Three Game-Changing Natural Products for Your Home and Diet

Expo West 2015 featured more than 2,500 products, ranging from organic kale chips to fair-trade condoms, but these three stood out from the crowd.
Mar 25, 2015·
Josh Scherer has written for Epicurious, Thrillist, and Los Angeles magazine. He is constantly covered in corn chip crumbs.

Every March for the past 27 years, sunny Anaheim, California, has played host to Natural Products Expo West—the world's largest natural products trade show. This year, 60,000 vendors, buyers, journalists, and people who just really dig granola and hemp jeans visited the massive event space to check out the thousands of new products on display. Here are the three that we can't wait to get our hands on.

Kuli Kuli Foods Moringa
CEO Lisa Curtis got the idea for Kuli Kuli Foods after becoming ill from malnutrition during her seven months with the Peace Corps in Niger. While she was bedridden, a friend dropped by the hospital to give her a snack bag chock-full of moringa—the leaves of a tropical, drought-resistant tree—and told her she’d feel better after getting some nutrients in her system.

Gram for gram, moringa has two times the protein of plain yogurt, four times the calcium of milk, 25 times the iron of spinach, four times the vitamin A of carrots, and seven times the vitamin C of oranges. Kuli Kuli sells eight-ounce bottles of powdered moringa—great for mixing into both sweet and savory dishes—for $19.99, and nutrition bars that come in dark chocolate, black cherry, and crunchy almond flavors, which retail for $2.50 each.

Sustain Condoms
Not only are these condoms made with fair-trade latex but the Indian rubber farm from which Sustain sources all its raw materials provides education and health care to its surrounding community. Cofounder Meika Hollender also wanted to make a product that would be more discretely and tastefully packaged to influence women to buy and carry condoms more often. Sustain's website points out an estimated 17.4 million women are in need of publicly funded reproductive health and family planning services, which is why it donates 10 percent of all pretax profits to women's groups.

NüCulture Foods Cashew Cheese Spreads
Jenny Hogan, owner of NüCulture Foods, brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the vegan cheese game. After four years with Tofurky—where she helped develop the Tofurky frank—and a stint as manager of quality and development at Sweet Earth Natural Foods, Hogan launched her first independent venture in 2014. NüCulture Foods offers three flavors of cashew-based cheese spreads, which—speaking from personal experience—are all insanely delicious and completely indistinguishable from the real thing.

“I’m taking cashews and culturing and fermenting those and adding a strain of eight live probiotic microorganisms—lactobacillus—and allowing them to culture for a day or two,” Hogan said over the phone after the expo. "Not only does it naturally help the shelf life, but it also gives it that real, intense, cheesy flavor."

As Hogan noted, vegan cheese spreads are a dime a dozen (though not ones as tasty as hers) these days. The real challenge is making a nondairy cheese that looks, feels, and smells like something from a Frenchman's picnic basket. “I’m playing with a white truffle brie round, and I’m actually growing a bloomy rind on it. When people try it, they don’t have any idea that it’s not real cheese,” Hogan said.