Buddha Beans Coffee Company – CBD-infused coffee beans with multiple coffee sourcing varieties.
–Verve Coffee Roasters – based out of Santa Cruz, CA, roasting on vintage roasters and immersed in sulf culture.
–Groundwork Coffee – organic coffee that has high quality standards; also making teas and extracts.
–Ferris Coffee Co. – focused on conscious sourcing, Ferris roasts both coffee and nuts.
–Death Wish Coffee Co. – specialty-roasted coffee with a high-caffeine content
–Pop & Bottle – oat milks lattes with adaptogens, collagen, and antioxidants
–Swoon – lemonades, iced teas and mixers with zero sugar.
–Teonic – functional wellness by way of herbal tea tonics & wellness shots.
–Shaka Tea – unsweetened, caffeine-free, and packs antioxidants by way of plant, flower and herb combinations.
–Teeccino – makes chicory, adaptogen, and mushroom-based coffee alternatives. Too, they are naturally caffeine-free.
–Numi Tea – a fair trade tea company with a range of caffeinec-containing and herbal teas. Too, they recently started using compostable, plant based tea wrappers.
–Trip – a CBD drink to bring clarity to your mind. Also, the formula contains elderflower, chamomile, ginseng, mint, and rooibos.
–Som Sleep – with sugar-free (sweetened with stevia, monkfruit, and erythritol) and original options, Som promotes restful sleep by way of GABA, melatonin, and l-theanine.
–Mortal Power – a prebiotic sparkling water with no stevia, functional ingredients, and electrolytes intended to support your gut integrity & immunity.
–U Relax – a soothing formula that promotes relaxation, calms your mood, and combats everyday stressors. Too, it’s drug-free, contains no artificial flavors, and includes a range of chill-inducing botanicals like l-theanine and kava root.
–Purps – zero calorie, zero sugar energy drink affiliated with surfer Kelly Slater. Contains no artificial flavors and is fueled by ingredients like yerba mate, green tea, and indian gooseberry.
–Recess – canned adaptogenic drinks that promote a mood that’s cool, calm, and collected.
–Mayawell – bubbly superfood, prebiotic sodas with only 4g of sugar and a range of unique flavors.
–Poppi – functional prebiotic soda that contains a small amount of apple cider vinegar.
–The Taste of Rose – sparkling and still rose water drinks that are unsweetened, non-gmo and contain no preservatives.
–Taste Nirvana – the tastiest coconut water I’ve ever tried. Uses thai coconuts, is not made from concentrate, and contains no preservatives.
–Roar Hydration – electrolytes, vitamins, and antioxidants pack this hydration drink.
–Riff – plant-powered energy drinks that are fueled by upcycled cascara. Former footballer Vernon Davis is affiliated with Riff.
–Wonder Lemon – organic, cold-pressed juices that are fair trade & kosher.
–Pickle Juice – pickle juice shots that are proven to stop muscle cramps.
–Oca – plant based energy drink with caffeine from green coffee & green tea.
–Positive Beverage – zero-calorie sparkling water sweetened with erythritol & stevia.
Non Alcoholic Drink Alternatives
–Hop Wtr – zero-proof, flavorful, sparkling water as a beer alternative.
–Mude Drinks – functional, sparkling beverages with organic botanicals.
–Ritual Zero Proof – a non-alcoholic, versatile, liquor replacement.
–Dry Botanical Bubbly – a zero-proof botanical bubbly option.
Plant Based Milk
–Milkadamia – harnessing the nutritive qualities of the macadamia nut to make plant based milks.
–Hope and Sesame – flavorful, sesame seed based milks with a range of flavors.
–Three Trees Plant Based Milks – nuts, seeds, and protein in their plant based milks.
–Lifeway Kefir– fermented milk & plant-based milk drinks to support digestion. Moreover, they just released new oat-milk based kefir option.
–Wildbrine – sauerkraut, dairy-free sour creams, and fermented spreads.
–Forager Project – plant-based milk based probiotic yogurts and drinks.
–GoodBelly – probiotic & digestion-enhancing shots and drinks.
–Future Farm – plant-based burgers, meatballs, beef, and sausages. Too, these products are non-GMO and gluten-free.
–Current Foods – plant-based, gluten-free, pregnancy-friendly, mercury-free seafood options.
–Fond Bone Broths – pasture-raised, sustainably packaged, and flavorful bone broth options.
