NYC Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

IMG_0453Today I attended the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival in Chelsea. This event always draws huge crowds, as demonstrated by the 30 minute wait I endured in the general admission line. The wait was worth it, however, as $5 gets you access to a plethora of unique brands and products that you normally wouldn’t encounter or think to try at your local Whole Foods. The extent to which I was unfamiliar with so many brands made me realize just how competitive it is for smaller, start-up brands to gain significant shelf space and presence at grocery stores. I think forums like this festival are great ways to give these smaller companies more exposure, and I hope that some of the products I tried get some pick-up in distribution after the weekend.A lot of different vegetarian products were available–snack bars, ice cream, chips, beans, mock proteins, baked goods and juices, to name a few. Generous samples abound at the festival, but here are a few products that really caught my eye:

Way Better Snacks is a snack foods company that produces wholesome, nutritious tortilla chips made with “sprouted” whole grains and seeds. I’ve never heard of the sprouting process until today, but apparently there are enormous health benefits with allowing seeds to sprout or germinate and adding them to food. The chips, which come in different flavors such as Sweet Chili (my favorite), Sweet Potato, Multi-Grain and Black Bean, have a great crunch and texture to them. You can taste that the ingredients are unprocessed and high-quality, making your snacking experience a tasty, guilt-free one.

Way Better Snacks

Home Free¬†specializes in creating delicious, wholesome cookies and cakes that are nut free and made of all natural or organic ingredients. At the festival, they had samples of their cookie products available. Baked goods appears to be an incredibly competitive market in the vegetarian food space, and the number of stands offering cookie or brownie samples were highly disproportionate compared to other foods. I liked the cookies from Home Free better than any of the softer, more home-baked desserts available from other vendors. The vegan chocolate chip cookies tasted exactly like higher-quality Famous Amos cookies. It’s rare to find vegan desserts that can live up to the original creations, so the fact that Home Free’s cookies were on par with the originals was a testament to how good they were. This will likely become a part of my Whole Foods snack run going forward.

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Some other noteworthy standouts include Raw Revolution snack bars, Raw Ice Cream Company, DF Mavens dairy free ice cream, Love Grace juices and Pipernilli home-made cookies. Help these small companies out by checking out their products at your local health foods or Whole Foods store!

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6 thoughts on “NYC Vegetarian Food Festival 2013

  1. I’m so glad I found this post because I couldn’t get to the NYC Veg Food Festival this year. Now I know what I missed! Great post! Thanks!

    1. Hi Debby, you might also want to check out the Health and Wellness Food Fete event on April 2, which will feature gluten-free and other health-focused foods, and the Green Festival on April 20th-21st, which will feature an organic food court and vegan/vegetarian samples and demonstrations. I’m hoping to attend both and discover some new products!

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