Top Trends at this Year’s Natural Products Expo West
The Natural Products Expo West was the first US trade event to be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years later, positivity and optimism radiated through the Anaheim Convention Center as retailers, exhibitors, sponsors, and industry partners connected face-to-face defining the future of the nearly $300B natural and organic industry.
With over 2,700 exhibitors and roughly 60,000 attendees, Natural Products Expo West maintained its reputation of being the Super Bowl of Superfood Shows! LMCA Team members Natasha Muraszew and Eliza MacLeod attended on behalf of our client, ODWALLA and saw lots of emerging trends and products entering the market.
Here is a recap of some of the trends our team saw on the floor:
Brands that offer unique sensory experiences had high engagement.
From the magnesium and adaptogen-infused sparking water, Recess to the prebiotic soda Poppi, to delicious tasting cold pressed juices that cleanse the body by Pressed, or the low-carb, high-protein, keto cereal Magic Spoon, foods and beverage brands that captured bold approaches to engaging more of the consumers’ senses had strong appeal. Many of these companies built a strong D2C business during the pandemic through social media marketing e.g. podcasts and Instagram. During a time where retail buyer meetings were postponed and more people were at home, this has proven to pay off.
Growing interest in immunity and adaptogens.
Consumers are favoring consumables that promote energy, endurance, sleep, focus, immunity, and mood. We saw a strong presence of pre- and probiotic beverages on the floor, focusing on benefits from improving gut health to relieving stress.
Taste is King.
It is important for a brand to check all of the boxes – organic, no preservatives, no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, but taste still triumphs all. Taste helps appeal to the mass market and this is where innovation needs to begin. Companies we saw that did this well: Nixie, Guru, Lelio, Roar Organic, Culture Pop
Functional beverages are in demand.
Functional beverages are a category that is poised for growth over the next few years. We know that consumers are getting smarter and savvier on the ingredients they choose to put into their body, and we met with several companies who formulate functional beverages that naturally make a positive change in how you feel.
Better for you and the Planet.
Consumers continue to value mission-based brands that focus on being “better for you and better for the planet.” Shoppers are skeptical of companies that claim to be green, so authenticity is important to avoid greenwashing. We are seeing a continuing trend in reducing the environmental impact of packaged food and beverages - reducing carbon footprint and reducing waste. Canned Water/Water in Reusable Aluminum-Packaged Bottles were huge at the show!
Other examples of environmentally minded companies we saw – ReGrained, which has developed proprietary techniques to upcycle spent grains from brewing, H Factor Water, which offers their naturally infused hydrogen water in 20-ounce pouches and, through their sustainable partnership with Terracycle®, allows consumers to mail their empty pouches to TerraCycle for recycling, and Imperfect Foods, a seasonal ‘imperfect’ produce grocery delivery service on a mission to reduce food waste and reduce harmful CO2 emissions from extra trips to the grocery store.
Stand-out Star Ingredients.
Healing reishi mushrooms, nutritious pea protein powder, memory enhancing ashwagandha, and sustainable kelp were a few of the star ingredients featured across a variety of innovative products at Expo West.
The LMCA team had a fun time exploring the trends, new products and innovations shaping the natural and organic industry at this year’s Natural Products Expo West. If your company is looking to learn more about brand licensing in the food and beverage space or to learn more about opportunities with Odwalla, please visit https://www.lmca.net/odwalla.