–Safe Catch – mercury tested, wild-caught seafood with canned and take-and-go pack options.
–Mighty Sesame Co – tahini-based sesame seed spreads, butters, and other foods.
–Good Good – jams, jellies and spreads with keto-friendly options. FYI, some of their products contain canola oil and milk derivatives.
–Do Anything Foods – organic, whole-food based sauces that are gluten free and col-pressure pasteurized.
–Goodles – real cheese and 14g protein in their macaroni & cheese. More, they do use wheat flour, in case you are gluten-free.
–Somos Mexican Food – authentic Mexican recipes with non-GMO ingredients.
–Taste Gooders – coming soon to the market. Subscribe on their website to stay in the loop.
–Go Nanas – Gluten-free banana bread mixes.
–Botko Foods – dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free crackers and spreadable cheeses. Also, they have grain-free options.
–Safe Harvest – clean ingredients with sustainably sourced seafood. Too, they are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo.
–Plant Fusion – plant-based and nutrient-dense protein powder and meal replacement options. Too, these powders are gluten-free and dairy-free. Sweetened with stevia, monkfruit, lucuma (a superfood), and yacon powder.
–Evolve – non-GMO, plant-based protein with 10g fiber. Too, is sweetened with cane sugar and stevia leaf.
–UP2U – gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegetarian recovery protein blends. Further, these proteins contain milk + lactase enzyme.
–Pop Art – popcorn made with better oils like avocado & olive.
–GoodSam Foods – they focus on foods that are good for you, good for the farmers, good for the planet. Too, they have a lot of yummy cacao/chocolate products.
–Hippeas – dairy-free, grain-free chickpea puffs.
–Catalina Crunch – keto-friendly, grain-free cereals, cookies and crunch mixes.
–Magic Spoon – grain-free, keto-friendly cereal.
–Chomps – grass-fed beef jerky sticks. Too, they have turkey and venison options.
–Lil Bucks – sprouted buckwheat snacks.
–Barnanas – plantain chips, grain-free tortilla chips, and banana bites.
–Crunchsters – gluten-free, crunchy mung bean snacks and salad toppers.
–Fit Joy – grain free pretzels and snack options
–Gimme Snacks – iodine-rich, seaweed based snacks with yummy flavor options.
–Eden Foods – natural food and snack options to outfit your pantry.
–Pizoots – boiled then infused artisan nut & seed mixes.
–Tom & Luke’s Snackaballs – real ingredients in dense balls for fuel. Too, they have a focus on being as sustainable as possible.
–Mauna Loa – macadamia nuts from Hawaii with chocolate-covered options.
–Barely Bread – grain-free bread, using almond, seed, and coconut flours.
–Frooze Balls – plant-powered energy balls with real ingredients
–Good Good – keto friendly options for baking mixes, nut butters, and bars. Just a heads up, some of their products contain soy, wheat, and milk, in case you avoid those.
–Kize Concepts Keto Bars – favorite new bar I found, as my ideal bar is low-sugar with clean ingredients.
–Aloha Bars – organic, plant-based bar with balanced macros if you’re looking for a meal replacement option.
–Go Macro Bars – organic, vegan bars that are also FODMAP friendly.
–Redd Radiant Energy Bars – low-sugar and high fiber bars. Too, contains prebiotics, superfoods, and probiotics.
–Think Keto Bars – if you consume dairy, soy, and peanuts, you’ll like these bars. No artificial sweeteners; these are like a better alternative to a candy bar to me, as they taste pretty decadent.
–Pur Gum – aspartame-free gum that’s sweetened with xylitol.
–Purecane – zero calorie sweetener derived from sugarcane.
–Spicewell – functional line of nutritious pantry salts and staples.
–Lakanto – monkfruit and erythritol sweeteners and nut butters.
–TCHO Chocolate – organic, plant-based, soy-free chocolate bars and baking powders.
–Funcho Chocolate – functional chocolate for creating feelings like calmness, sleep, energy, and even to support PMS and menopause.
–Honey Mama’s – cocoa truffle bars that are decadent, sweet, and delicious.
–Bubbies Ice Cream – dairy-containing ice cream snacks with cleaner ingredients. They do offer dairy-free options, though.
–Partake Cookies – cookies, baking mixes, and breakfast mixes that are vegan, gluten-free, allergen-friendly, and non GMO.
