Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Expo East 2014: Snack Time

This is part two of my four part series covering the 2014 Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD. Each post will be divided into four categories: sweets, snacks, miscellaneous, and my top five. To check out the other parts in this series, click here.

Snacks: the little meals between meals when our craving for sweet, spicy, and salty foods lead us to pretzels, chips, and other staples. At Expo East, the snack variety is dizzying and comes in every shape, taste, and form. I saw chips made out of potatoes, beans, lentils, seaweed, and kelp, and in every flavor imaginable from siracha and simply salted to caramel and BBQ. To sample each and every variety of snack food would take a lot of taste bud tolerance. I didn't make it to each and every offering, but did make a point of stopping by and sampling a decent variety. I winnowed my favorite snack items down to nine, but the no two selections are alike. 


Tasty Tortillas

When it comes to chips, some people are traditionalists preferring corn or potato varieties. Expo East proved that these traditional ingredients work just as well on their own as they do with infusions of flavor and combinations of other ingredients to boost nutritional content. My first selection, Late July's SubLime multigrain tortilla chips, are corn, chia, and brown rice based and given an infusion of lime oil for a zesty twist. I loved the refreshing lime-y flavor and definitely would pair it with fresh pico de gallo to bring the chip to a whole new level. For more information, check out their website hereFind these on Amazon.


Next up in the line up is Way Better Snacks' sprouted sweet chili corn chips. Using corn, sprouted quinoa, and four types of sprouted seeds, these chips go well above and beyond typical "one grain only" chips. I loved the spicy kick the sweet chili variety delivered. Way Better's chips are certified gluten free, whole grain, vegan and non-GMO. For more information, check out their website hereFind these on Amazon.


Already a fan of their delicious roasted almond butter found at Costco, I was excited to see the full line of products from Brad's Organic. The highlight from their offerings was their salsa verde chips which were not so much hot, but bursting with flavor. Forget salsa, these chips need no accompaniment to stand out. The chips also please many a palate because they are certified gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, and have no preservatives. For more information, check out their website here.


Flat Pretzels

Although I am partial to Glutino's offerings when it comes to the many brands offering gluten-free pretzels, the snack hasn't really made it back into my diet full-time. This all changed when stopping by their booth and discovering their latest and greatest pretzel iteration: flat pretzel crisps. As the staple of my childhood lunchbox, I didn't realize how much I've missed these flat pretzels until I could finally have them again. Glutino's offering did not disappoint in the least and delivered a delicious buttery pretzel taste and satisfying crunch. For more information, check out their website hereFind these on Amazon.


Just as I was overcoming my revelation that I could have flat pretzels again, I couldn't believe my eyes when just a few booths down I discovered a rival flat pretzel from Gratify, a company I was not familiar with. Going above and beyond the "plain" variety, they offered a sesame version of the crisps. I preferred the original to the sesame and found that they met all my criteria for a truly great pretzel: crunch, flavor, texture. Find these on Amazon.


Chips That Break the Mold

Beanitos' claim to fame is their original line of chips made from beans. I enjoyed my samples of their latest flavors (BBQ, ) but have to give the shout-out to their chip-defying snack: Beanitos Puffs. Similar in texture to a cheeto, these puffs pack some serious heat with their hot chili lime seasoning. With so many sports seasons underway, these would be welcome on the table for any game watch or tailgate. For more information, check out their website hereFind these on Amazon.


Largely known for their gluten filled pitas, Toufayan Bakeries took a bold step into the gluten-free arena with their new pita chips. First of their kind in the gluten free aisle, they fill a large void left from this irreplaceable snack that has no gluten-free equivalent. I liked the crunch of chips that and the unmistakable pita taste. A bonus is that they have the versatility to be paired with many types of dip: salsas, hummus, bean dip, etc. Expect to see these chips on store shelves over the next couple of months as Toufayan rolls them out. For more information, check out their website here.


Out of the NEXT pavilion, which featured first-time exhibitors, Snackette's popped chips caught my eye. Made from black beans, potatoes, and rice, these fun air-popped chips are crunchy and light and faintly reminded me of Tabasco Cheez-Its. Since they are Free from gluten, dairy, MSG, and GMOs as well as vegan, each individual bag can please those with multiple dietary considerations all while satisfying one full serving of veggies. For more information, check out their website here.


Last, but definitely not least comes Brad's Raw Foods' broccoli poppers. Wanting to turn this nutritional powerhouse veggie into a fun snack, Brad's has given broccoli a makeover through drying heads to render them crunchy and adding a cashew-based seasoned coating that is downright addicting. Of their two flavors, I definitely preferred the pop'n hot flavor over the cheese Louise because I'm not a big fan of fake cheese flavor. The poppers are organic, vegan, non-gmo, gluten free, and making their way to store shelves. For more information, check out their website here.


Though not normally a snack food lover, I couldn't help but fall head over heels for the unique offerings served up on the Expo floor. From pretzels and chips to broccoli poppers, each snack proved that snack foods can be tasty, somewhat nutritious and fun for those of us with food sensitivities. As always, each sample was provided for me at the show. I was not compensated for these reviews and all opinions are my own. For more information on the companies check out each company's website to learn more and get more information on ingredients, certifications, and store locators.

Each sample was provided to me at the Expo but I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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