Natural Products Expo West 2014 
Every year, Expo West gets more exciting and vibrant, with many new foods to learn about. A whole new language has emerged that at times can be somewhat daunting: From flax, chia, hemp, chlorella, spirulina, quinoa, mangosteen, svetol, ashwagandha;  I for one would love a functional foods handbook! 

Key note speaker
That is why I found this year's key note from Dr. Andrew Weil so reassuring - the key message: the secret to health is in keeping things simple, balanced and in moderation. There's been a lot of posturing about what is best- raw? paleo? vegan? etc. "There is an enormous amount of dietary fascism out there-there's no perfect diet. Humans are omnivores-we can eat a lot of different things, so we need a healthy variety". 


(credit: Hope Media)  


Dr. Weil kept it big picture by sharing a few steps to eating well that are always           good reminders-here are the key take aways: 


-Eat as many plant-based foods as much as possible: fruits, veggies, herbs and spices. Plant based foods are high in phytonutrients- plants produce compounds for their own defense systems, which can protects ours.

-Try to reduce sweeteners, limit your sugar intake daily. Understand the difference between whole fruit and fruit juice (certain juices can have high glycemic indexes)

-Eat whole grains (if you can crush bread into a ball, go grainier)

-In general, eat fewer processed foods, less sugar and flour, a good variety of plants and lower your intake of animal meat.


So in the spirit of keeping things simple, here are a few brands that caught my eye at the show, offering straight forward, easy to understand and inviting messaging.


joyful plate brand insights Expo West 2014

(for more information, please click on the brand title to websites)



The message here is big and bold-Beyond Meat is on a mission is to replace animal protein with plant protein. Not only are they dedicated to improving human health, they aim to positively impact climate change, conserve natural resources and respect animal welfare. The branding is clean, cool and contemporary and feels revolutionary.



Sometimes simplicity can cut through the clutter. This brand caught my eye with their clear and inviting line of Veggie Purees. Wild Veggie picks vegetables at exactly the right time, then washes, micro-cuts, and fast cooks at low temperatures and quickly freezes to preserve as much of the natural vegetable flavor and nutrients as possible. 
A great idea to start soups or smoothies.

There seems to be a new juicing/detox retail store opening up every day in the U.S.! Hain Celestial was brilliant to grab this brand, and leverage its distribution network       at Whole Foods to bring it to all of us. The packaging feels smart and chic, therapeutic yet stylish. Check out the whole scoop on the deal by clicking here. 

A beautifully natural new look was unveiled for Ciao Bella. It was truly exciting to see a former joyful plate strategy client turn vision into reality, going back to basics by focusing on pure ingredients, chef-inspired recipes and a simply elegant look and feel.

(a 2012 joyful plate client for brand strategy and innovation) 


 Flax USA

Flax USA's approachable messaging drew me in for a chat, with merchandising that clearly explains the benefits of flax and super easy suggestions for use everyday.

Dole Nutrition Plus   

Dole now offers a number of forms and varieties of chia. Featured here, samples of milled seeds that unlock Omega-3 ALA nutrients, with hundreds of uses as a convenient powder (and they blend quickly and invisibly into smoothies!) as well as chia & fruit clusters for a delicious, on-the-go snack. 

(Dole was a 2014 joyful plate client for consumer research) 


Ito En

Matcha Love 

I always love stopping by Ito-En for a little annual Zen. A modern take on an ancient ritual, Matcha LOVE is a convenient way to experience the benefits of green tea with a deliciously smooth and sweet umami taste. Matcha is rich in antioxidants, amino acids and Vitamin C. And check out Matcha LOVE @ Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey and California to enjoy Matcha ice cream & lattes and green tea gifts. You can also go online to order the goodness of MatchaLOVE. A great example of how a simply smart logo can communicate in a big way. 


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Ultimate Super Foods is expanding its portfolio of brands to new and exciting places. This year, spokesperson Jason Wrobel and I had a chat about gojiberries -a super food usually grown in China or Tibet. Gojiberries are high in antioxidants and can add a nice flavor to oatmeal, smoothies, desserts, you name it. And congratulations, Jason, for your new show on the Cooking Channel; How to Live to 100!


Jason _Ultimate Super Foods Natural Products Expo West
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And just for fun, here I am with Einstein and Power Crunch bars, for          a bit of enlightenment! 
Back in NYC for nearly a month now, I've been reflecting on learnings from the show not only for our natural food clients but for fancy food ones as well. The gourmet market seems to be no longer driven by indulgence only - enter a whole new world: green tea cake with bee pollen ice cream, raw food patisserie and more. Witness this brilliant move by pioneer David Bouley; Haute Health Food and Bouley Botanical events featuring pilates, urban gardening and yoga. Bravo, David for leading the way: "Chef David Bouley-forward thinking, uncompromising, zealous-reinvented American gastronomy in the 1990's. Now he's back to the drawing board, engineering a luxurious cuisine that's actually good for you." (Town & Country, 2013). 

For daily inspiration, please visit joyful plate Facebook. 

See you next time! 



Copyright � 2014 -joyful plate (R) LLC. All rights reserved. Brand images are the copyright of the original owners. References to products and brands are not an endorsement, rather a point of view on branding trends. Links are provided for the purpose of providing accuracy. For any edits or corrections to this information please email and we will update information as requested. Thank you.