Innovation, inspiration and integrity are top criteria when it comes to landing a spot as a Natural Products Expo East and Expo West Pitch Slam semifinalist. While there are other factors involved in the reviewing process, these three key points embody the core of the natural products industry.
The Expo East 2019 Pitch Slam semifinalists kicked it into high gear this year, scoring high in all three categories. While we recently featured four brands that nailed innovation, this time we’re shining a spotlight on three brands that put inspiration at the forefront, and we’ll round it out with integrity-focused brands soon.
Between popped water lily seeds, an African-inspired beverage line and organic, grain-free tortilla chips, these brands lead with inspiration, and we bet your brand can learn from their stories, too.
To get the 4-11, we asked each brand: How and why does inspiration play a key role in your brand?
MAKOMAS: African-inspired beverages
MAKOMAS is at the heart of health and innovation where we package sustainably grown natural and organic African superfoods (baobab and moringa) with clear, simplified and accurate labeling. No added sugar, artificial colors, additives or preservatives.
The idea of setting up MAKOMAS started with inspiration. My products are based on family recipes handed down through generations. Their unique blends and flavors motivated and excited me to share them with my newly adopted countrymen and women.
I have grown up with many inspirational women around me, one of them being my mother who single-handedly supported her five daughters by selling these homemade juices. I learned the importance and value of family support, helping each other and being there for those whom we love.
This inspired me to set up the Makomas Foundation, a philanthropic arm of MAKOMAS, in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where we partner with 350 women farmers. These industrious women grow and harvest the fruits, flowers and leaves we use to make our products. The income the farmers earn help them support their families and to keep their girls in school. I promote my products with the objective of spreading this message to every individual who consumes MAKOMAS beverages.
–Magbè Savané, president
Soñar!: mission-driven, organic tortilla chips
Our brand, Soñar!, means “To Dream!” We designed our company, our brand, our chips and our business practices with the intent to inspire, empower and nourish a nation of dreamers! We are working to bridge health and cultural divides. To bridge health divides, we went organic—it’s good for our bodies, good for the environment and good for our farmworkers! We’re pulling toxic herbicides and pesticides out of the fields. In addition to going organic, we created a more nutrient-dense tortilla chip than the leading grain-free tortilla chip.
We’re Latina-owned and led. From day one, we put our company on the path to becoming B Corp certified, and we deliver 1% of annual sales to the Latino Community Foundation. Our brand and packaging tells my [Maria’s] story, the story of the Latino Community Foundation’s efforts and the stories of other extraordinary Latinx leaders achieving their dreams and contributing to the creation of more vibrant communities where all can thrive. Soñar! is the company and brand of our dreams, and we created our chips to fuel your dreams. We’re all about inspiration!
–Maria Brennan, co-founder and CEO; Pete Brennan, co-founder
Bohana: Ayurveda-friendly popped water lily seeds
Everything we do at Bohana draws inspiration from Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest holistic life sciences. Bohana is more than just a delicious and nutritious popped water lily seed snack brand. We're on a Free Spirit Snacking mission, striving to spread love, positivity and wellness through Ayurvedic principles and practices. We believe in listening to your unique body and doing what works for YOU, not following prescriptive diets or trendy fads, but tuning in to achieve your ultimate health and wellness.
At Bohana, our snacks are the perfect grain-free alternative to popcorn that the whole family can enjoy, no matter what path you choose.
–Nadine Habayeb, co-founder