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5 new food products to try at Expo West 2012

Natural Products Expo West starts Thursday, but I'm already looking forward to trying these products launching at the show. Each uniquely captures an of-the-moment trend that I think will be seen across the show floor.

Every year, I'm riddled with press releases from food manufacturers (and the PR companies representing them) in the weeks leading up to Natural Products Expo West. Before the show, I sort through what I've received and establish a game plan for tackling the floor.  Here are five on-trend, innovative products that I'm looking forward to checking out this year. 

1. Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic (booth 1474)
The race is on for an effective, caffeine-free energy beverage. This certified organic tonic from Urban Moonshine shows promise. The beverage uses adaptogenic herbs that the company says are known to protect the body from the depleting effects of stress. Used daily they're supposed to increase energy levels, enhance athletic performance and endurance and improve mental concentration and cognitive function. If ever there were a time to give such a beverage a try, it's at Expo West.   

2. Nasoya Black Soybean TofuPlus (booth 2454)
Though tofu sales continue to stagnate, big players like Nasoya are determined to help soybeans soar once again. This latest product is made from black soybeans which the company says offer more antioxidants than the more common yellow variety. It's also super high in vitamin E, calcium and protein, and is made from organic, non-GMO whole soybeans. This all sounds great, but are we ready to put tofu back on the table? 

3. Earnest Eats (booth 5395)
Vegan and raw are such a natural pair, why not vegan and gluten free? All three terms will continue to be buzzwords at the show. In the increasingly crowded categories, being vegan and wheat free is not the only thing these bars have going for them. The latest  Dark Chocolate Mint flavor is one of the first foods to use refugee-harvested whole food ingredients in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee. I can't wait to hear more about this program.

4. Frozen Naked Pizza (booth 5446)
I'm anticipating probiotics to continue to popping up in unexpected places—case in point, this pizza.  The company makes a crust fortified with the probiotic bacteria Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086, that withstands the freezing and baking process. I've ordered takeout from Naked Pizza in Boulder, Colo., and I'm looking forward to putting the company's new frozen food products to my taste bud test.   

5. Earth Balance Coconut and Peanut Spread (booth 3462)
You better be crazy for coconuts at this show. I suspect the super seed will appear in everything from nutrition bars to baby food. Here, it's combined with peanut butter for a creamier, more spreadable spread with just a hint of coconut flavor. Sounds divine—if you're in to that kinda thing.  

And one for the dogs...

It's not a food or even meant for human consumption but I can't help but be intrigued by this new pet supplement.

Ferrera Farms Naturals "Bee the Best" Supplement for dogs (booth 4239)
The natural pet category continues to surge. This company is launching a pet supplement  featuring red proplis sourced from the jungles of Brazil. The honey-bee derived substance is intended to support pets'immune systems. It also contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes to support general overall health.

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