March Madness 2016: SoCal IFT, Engredea and Natural Products Expo West Recap

Think the only excitement that happened in March was on the basketball court? Think again. The Firebird team found plenty of energy and innovation in Anaheim at the Southern California IFT Supplier Expo and Engredea/Natural Products Expo West.

The fellas from Firebird enjoyed a fantastic few days in Anaheim at the Southern California IFT Supplier Expo and Engredea/Natural Products Expo West. Read on for a few of the interesting highlights, trends and tidbits the team found.

Bonkers for Garbanzos and Lentils

These little legumes were popping up everywhere, from baking mixes to savory snacks. According to Packaged Facts, U.S. consumers are giving plant-based protein sources an enthusiastic look, which means the protein-packed pulses are experiencing a rejuvenation during this Year of the Pulse.

One of our favorite new garbanzo products was Banza Pasta, a garbanzo-based pasta that has the flavor and texture of traditional pasta, plus fiber and protein.

We were also fans of Saffron Road’s lentil chips and crackers. These savory snacks are based on a lentil and garbanzo flour, which gives them plenty of protein and lots of crunch.

As a dedicated allergen-free mill, Firebird is very familiar with processing both garbanzos and lentils. We were very excited to see these products fare so well at the show.

Soft-Baked Gluten-Free Goodies

Not too many years ago, wheat-sensitive or celiac consumers who craved a soft, fresh chocolate-chip cookie were out of luck. Texture can make or break a new gluten-free product, and these Enjoy Life soft-baked cookies deliver the chewy goodness cookie lovers crave.


We saw a lot of companies focusing on nutrient-dense ingredients and superfoods. Since our plant is dedicated to allergen-free ingredients, most of which are nutrient-dense ancient grains, we remain encouraged by this trend.

As always, the Natural Products Expo was chock-full of innovations to explore, and we love connecting with new friends and long-time partners alike. If you didn’t make it over to see us at the booth this year, we hope you’ll find us at some of the other shows coming up — or give us a call!

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