This year marked the 39th annual Natural Products Expo West Show! There were 86,000 people exploring the products from 3,600 exhibitors. Here’s our take on the top 10 trends from the show.
1. Diet Driven: Keto & Paleo are still the hot diet trends! Many new products mentioned “Keto” on the front panel of their packaging. Lots of people are experimenting with the keto diet, which emphasizes low-carb and high-fat foods.
2. Dairy Alternatives: Dairy alternatives took center stage at the show with lots of alternative milks, Kite Hill’s new almond and cashew based dips, Harmless Harvest’s dairy free yogurt, as well as Forager’s Cashewgurt and half & half.
3. Oatmilk Explosion: Speaking of dairy alternatives…oatmilk was only popularized in the last few years and it has taken off rapidly. One vendor told me “It’s the gateway drug for people looking for alternatives to milk.” It’s much creamier and easier to drink than almond milk. While Oat-ly and Pacific used to primarily occupy the space, others have stepped in including Elmhurst, Silk, Quaker, Oatsome, and Califia.
4. Plant Based Everything: There’s no question that consumers are starting to understand that plants = good and sugar = bad. So why not weave some plants into just about everything? Veggies + ice cream? No problem. Beyond that, we saw cassava chips, plant based butter, and plant based meat replacements.
5. Cauliflower Power: I tried my first bite of cauliflower pizza about a year ago and thought it was genius. At the show, there were not only new plant powered bread alternatives like Outer Aisle and Cali’flour Foods. There was cauliflower-based mac & cheese from Good Citizens, cauliflower rice, and cauliflower worked into other snack items.
6. CBD & Hemp: CBD and hemp were all the rage at Expo West, as it was on display nearly every other aisle at the show. No longer relegated to the supplement section, CBD and hemp were in oils, soaps, lotions, caffeine shots, Navitas’ superfood wellness shots and even drinking water.
7. Pet Love: According to the New Hope Keynote at Expo, 73% of millennials own a pet, and 86% believe that natural and organic pet food products are both helpful and important. This is a growing category – there are many new players in the space for natural and organic pet food.
8. Pro Probiotics: Why take a probiotic or eat yogurt if you can drink an Obi soda, eat a GoodBelly Honey Almond Butter Probiotic Bar, enjoy some Culture Republick Probiotic Ice Cream, or crunch on some Farmhouse Culture Dill Pickle Kraut Krisps (they were amazing!)…
9. Healthy Fats: This trend is likely driven by the Keto diet (marked by eating high fat foods). New food items highlighting avocado, coconut, or cashews were very popular at the show. One of my favorite “healthy fat” items was the Justin’s award winning cashew butter covered cashews!
10. Unique Drinks: Red Bull launched new organic sodas, Vital Proteins launched a Collagen water, and Nutrivista launched a pink coconut water. There were many other unique beverages including ones to help you sleep or stay awake.
My personal favorites from Expo West? Even though I consume dairy daily, I was extremely impressed with the progress in dairy alternatives. Cool Haus’ Peanut Butter Fudge dairy-free “ice cream”, The Honest Stand’s plant based dips (which taste like nacho cheese), Meyenburg’s Goat Butter, Kite Hill’s cashew cream cheese, and Oat-ly’s oatmilk were my favorites! Thanks to all who made it a great event!