Natural Products Expo East 2014 was awash with foods catering to vegan diets. From cashew cheese to broccoli-containing french fries, we saw abundant smart product formulations and short ingredient lists.
But the products that truly attracted us weren't merely substitutions for meat and dairy. This year, vegan foods are standing tall, boasting that they're simply superior in taste and health. Some companies avoided labeling products as "vegan" altogether. This tactic is starkly different from the norm several years ago, when labeling a food as "vegan" was just about as sexy as you could get.
Instead brands are focusing on taste, clean ingredients and excellent nutrition. Laughing Giraffe, for example, hits the trifecta of food trends with its raw, curry-flavored, paleo-friendly snacking granola. Likewise, Tumeric Golden Milk relies on ancient wisdom to deliver a dairy-free milk made from coconut and hemp and anti-inflammatory spices.
Animal-free eating is still very much on trend. But manufacturers are catering to consumers by focusing on complex flavor development and health benefits rather than kind sourcing.