Natural Product Expo West, the leading trade show in the natural, organic and healthy products industry, was held last week in Anaheim. I was one of the lucky 70,000 who had the pleasure of attending the show.
After working with a number of natural and organic brands during the past 10 years, it still amazes me to see the passion and enthusiasm of the natural and organic community. The show is inspiring in its focus on elevating our food system. And, the innovation at the show is truly indescribable. I always leave Expo West feeling energized and excited about the future of food!
Here are five of the key trends that stood out:
1. Say hello to seaweed! Seaweed was everywhere at Expo West. I’d even venture to say that seaweed is the next kale. Whether it was being used as an ingredient in an energy bar or freeze-dried as an on-the-to snack, seaweed was a star at the show.
2. Probiotics 2.0. Probiotics aren’t new, but the ways in which they’re being incorporated into products are growing. I saw probiotics in everything from frozen yogurt to flavored waters to mac and cheese. This bacteria is clearly here to stay.
3. Beans and more beans. Beans are having a moment, especially when it comes to pasta. There were several bean-based pasta products on display at the show, including offerings from our client Ancient Harvest.
4. Snacks are back and better. Snacks, including chips and crackers, are back in a big way. But, they’re also back in a better way, and by that I mean they’re being made with new and interesting ingredients, like chia seeds and, of course, seaweed. How they’re being made is also evolving. Chips cooked in avocado oil were big, as were baked chips and crackers.
5. Bar revolution. It seemed like you couldn’t go two booths without running into a new type of bar. The big focus is on ingredients. And the trend is “the fewer, the better.” Most of the bars I saw were made from just a few ingredients and minimally processed, if at all. Raw and superfoods were also big in the bar world.
While checking out the latest in natural and organic is certainly fun and interesting, nothing beats hanging out with our clients at Expo West. And, I must say that they had some of the coolest and most creative booths around!