–Sweet Nothings – spoonable smoothies that are organic, contain no added sugar, and are plant based.
–Bon Devil Foods – gluten-free, dairy-free, and ethically sourced ganaches.
–Forever New Laundry Care – phosphate-free laundry detergent with no dyes. Too, these products are made with organic ingredients, are hypoallergenic, and biodegradable materials.
–Aprico – a sister company to one of my favorites, Quicksilver Scientific. Moreover, Aprico makes liposomal-delivery supplement blends for functions including stress relief, focus, and detox.
–Elixinol – CBD + functional ingredients pair up for a difference you can feel. Made with USA-grown hemp.
–Mary Ruth Organics – an organic line of liposomal, absorbable supplements for the whole family.
–Zhou Nutrition – a line of supplements with options for women & men with various health aims.
–Voke – superfood-packed, chewable tablets for energy.
–Youtheory – supplement brand with a focus on human potential, wellness, and pure, efficacious ingredients.
–Solaray – over 900 vitamins, minerals, and herbs with pioneering industry standards, best-in-class testing.
–Cure Hydration – functional drink mixes for hydration and energy. Also, these mixes contain no added sugar.
–Mega Food – whole food based supplements; this brand is vocal about the negative impact of glyphosate.
–More Labs – function-based mini shots for things like sleep and promoting energy.
–Amazing Grass – now has several organic greens powder varieties.
–Himalaya Herbals – just released a turmeric, plant-based chew for immune support & inflammtion.
–Child Life Supplements for Kids – supplements, gummies, minerals, probiotics, herbals, and cookies for children.
–Feel Good Superfoods – superfood-packed capsules, vitamin shots, and mixes.
–Ultima Replenisher – a sugar-free electrolyte replenishment powder that’s sweetener with stevia.
–Elixinol – USA-grown CBD products with alcohol-ree tincture options and function-specific formulas.
–Charlotte’s Web – B Corp verified CBD brand making a range of functional CBD products.
–Saalt Period Care – B Corp certified, sustainable period care brand making period panties, cups, and discs.
–Winged Wellness – CBD & adaptogenic products formulated specifically for a woman’s body.
Skincare & Haircare
–Cocokind – effective, yet gentle and clean formulas for glowing skin.
–Pipette – EWG verified skin, hair, and body care products.
–Pacifica – Sidenote: Pacifica had the most beautiful booth at Expo; it felt like unicorn beauty land.
–Moon Valley Organics – super clean, organic, face care, hair care (shampoo bars), salves, bar soaps, and more.
–Emu Spray – stands for “everyone must use” and does not contain emu oil. Antibacterial hand sanitizer mists that smell good and are TSA approved.
–Routine – this line has a nice selection of clean(er) products that smell great. Paraben free, SLS free, with a few products containing sulfates.
–Alaffia – committed to fair trade, good manufacturing practices, and is minority business certified. Their skincare products are clean, effective, and mindfully made.
–Derma E – cruelty-free skincare with no sulfates, no parabens, and no phthalates.
–Olika – hydrating hand sanitizer options that are free from harsh chemicals & toxins.
–Conscious Coconut Wipes – organic wipes with cold-pressed coconut oil.
–Brittany’s Thyme – clean skincare line including bug spray, hand sanitizer, facial care, and other skincare.
–White Egret Skincare – sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free skincare.
–Jack ‘n’ Jill – hypoallergenic kid’s care products.
–Phillip Adam Haircare – SLS-free and paraben-free. These ingredients lists are pretty clean, with only a few that I don’t love.
–Inna Organic – organic skin, body, and hair care line.
–Naturtint – a cleaner alternative for hair coloring
–David’s Toothpaste – uses nanohydroxyapatite instead of fluoride
–Lumineux – natural teeth whitening that doesn’t create sensitivity
–Himalaya Toothpaste – fluoride-free, SLS-free, vegan toothpaste
–Cermer – new ceramic food packaging that’s getting us away from plastic usage and other unsustainable means
Thanks for stopping by this post: Expo West 2022 Recap.
Since 2012, I’ve been creating, covering, and researching Digital Wellness Guides, Natural Beauty Products, Body Positivity, Self Love, Fitness Motivation, Paleo Lifestyle, HIIT Workout, Nutrition, Nontoxic Beauty, Organic Skincare, Digital Wellness Services, and tips helping you explore wellness and feel good. I appreciate you for being here.