I woke up last Thursday dreading an hour-plus drive down to the Anaheim Convention Center (aka Disneyland) to go see the 3k+ brands exhibiting at Expo West for an audience of 60k+ people. Despite the sheer size of this conference, I was glad I made it. I spent most of my time in the North Hall viewing the "Hot Products," which I later learned did not refer to the temperature, but rather the fact that these were all startups. By the end of the day, I had consumed copious amounts of plant-based fish and eggs, fungi, and of course, regenerative veggies and meat snacks. All in the name of investigative journalism. Below is a summary of the key themes that encompass my favorite products I came across during my day-long journey.
@hngrytv Beta tasting future foods at Expo West ‘23 #alternativeprotein ♬ TikTok 90s house fashion Show(1279332) - Ninja Muzik Tokyo
If one thing was clear, it was that Meati spent boatloads to make sure everyone knew that it had finally arrived. It had a food truck greeting everyone at the entrance, staircase ads in the Hot Products hall, and a booth sitting side-by-side with Momofuku Goods, the CPG line of its namesake restaurant. I sampled chicken and waffles, a carne asada skewer, a Momofuku Crispy Cutlet bao bun, and plain old Meati steak for good measure. Like most meat alternatives, Meati truly shines as a prepared ingredient rather than a center-plate protein.